Well, I hit the button. I requested retraining. I’ve waited so long for this.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with the Air Force or the military in general, I’ll explain what I’m talking about.

Retraining in the Air Force is when you apply for different career field than the one that you are already in. You can only apply during specific times in your career.  Usually, for the six-year enlistee that is still on their first enlistment, you can apply for the shortfall list [list of career fields that are critically undermanned] after 3 years and the full list at 5 years in the service.  (If you are curious, there is an AFI that explains this in greater detail.) A useful tool to use when applying is the “retraining advisory list”. That list shows you the number of people needed in each career field. You also use the AFECD (Air Force Enlisted Classification Directory) that tell you what the requirements are to work in that field.

First part in retraining is to request it with AFPC and give them a list of the jobs that you are interested in. Once AFPC has this list from you, they will let you know if you are qualified for this job and will let you know all the paperwork/interviews/etc that you need to submit to them. Once it submitted to AFPC, it is now an application.

When you retrain, it’s not a guaranteed approval. Just like with jobs in the civilian sector, a lot of people are usually applying for the same job. The Air Force will look at all the submitted applications in the order of the highest ranking applicant to the lowest. The Air Force calls this process “boards”.  There’s one board held a month. Once you are approved, you will get dates for your new tech school. If your application is denied the first board, you get 2 more chances for it to get looked at and potentially accepted. After the third board, your retraining is denied and you don’t get another attempt at it.

It’s a long process that stretches months. It’s important to stay on top of your paperwork and know the AFPC time deadlines that are AFI mandated. It’s still a gamble for it to get approved.

I’m applying for “Education and Training” (3S2X1) off the shortfall list. I’m not in my 5 year mark retraining window but the only job I’m applying for is critically manned, which is why it’s on the shortfall list. My chances of getting approved are very high because of how many people the career field needs. It’s the job that my husband applied for as well. It will be interesting to hold the same AFSC as my husband, in the event that my retraining is approved. Either way, I’ll be happier not having to be a maintainer anymore. My husband doesn’t regret escaping maintenance.

Since my husband and I are planners, we have already discussed what to do if my retraining is denied. I’ll be getting out of the military entirely if I am unable to get out of the maintenance career field. I’ve worked hard. I’ve deployed twice. I’m tired of the maintainer politics. I’m tired of it all. I can’t spend another 4-6 years doing this.

Fellow bloggers and readers, please cross your fingers for me. I really want this retraining to get approved.

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