What Is The CCAF And Why Should You Be A Graduate?

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Jon Michael Taylor
  • 117th Intelligence Squadron

I am confident over the past couple of years that you have heard someone encourage you to enroll in the Community College of the Air Force.  Hopefully, you are fully aware of what the CCAF is and why you should be working to obtain an Associate’s Degree from the CCAF.  If you are not as familiar with the program as you would like to be, I offer the following explanation of what the CCAF is and why you should be actively enrolled in a program of study. 

Some 40 years ago, Air Force leaders saw a need to establish an organization that would help improve the technical and managerial skills of Air Force noncommissioned officers.  What they envisioned was a program that would combine Air Force training and civilian education into a degree program that would be recognized by civilian colleges and universities. That vision became the CCAF. Unique to all the armed services, the CCAF is the only federal institution that awards degrees exclusively for the enlisted force.  It is a fully accredited degree-conferring institution by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools which is one of the six regional accreditation organizations recognized by the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Enlisted members are enrolled in the college upon entry into the Air Force and assigned to a specific career field. The college then begins to award academic credit for the education and training that you receive during your career. This begins with basic military training and continues on with the various technical schools that you will attend. It also includes professional military education that you must complete as you advance in your career. 

You must then complete general education course work in five categories through regionally accredited civilian institutions of higher education. As a member of the Alabama Air National Guard, your G.I. Bill benefits will pay the tuition for the required college courses. The Alabama State Tuition Assistance Program will provide funding for any textbooks and additional fees required by your college or university.  Upon successful completion of your specific degree program, you will be awarded an Associate in Applied Science degree.

This will be important to you for two primary reasons.  First and foremost, it will be a strong academic addition to your civilian resume as you apply for jobs and continue to pursue your civilian career.  Also, the possession of a civilian academic degree is a requirement for promotion to the ranks of senior master sergeant and chief master sergeant in the United States Air Force and the Air National Guard.  Completion of the academic coursework and the award of a CCAF degree fulfills this requirement and is another step toward eligibility for promotion to the senior non-commissioned officer ranks.  I sincerely hope each and every enlisted member of our wing has the goal of achieving these ranks during their career.  Investing the time and effort to be awarded your CCAF degree will demonstrate your dedication to the professionalism of the USAF and ANG enlisted corps. It will also ensure you have completed all of the requirements necessary to pursue your goals to the highest level possible.