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Chief's View: CCAF degree critical to career advancement

Chief Master Sgt. Kathleen R. Buckner

Chief Master Sgt. Kathleen R. Buckner

Citizen Airman/Feb. 2013 -- A U.S. president once said, "Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other." I believe this to be true.

With education, you become more proficient at your job, enabling mission effectiveness and efficiency. You may advance faster than your counterparts with education. In the military, education improves your ability to compete for promotion, assignments and attendance at special courses in residence. These are just some of the reasons why obtaining an associate degree from the Community College of the Air Force is important to advancing your military career.

So some of you may be asking yourselves, "If I already have a bachelor's, master's or doctorate degree, why should I pursue an associate degree?" CCAF is important because its degrees are centered around technical and leadership issues and round you into a more professional Airman.

Having a CCAF degree solidifies you as a subject matter expert in your functional area. CCAF programs are designed to provide you with knowledge, skills and theoretical background to enhance your performance as technicians and noncommissioned officers. Additionally, it improves your chances for being selected for top programs.

For some courses, the Reserve Development Education Designation Board looks to see if you have a CCAF degree to match you with respective developmental education schools based on the needs of the Air Force Reserve and your preference. This degree helps the board provide school opportunities to our professional Airman and develop future Air Force Reserve leaders.

As for senior noncommissioned officers, did you know that in order for master sergeants or higher to receive a senior rater endorsement on their Enlisted Performance Report, they must have a CCAF degree in their records?

With a large number of accessions being non-prior service members, the Air Force Reserve's senior enlisted members have a responsibility to ensure these new recruits clearly focus on completing their CCAF degree first, followed by second or subsequent degrees.

If you're a supervisor and/or mentor, it is vital to the future of our enlisted force development plans to set the example and send the right message to our Airmen. If you already have earned a CCAF associate degree, congratulations! If you want to know if you qualify for a CCAF, you have two options. You can visit your local Education Services Office, or you can go online tohttp://www.au.af.mil/au/ccaf and apply. You may have already fulfilled the requirements to receive your degree and don't even know it.