When considering a career path to choose when joining the Air Force, many individuals look for positions that offer bonuses such as a signing bonus. Air Force professionals may also receive bonuses for re-enlisting or to pay towards their student loan debt. Although signing bonuses are an incentive for joining, and larger bonuses are available for various careers, prospective Air Force airmen should also consider the career path that best suits their individual goals.
Special Operations Weather Technician
As of 2009, individuals selecting a career in the special operations weather technician division will receive a signing bonus of $5,000 for a six-year commitment or $1,000 for four years of service. Special operations weathermen are meteorologists who have advanced training in tactical skills necessary to work in hostile and denied territories. They collect weather information and forecasts and then assist Air Force units with mission and route planning based on their findings.
Prospective special operations weather technicians must first complete 12 weeks of basic Air Force training followed by six months of advanced skills training. In addition, the Special Operations division only recruits from current Air Force weathermen.
As one of the most sought after positions in the armed forces, a linguist has the opportunity to earn $12,000 when signing a six-year contract or $3,000 for a four-year contract with the Air Force. Linguists specialize in a selected foreign language and are responsible for operating communications equipment, monitoring conversations, and translating and transcribing recorded information. Linguists are often deployed overseas and can specialize in languages including Farsi, Hebrew, Arabic, Korean or Japanese.
Linguists must first complete basic Air Force training. Specialized training in their selected language is provided, including a mix of classroom and field education.
Individuals interested in pararescue receive one of the highest signing bonuses offered by the Air Force, receiving $13,000 for a six-year commitment and $3,000 for four years. The pararescue team is responsible for providing emergency medical treatment in the field in order to stabilize and evacuate injured soldiers. The pararescue team may also act as aircrew scanners and gunners while in the air.
Pararescue team members receive some of the most extensive training offered by the Air Force. Individuals must complete basic Air Force training, along with intensive physical testing. In addition, pararescue members must obtain emergency medical technician certification and maintain the certification throughout their employment.
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