Air Force Tech School Tips and Tricks
Upon an Airman's completion of Air Force Basic Military Training, all enlisted Airmen will head to technical school to learn and train for their new career in the United States Air Force. Tech school is where Airman will learn everything they will need to know to perform their job in the Air Force. Us the tips and tricks below to be better prepared for tech school and your career in the United States Air Force.
LOOK UP LENGTH OF YOUR TECH SCHOOL
Make sure you know how long you will be at tech school. You can check to see here: https://www.airforce.com/careers NOTE: The length of your course will be in CLASS days. This does NOT include weekends or holidays. For example, my tech school was for Aircraft Structural Maintenance which has a tech school length of 76 days (at the time). There are 5 class days in a week, occasionally 4 days a week for holidays or down days. Lets do the math of how long my tech school was. Take the 76 total days of class and divide that by 5 days a week = 15.2 weeks of class.
This means you can take your projected graduation date of BMT and add about 2 weeks to it (that's usually how long it takes to start class at tech school) and then count out 15.2 weeks from there. If you see any holidays that you won't go to school, add them up and once you hit 15.2 weeks add all of the holiday days to the 15.2 weeks to get your final tech school length. This won't give you your exact tech school graduation date but at least it will give you an estimate of about what week it will be.
FIND THE LOCATION OF YOUR TECH SCHOOL
Ever wonder where your tech school will be? Check out the Air Force's website where you can look at a description of each job, how many college credits it will earn you, and where it is located: https://www.airforce.com/careers
USE THE AIR FORCE PORTAL
The Air Force Portal is the website where you login to access nearly everything you need. You will only be able to access the portal through government computers on base. Anything you need to look up about your military career will be on Air Force Portal. This is where you can find your assignment information, your military pay, your education information, etc.
WHAT TO BRING TO TECH SCHOOL
Unlike BMT, at tech school you can have more personal effects and entertainment. I surveyed hundreds of Airmen on what they WISHED they would have had at Air Force Tech School. Check out my Tech School Wish List Here
LEARN HOW TO CHECK FOR AN ASSIGNMENT
At tech school you will get your assignment before you get your orders. Orders are the formal notification to where you will be stationed. Your assignment will be posted online in your Vitrual Military Personnel Flight (VMPF) which you will get to from Air Force portal. Practice how to access this information and ask questions if you are unsure how to do so.
HAVING A CAR AT TECH SCHOOL
You can have a car at tech school if you wish. Most people have their friends or parents drive their car to tech school. Rarely do people buy cars in tech school. Financially, I wouldn't recommend buying a car in tech school. Having a car does make tech school a lot more enjoyable though. Having a car allows you to go out and explore on weekends rather than spending a ton of money on taxis.
DO NOT DRINK UNDERAGE
DO NOT drink if you are underage! If you get caught you WILL get discharged from the Air Force and that would be a really big disappointment for you, your friends, and your family. This sadlyhappens constantly at tech school. Those who get caught drinking underage can cause their entire squadron to be placed on lock down and miss out on weekends while being stuck in uniform 24/7. DON'T BE THAT PERSON! So for yourself and for others, please do not drink if you are underage in tech school or at any point of your career. It's simply not worth the consequences.
FOLLOW THE RULES, BUT HAVE FUN!
Sometimes following the rules may seem like it is no fun but if you want to you can always find something to do in tech school. Hanging out with friends, playing sports, playing video games, going exploring, Nerf gun wars. There will always be something fun to do, you just have to find what you enjoy. However, make sure you don't break rules while doing any fun activities because you could affect everyone in your training squadron and your future with the Air Force.
KEEP YOUR ROOM CLEAN
In tech school your room will be inspected just like BMT. It's really easy to pass your inspections if you always keep your room clean. Any time you use anything in your room, put it away after you're done using it. The biggest thing is going to be taking the trash out almost everyday and keeping your sink clean. Find a routine that works for you as soon as you get to tech school.
INTERNET AT TECH SCHOOL
You can have internet in tech school. Some of the dorms have built in wi-fi that you have to pay for. My tech school was in Pensacola, Florida and you were able to purchase internet from sprint. All you had to do was set up a modem in the dorms. Although the available internet may vary from base-to-base, you will be able to access the internet if you choose to do so.
SORRY, NO PETS AT TECH SCHOOL
You are not allowed to have pets while at tech school. If you have a cat or dog back home, you'll have to leave them with a family member through tech school and even while you're at your first base. If you're single and have under 2 years of service, you'll more than likely still be in the dorms so, if you're single don't expect to have pets for the first few years of your career.
FAMILY/SPOUCE LIVING WITH YOU WHILE AT TECH SCHOOL
The real answer is no. However, if your family or spouse is willing to move to the location of your tech school, you will have to pay for their rent off-base. Keep in mind, you will still have to live in the dorms and will not actually be able live with them in off-base housing. You will only be able to see them on free evenings and weekends. Moving your family for a few months only to move them again can be hard on them so I would suggest you just wait out tech school and leave your family at home. Once you complete tech school, they can move with you to your first base.
LEARN ABOUT YOUR LEAVE AND EARNINGS STATEMENT
This is a MUST DO when you get to tech school. Unfortunately, I didn't know what this was until after I was at my first base for a few months. This is where you will look to see how much money you make each month, where that money is coming from, how much leave you have, and your taxes deducted. You can access your LES through Air Force portal. You will click on MyPay and it will take to all of the referenced information.
VISITORS WHILE AT TECH SCHOOL
Yes, you can have visitors while at tech school. Almost every weekend someone had family or friends visiting. During the week, If you don't have anything to do, you are free to hangout with friends and family after class. On weekends, you are free to do as you wish as long as you come back to your dorm before curfew (yes, you will have a curfew in tech school no matter how old you are). Keep the rules and drinking underage in mind. As I mentioned earlier, If someone (or you) gets in trouble and causes the squadron to be on lock down, you won't be able to hangout with your friends/family. This happened the last week I was at tech school. Two kids got caught underage drinking and we were restricted to base only for the next weekend and had to be in uniform at all times. This made that weekend for those who had friends/family visiting not very enjoyable since they weren't allowed to go off base and enjoy time with their friends/family. (As you can see, everyone works together. If one person messes up, everyone might have to pay for it)
FREE TIME AT TECH SCHOOL
You will get free time after class everyday to do whatever you want. Personally, I suggest you always knock out any studying you might have right away, then you can enjoy the rest of the evening doing whatever you like. Playing video games, working out, Skype friends and family. Unlike BMT, in tech school you're allowed to have fun in your free time! On weekends you will get 2 full days to explore the local area and do whatever you want. You can go out to eat, watch movies, go to bars (if you're off age), you pretty much go back to treating weekends the same way you did before you joined.
UNIFORMS AT TECH SCHOOL
Do you have to wear uniforms at ALL TIMES during Tech School? NO you do not! You will only wear your uniforms while working. In tech school, your job is school. You will wear uniforms to and from school, but after school you can change into civies (civilian clothes). Outside of school the only time you'll ever wear a uniform is for PT.
PT AT TECH SCHOOL
My experience at tech school consist of PT 3 times a week. This may very by your job in the Air Force. For me, It consisted of lining up in formation, stretching, doing calisthenics, and then running. PT usually lasted 1-1.5 hours. In addition to organized PT, you can workout in your free time at the base gym. This is exactly what I did immediately after PT.