Becoming an Air Force Recruiter

An air force recruiter and a young woman
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Becoming an Air Force recruiter can be the most challenging and gratifying job you will ever have. Only the best need apply. The development and maintenance of our national defense structure require a steady flow of highly-qualified and motivated young men and women to perform the multitude of jobs required in the Air Force today and tomorrow.

Recruiters are responsible for the number and quality of young men and women who enlist and begin their Air Force careers. There are few jobs in the Air Force more challenging, satisfying, and rewarding as Air Force Recruiting. A more vital enlisted profession does not exist in the United States Air Force.

Top personnel from a variety of career fields are selected for recruiting duty. The ideal applicant is an Air Force member who is sincerely motivated to be a recruiter and is willing to accept any geographical area. However, we know many applicants are motivated primarily by a desire to serve in a specific geographical area or by dissatisfaction with the area where they presently serve. Geographical preferences are the first criteria used in making initial assignment matches. If there are no suitable volunteers, then most eligible non-volunteer will be chosen according to AFPC selection criteria.

Tour of Duty for Recruiters

Recruiting duty is a 3-year, controlled tour. Under the Recruiter Extension Program, recruiters have the option to extend for 1 year at a time. Although stability is one of the most attractive features of recruiting duty, there are associated constraints.

  • Once placed in a stabilized status, individuals normally remain in that status until completion of the entire tour.
  • While in stabilized status, recruiters are ineligible to volunteer for overseas assignment, retraining, technical school, etc., except when the application coincides with scheduled rotation.
  • Generally speaking, recruiters are not assigned out of Recruiting Service before completion of the tour except for humanitarian reassignment, discharge, or retirement.

A recruiter may be moved from one location to another within Recruiting Service. Such internal moves are necessary due to program changes, reorganization, and assignments to career broadening or career progression positions. Normal Air Force permanent change of station (PCS) or permanent change of assignment (PCA) guidelines apply.

Financial Aspects of Recruiting Duty

Living in civilian communities where commissary, exchange, medical, and other government facilities are not readily available is more expensive than being on or near an Air Force base. Recruiters receive special duty assignment pay (SDAP - $375.00 per month). However, this pay is not designed to offset the expenses associated with living off base. SDAP is authorized and intended to attract and retain NCOs to the responsibilities of recruiting duties. Also, authorized out-of-pocket expenses associated with the recruiting job are reimbursable up to certain limits. Off-duty employment for recruiters assigned to any recruiting office is strictly prohibited. Prospective recruiters must be able to subsist on their military pay. If you are having financial problems now, recruiting duty is not the place to try and recover.

Recruiter Expectations

Because recruiting is a sales profession, the recruiter must tailor daily activities to the availability of prospective applicants and community influencers. It often requires irregular hours and some periods of TDY away from home. For instance, an applicant may want you to come to their home to make a presentation. The applicant's parents may also want to hear the information, and if 8:30 p.m. is the best time, then you are expected to accommodate. Additionally, many applicants will only be available on weekends, and you will have to be available then, too.

Covering large geographical areas is another time absorber. In some cases, the territory covered is so large that TDY to what we call an itinerary office is necessary. To put it simply, as an Air Force recruiter, you must be willing to live the Air Force core values of "Service before Self" at all times. But this is only the tip of the sword. You will also be expected to interact with civic and community organizations, establish rapport with school officials, and direct an effective school visitation plan. Some other exciting activities include participating in parades and other special events, creating community awareness, and soliciting assistance from the local media in promotion of the Air Force.

Goals (Quotas)

Successfully meeting monthly recruiting goals is vital to the Air Force mission. Millions of dollars are committed to the basic military and technical training programs in the Air Force. Obtaining sufficient quality recruits and other applicants to fill Air Force personnel requirements can be a challenge. Competition from other armed services and the private sector is keen, and recruiters must work hard to attain their assigned recruiting goals. Therefore, it is important that applicants for recruiting duty understand the goal system to prevent inaccurate assumptions.

Air Force personnel requirements are given to Recruiting Service in the form of program goals for enlisted accession (EA), line officers (Officer Training School), health care professionals (physicians, nurses, etc.), applicants for Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) scholarships and others as required.

Recruiters are assigned goals on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis in one or more of these programs. Applicant quality is very important, and the mental, physical and moral qualifications are high, especially in the enlisted accession program where all new recruiters start.

Production goals are based on a detailed market analysis of the recruiter's assigned area and are as fair and equitable as possible. Monthly productivity is carefully analyzed and evaluated. Every recruiter has sufficient market to achieve his or her assigned goals. Recruiters who meet or exceed goals are properly recognized, and those who fail to achieve goal requirements are evaluated to determine the reason and then provided additional training as necessary.

Contrary to popular belief, recruiter’s Enlisted Performance Reports (EPR's) is not based solely on attainment of assigned goals. Additional training and assistance are much preferred over reassignment and getting a replacement. However, if productivity evaluations show the recruiter is not doing the job due to lack of effort, then appropriate relief actions may be taken. The goal assignment system used by recruiting managers is more closely monitored than work allocation systems used in most other Air Force specialties. Even with this goal emphasis, no other Air Force job similarly allows individuals to establish their relative success in competition with other NCOs.

It is truly a challenging and refreshing experience. The recruiter plans the work, and then works the plan--direct supervision is usually very limited.


An applicant must:

  • Be SRA thru MSgt and have 17 or fewer years time in service (TIS). All applicants must be career committed, regardless of Air Force specialty code (AFSC) or assignment status.
  • Be qualified in his or her AFSC. Must not have any "3" (or less) enlisted performance reports (EPRs) within the last three reporting periods.
  • Have appropriate time on station (TOS) before applying. However, waivers are authorized for CONUS assignments. Overseas members must be within one year of established DEROS to apply.
  • Have a minimum physical profile of 2-2-2-2-2-1 and minimum dental classification of II. Any waiver must be requested and fully documented.
  • Be outstanding in appearance, military bearing, conduct and past performance. Waivers for conditions that detract from outstanding personal appearance, shaving waivers, etc., will not be granted. A Body Fat Measurement (BFM) waiver will be considered on an individual basis. Air Force recruiters must meet or exceed AFI 36-2903 standards.
  • Have a valid state driver's license.

Method of Selection

Recruiters are chosen from two sources, volunteers and selectees. Volunteers are the preferred method of selection. However, if a requirement remains unfilled, the Recruiter Selection Process mandates that AFPC select the most eligible member to fill these requirements. If you meet the eligibility criteria referenced in the above section and have been on station more than 8 years you are vulnerable for “selection” by AFPC.

The Recruiter Screening Team screens all applications for recruiting duty. This screening process is purposely rigorous and extensive, designed to ensure the best possible person/job match and the likelihood of success as an Air Force Recruiter. This process includes review of candidate’s application, EPR history, credit check, AMJAM check, medical records review of member/family, Unit Commander’s Recommendation, and an extensive interview/assessment process. Potential applicants will be administered the Emotional Quotient Inventory and the Emotional Quotient Interview, which will be scored against the profile of successful recruiters to determine potential skill match for recruiting duty.

Every effort will be made to place selected applicants in their areas of preference. However, this cannot be guaranteed. Additionally, if you’re a volunteer, you will not be assigned to a location without your consent. Under no circumstances should any PCS planning be made until official assignment notification by AFPC.

Recruiting School

Applicants selected for a recruiting assignment receive assignment instructions through their MPF, to include orders for the TDY to the 7-week Recruiting School at Lackland AFB, Texas. Upon successful completion of the recruiting course, new recruiters will return to their duty stations and process for a normal PCS move.

For more information about the Recruiting School, go to their web site at The recruiting course is one of the most challenging courses in the Air Force and requires extra effort and sincere desire. Standards at the Recruiting School are high. Duration of the course is 7 weeks (8 hours a day, 5 days a week).

There is a lot of homework and study. Instruction includes Air Force benefits and entitlements, program selection criteria, advertising and promotion, community relations, speech, and salesmanship. There are several graded exercises, including written examinations, speeches, and sales presentations. Sales presentations are timed, simulated situations in which the student is the recruiter and the instructor is the prospective recruit. Speeches are 8 to 12 minutes and are persuasive presentations directed at simulated audiences, such as civic groups and high school students.