October 30, 2015, By David McCauley – Pursuing higher education and obtaining your college degree is an achievement that can prove immeasurably useful after your military service. One problem facing many civilian graduates is that while they have a degree, they do not yet have experience within their particular field. Your experience as an active duty servicemember can give you a competitive advantage toward nabbing that civilian job, post-service.
This list contains three Air Force Specialties and the undergraduate and postgraduate degrees that directly correspond to them. Combining your career path with your AFS, MOS or Rate will give you greater credibility and experience. If you decide to remain in the armed forces, you can use your newfound degree to make the jump from enlisted to officer. All educational programs referenced have been selected specifically for their flexibility, military friendliness, and can be completed through long-distance or online coursework. If you have not yet enlisted, this guide can help you choose your Air Force Specialty and plan your future career path.
Radiation Science Technology
ASFC: Diagnostic Imaging (4R0X1)
This Air Force specialty is ideal for those desiring to transition into radiographic technology. This type of diagnostic imaging aids physicians in diagnosing disorders of the skeleton and organs.You will learn to operate radiographic equipment and perform diagnostic x-rays. You will also learn to use specialized equipment to perform ultrasounds, magnetic resonance imaging, and mammography. These skills are of a technical nature, and will serve you well in or out of the service. Specific civilian career paths include radiologic technology and diagnostic medical sonographers.
You can learn more about pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Radiation Science Technology at the University of Cincinnati.
ASFC: Mental Health Service (4C0X1)
The emotional support and rehabilitation of servicemen and women is an important process requiring dedicated professionals who want to make a difference. This specialty supports Air Force mental health services like psychology, social work, mental health programs, and family advocacy. In this role you will be trained to identify and conduct treatment plans alongside healthcare providers. Basic procedures can include psychological testing, mental status examinations, and substance abuse evaluations. You are trained to observe, monitor, and record patient progress, as well as conduct group and individual counseling. Mental Health Service Specialists are the first line of support when an airman or woman is seeking emotional support or care. They are expected to assist and arrange patient referral to public, private, and military community healthcare agencies. These skills are equally important in the civilian sector, and your firsthand experience will prove valuable. Specific civilian career paths include psychiatry, family advocacy, substance abuse counseling, and the general nursing field.
You can learn more about pursuing a Master’s Degree in Applied Psychology at the University of Southern California.
Medical Laboratory Science
ASFC: Medical Laboratory (4T0X1)
The role of a Medical Laboratory Specialist is vital in diagnosing, treating, and preventing diseases. They practice established laboratory techniques and procedures to support medical research and medical laboratory activities. You will learn to test and analyze blood samples, performing coagulation studies when necessary. Additional training includes analyzing human sample material at a chemical, macroscopic, and microscopic level. General medical laboratory duties are included in addition to training in procedures applicable to clinical chemistry. You can expect to acquire knowledge about hematology, urinalysis, clinical chemistry, microbiology, medical terminology, medical ethics, and routine medical equipment handling and maintenance.
You can learn more about pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Laboratory Science at the University of Cincinnati.
No matter what specialty you choose or are already serving in, there are always opportunities to utilize your unique skills in the pursuit of a degree. Start planning today to maximize and take charge of your future. Your College Counselor, Recruiter, or Base Educational Liaison are great points of first contact to gain more information.
About the Author: D.M. McCauley is a former U.S. Navy sailor who worked in Intel. After the service he has dedicated his time to writing and traveling with his significant other.
Photo Credit: U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Matt Hecht/Released