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Retraining gives new Airmen fresh career opportunities

By Airman 1st Class Benjamin Raughton 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

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While many Airmen go through Basic Military Training knowing what job they will have, others come in with an open-general contract and select their job from a list of career fields they qualify for.

An open-general contract allows a potential Airman to select their potential job with the understanding that priorities of the Air Force must come first and potential Airmen are not guaranteed a particular job they want.

According to Air Force Instruction 36-2618, "The Enlisted Force Structure," Airmen will adapt to military requirements and achieve occupational proficiency in the job they've been given for the majority of their first enlistment.

But new Airmen aren't doomed to spend the rest of their career in a job they aren't satisfied with. The Air Force gives Airmen who are in their first enlistment, a window of opportunity to retrain in another field of their choice provided a position is available.

Master Sgt. Marquet Johnson, career assistance advisor here explains the window of opportunity.

"A four-year enlistee's retraining window will open up at the 35th month of service and close at the 43rd month," he said. "For a six-year enlistee, it will open up from the 59th month to the 67th month. You can retrain into about every Air Force Specialty Code available in the Air Force. The Air Force enlisted classification directory is used by a lot of folks when they do research for retraining. It also gives a job description for every AFSC."

The Air Force enlisted classification directory is found on the myPers site on the AF portal, he said.

As a career assistance advisor, Johnson also has advice for first-term Airmen looking to retrain into other AFSCs.

"Take advantage of being guaranteed to retrain as a first-term Airman before you reenlist," he said. "If you miss your retraining window, you won't have another chance until you make staff sergeant."

However, while the Air Force gives first-term Airmen a chance to retrain, in a time of shrinking budgets Airmen can hurt not just their chances of getting another job they want, but their chances of reenlistment in general.
"Retraining gives new Airmen a chance to pursue a job they're interested in as long as they don't have any negative force indicators like an Article 15 or an unfavorable information file," Johnson said. "Those can prevent Airmen from retraining."

As a valuable career tool, retraining gives first-term Airmen the opportunity to experience another part of the Air Force, and gain a new perspective on their career to achieve their personal goals.