An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Features : Display
NEWS | Nov. 12, 2013

Road to CCAF: Credits are the first step

By Senior Airman Teresa Aber 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Editor's Note: This story is a part of a series about the various ways U.S. Air Force Airmen can earn their Community College of the Air Force degree.

Every Service member goes through Basic Military Training and technical school, but many may not realize after graduating, they have earned up to 28 of the 64
required credits for an Associate of Applied Science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.

The Education Center at Langley Air Force Base has advisors who can help Airmen create a plan and work toward earning their CCAF degree in less time than they think.

The first step in maximizing educational benefits is to find out what credits have been earned already from military training and what credits are still needed.

For Airmen who attended college before enlisting, many credits can be transferred that will apply to their CCAF degree, such as their general education requirements. Airmen must request official transcripts from those courses and submit them to the Education Center to be evaluated.

"We want Airmen to stretch their time and money as much as possible when it comes to school," said Ronald Duquette, 633rd Force Support Squadron education service specialist. "If an Airman has taken a general education class before they joined the Air Force, there's no reason they should have to take it again."

Airmen also earn credits from basic military training and technical education credits from upgrade training in their career fields. Noncommissioned officers who graduate from professional military education courses, such as Airman Leadership School or NCO Academy, will earn up to ten college credits that will be applied to their CCAF degree.

"PME courses are a great way for Airmen to earn credits for college," said Duquette. "They are learning what is required of them as Airmen, as well as gaining leadership and management experience that can be applied to their degree plan."

For those who need credits, the Education Center facilitates College Level Examination Program and Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support tests that individuals can take to earn college credits based on personal knowledge, without taking any courses.

"The average test takes 90 minutes, and most of the tests give scores immediately," said Cathy Bullock, 633rd FSS CLEP and DANTES test facilitator. "If you passed one test a week for 10 weeks, you could save an entire year of sitting in classrooms as a full time student."

There are more than 70 CLEP and DANTES tests available at the Education Center, which all Service members and Department of Defense employees may complete free of charge on their first attempt. If an individual fails a test, they must wait 180 days before reattempting and must pay $105. Even that fee is most often less than the cost of textbooks used in classes, said Bullock, which cost an average of $175 per class or $900 per year.

For many individuals, the hardest thing to do is take the first step. The Education Center staff can help get Airmen on the right track to achieving their educational goals. Once Airmen have earned all possible credits through transfer credits, PME courses, and CLEP and DANTES testing, the next steps, using tuition assistance and the G.I. Bill, will ensure Airmen are well on their way to earning their CCAF degree.