Posted on December 23, 2020

How To Join

The Air Force Reserve is open to current military personnel who are transitioning from active duty, former members of any branch of the U.S. military, as well as candidates with no prior military experience.

Applicants without prior military service must:

  • Be 17 to 39 years old
  • Be a U.S. Citizen or legal permanent resident
  • Have a high school diploma (or GED with 15 college credits)
  • Be in good health

Once these requirements are met, the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), a comprehensive written test, and the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS), physical and moral standard screenings, will help further determine your eligibility. 

After all testing and physicals are complete, you will go to Basic Military Training (BMT), an 8-week course completed at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. 

After BMT, you may need to go to technical training, where you will learn about your career field and can even earn college credit toward a degree.


If you have previously served in either the active duty Air Force or another branch of the military, your adjusted age must be less than 40. (Subtract your years of service from your age. If the result is less than 40, you may be eligible to join the Air Force Reserve.)

Candidates with prior military experience will not have to repeat Basic Military Training (BMT). You can continue your service, and, in many cases, keep your rank.

You can also join regardless of the U.S. military branch in which you previously served, including other Reserve and National Guard components.


All officers in the Air Force Reserve must hold a college degree and be selected to hold a commission. Enlisted personnel may become officers if they earn a bachelor's degree.

All officer candidates attend a nine week course at the Officer Training School at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. Those who are in healthcare, legal or religious professional areas attend Commissioned Officer Training, which is a condensed course of study.

  • If you are in a certain line of work (i.e., a doctor or nurse), you will enter the Air  Force Reserve as a commissioned officer, but must attend a special officer training.
  • If you are an enlisted member of the Air Force Reserve (or any other branch of service) and have a college degree, you may be offered a commission and then must complete Officer Training School.
  • If you are a member of Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), you may become a commissioned officer upon graduation.


  •  Aerospace Maintenance
  •  Aircrew Flight Equipment
  •  Aircrew Operations
  •  Aircrew Protection
  •  Civil Engineering
  •  Command and Control Systems
  •  Contracting
  •  Cyber Warfare
  •  Cyberspace Support
  •  Financial
  •  Force Support
  •  Fuels
  •  Historian
  •  Intelligence
  •  Logistics Plans
  •  Maintenance Management
  •  Materiel Management
  •  Missles and Space Systems Maintenance
  •  Munitions and Weapons
  •  Paralegal
  •  Public Affairs
  •  Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA)
  •  Safety
  •  Scientific Applications
  •  Security Forces
  •  Special Investigations
  •  Special Warfare
  •  Transportation and Vehicle Management
  •  Weather


  •  Acquisition
  •  Civil Engineering
  •  Combat Systems
  •  Contracting
  •  Cyber Operations
  •  Developmental Engineer
  •  Finance
  •  Force Support
  •  Information Operations
  •  Intelligence
  •  Law
  •  Logistics
  •  Operations Analysis
  •  Pilot
  •  Public Affairs
  •  Remotely Piloted Aircraft
  •  Scientific / Research
  •  Security Forces
  •  Space, Nuclear & Missile, C2
  •  Special Investigations
  •  Special Warfare
  •  Weather


The Air Force Reserve provides a wide range of benefits similar to those you would receive if you were on active duty with one major addition: the benefit of time. Time to be with your family, time to continue your civilian career and time to serve your country.

The Air Force Reserve constantly stresses education, and encourages Reservists to continue to learn throughout their careers by offering programs to help facilitate those ambitions.

Tuition Assistance is available
The Air Force Reserve Tuition Assistance (TA) program is designed to help Air Force Reserve personnel pursue voluntary, off-duty educational opportunities. Currently, the program pays 100 percent (up to $250 per semester hour or equivalent) of the cost of college tuition with a limit of $4,500 per fiscal year. Courses and degree programs may be academic or technical and can be taken from two- or four-year institutions on base, off base or by correspondence.


College Credit
The training for most career fields leads to college credits applicable to Community College of the Air Force degree programs.

Montgomery GI Bill
The Montgomery GI Bill Select Reserve (MGIB-SR) program may be available to you. This benefit may be used for degree and certificate programs, flight training, apprenticeship/on-the-job training and correspondence courses. Remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances.

On the Job Training
The Air Force Reserve encourages on-the-job training and continuing education on all levels. Certain experiences, like those gained by aviation mechanics, can help Reservists qualify for special certifications/licensure, such as FAA licenses, at little or no cost.

Post-9/11 GI-Bill
The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides financial support for education to those with at least 90 days of aggregate service on or after September 11, 2001, or those discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days.

Student Loan Repayment
The Air Force Reserve offers student loan repayment in selected career fields.

Extra Income

The Air Force Reserve can give you the ability to earn extra income and benefits while maintaining a civilian job or pursuing your degree. If you're a full-time student, you'll have the time to study while you serve in the Reserve. If you have a job, you'll enjoy the extra income earned as a member of the Reserve.

Grocery & Department Store Privileges

As a Reserve Airman, you can save more of what you earn when you shop at low-cost grocery stores, known as commissaries, or tax-free department stores, known as Exchanges. Recreational equipment rentals are also available at discounted rates.

Low-cost Insurance

The Air Force Reserve offers low-cost medical insurance to Airmen and their dependent family members including, but not limited to, spouses and children.

Plan for the Future

The Air Force Reserve offers excellent retirement benefits, inexpensive life insurance, and a reserve health care plan. These benefits make it very easy to build security.

Potential Bonus

The Air Force Reserve offers bonuses up to $20,000 to those who enlist in specific fields. The career fields that are eligible for a bonus can change every six months to reflect the needs of the Air Force Reserve. Enlisment bonuses are paid out over six years on the anniversary of the date of your enlistment.


You will meet people, make lifelong friendships and experience the sense of camaraderie typical of military service.

Direct Transfer

Service members who are currently on active duty can transfer directly to the Air Force Reserve and continue serving your country while accruing years towards your retirement.

Do the Extraordinary

Serving in the Air Force Reserve will give you the opportunity to go places and do things that are just not possible as a civilian.

Keep Rank

In most cases, those who have past military experience from any branch will retain their rank when they join the Reserve.


Many current Reservists claim the personal and professional connections they made with other Reserve Airmen directly led to them securing permanent employment in the private sector.

No Need To Move

When you join the Air Force Reserve you can serve at a base close to where you currently live and work. Though you do not need to move, you may pursue assignments at your base or at other locations as the opportunities arise.


Since President Harry S. Truman called for the formation of the Air Force Reserve in 1948, it has been a critical part of the nation's defense. Its mission is to provide combat ready forces to Fly, Fight and Win.

Operating in various locations around the world, the Air Force Reserve has evolved from a "stand by" force for emergencies into a Major Command (MAJCOM) of the Active Duty Air Force.

The Air Force Reserve currently performs about 20 percent of the work of the Air Force, including traditional flying missions and other more specialized missions, such as Weather Reconnaissance (Hurricane Hunters), Modular Aerial Fire Fighting (MAFFs) and Personnel Recovery (Pararescuemen).

The Air Force Reserve is comprised of the 4th Air Force, 10th Air Force and 22nd Air Force. Under those numbered Air Forces are 35 wings, 10 independent groups and various mission support units at:  

  • 9 Reserve bases
  • 54 active duty, Joint Reserve and Air National Guard bases
  • 5 miscellaneous locations.

The total membership of the Air Force Reserve is 69,200. Of those, 80 percent are Enlisted and 20 percent are Officers. The Headquarters of the Air Force Reserve is at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. The Command Structure starts with the President of the United States.


Top Command:
The Air Force Reserve ultimately is under the command of the President of the United States as the Commander in Chief. This is a chart of the civilian and military positions that form the hierarchy of the command structure.

This outline represents the primary locations which fall under the control of one of the three numbered Air Forces which make up the Air Force Reserve. These locations may be Air Force Bases, Air Reserve Bases or air stations that could be shared with another branch of the military. There also could be several "tenant units" assigned to different Air Forces at each of these locations.

The 4th Air Force at March Air Reserve Base, California; the 10th Air Force at NAS JRB Ft. Worth, Texas; and the 22nd Air Force at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia, report to Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command. They act as operational headquarters for their subordinate units and provide training; operational, logistical and safety support; and the regional support for geographically separated units.

While most reservists work one weekend a month and two weeks a year, there are several other categories of service in the Air Force Reserve. Some are part-time, such as Traditional Reservists and Individual Mobilization Augmentees, and some are full-time, such as Air Reserve Technicians and Active Guard Reserve Airmen. Regardless of duty-status category, all Reserve Airmen contribute to the Air Force Reserve by providing an integrated, flexible and combat-ready force that supports national security objectives.

Air Force Reserve categories of service break down as follows:

Traditional Reservists (TRs) - 69%

The majority of Reserve Airmen are TRs. They serve part-time, usually one weekend a month and two weeks a year. Most TRs serve at Air Force units that are close to home.

Individual Mobilization Augmentees (IMAs) - 12% 

A smaller but equally important category of TR is the "Individual Mobilization Augmentee" (IMA). IMAs are part-time Air Force Reservists who are assigned to active duty Air Force units and organizations, combat support agencies, Unified Combatant Commands and the Joint Staff to do jobs that are essential in wartime and/or during contingency operations, but do not require full-time manning during times of peace. They typically report for duty 24 to 48 individual training days per year and twelve contiguous annual training days a year but, like their Unit Program counterparts, many IMAs serve well in excess of the minimum military duty requirement. 

Air Reserve Technicians (ART) - 15% 

While the Air Force Reserve takes pride in offering great part-time jobs, approximately 10,000 Citizen Airmen serve full-time in Air Reserve Technician (ART) positions. ARTs are dual-status employees of the Air Force Reserve, which means they serve both as reservists and as federal civilian employees. They provide the day-to-day management, operations and administration for traditional Reserve units. ART positions are available in more than 100 occupations, including commander, flight instructor, aircraft mechanic, aircraft maintenance officer, nurse, loadmaster and human resource officer. As dual-status employees, ARTs enjoy a benefits package that includes programs designed for both military members and federal civilian employees. Available ART positions can be viewed on

Active Guard Reserve (AGR) - 4% 

Reserve Airmen who work in AGR positions provide full-time support to Reserve Component organizations for the purpose of leading, organizing, administering, recruiting, instructing or training. Unlike dual-status ART positions that consist of military and civilian statuses, AGRs are full-time military servicemembers without any ties to federal civilian status. AGRs receive pay, benefits and entitlements that are nearly identical to those of active-duty Airmen of the Regular Air Force. Prior military experience is required.

The Air Force Reserve fully respects and upholds the importance of family. Understandably, enlisting in the military can be daunting for everyone involved. To family and friends of a potential Reservist: rest assured that we take the safety and well-being of your loved one very seriously.

You will be glad to know that we have earned a reputation as an organization that knows how to take care of its people, and our Airmen will learn skills and traits that prove to be invaluable in any aspect of life: strict discipline, responsibility, respect for authority, and selfless service.

At the same time, they will build a solid foundation and earn their own way to a secure future with exclusive military benefits. These benefits can also apply to military family members, meaning that you can also save money on your own car insurance, mortgage loans, and education, among other select perks.

Above all, your friend or child’s courageous decision to serve is something to be proud of. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.