A career in the air force is an opportunity to serve your country and build valuable skills and experience for life as a civilian. The air force offers many roles in an array of fields, making it a good option no matter your personality or goals. Some of the highest paying Air Force jobs include positions as cyber operations officer, pilot, and attorney. These positions often require specialized skills and training but can offer rewarding careers with competitive salaries and benefits.
List of Highest Paying Jobs in the Air Force
- Medical Officer
- Judge Advocate General (JAG) Attorney
- Intelligence Officer
- Cyber Operations Officer
- Space Operations Officer
- Acquisition Manager
- Aircraft Maintenance Officer
- Special Operations Officer
- Air Battle Manager
1. Air fore Pilot
An air force pilot executes the operation of various aircraft for the air force, including fighter jets, bombers, transport planes, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). They attain advanced aviation skills through years of training and are well-versed in managing flight operations, encompassing combat missions and transports.
In addition to operating aircraft, an air force pilot is responsible for performing essential maintenance on their aircraft and training other air force personnel.
Becoming an air force pilot is a lengthy and challenging process. To qualify as an air force pilot, you must enlist in the air force, fulfill officer qualifications, enroll in a training school, and successfully complete subsequent flight training programs. Although not compulsory, you may also earn a bachelor’s degree after enlisting in the air force. Pursuing a degree in aviation or aerospace engineering could be exceedingly beneficial.
Qualifications To Become An Airforce Pilot
- To become an Air Force pilot, you need to have a solid understanding of several areas, including the theory of flight, air navigation, meteorology, aircraft operating procedures, flying directives, and mission tactics.
- You are required to complete Air Force Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training to be a pilot in the Air Force.
- A Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI) is mandatory for all potential Air Force pilots.
- You will need to fulfill additional requirements specific to your chosen specialty.
- To become an Air Force pilot, you must also complete Officer Training School (OTS), Air Force Academy (AFA), or Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC).
- The Air Force requires that you begin pilot training between the ages of 18 and 33.
The average salary for an airforce pilot: $98,196 per year or $47 per hour.
2. Medical Officer
An Airforce Medical Officer is a generalist with various medical roles, including primary care, occupational medicine, sports/musculoskeletal medicine, expeditionary medicine, prehospital medicine, and acute care. As a professional medical practitioner in the Air Force, your role will still be to examine and treat your patients and to provide them with the necessary health care possible.
Still, your experience will be different from your practice in the civilian world. You’ll be not only medical personnel but also an Air Force Officer, and you’ll receive benefits that allow you to advance your career as far as you’d like it to go.
Qualifications to Become an Airforce Medical Officer
- Military doctors go through the same medical school as any other doctor.
- They acquire a bachelor’s degree, apply to medical school, and complete seven to eight years of postsecondary schooling.
- After graduating from medical school, new doctors complete a residency to learn their specialty, which can take three or more years.
- Service in the military begins only after completing the residency.
- Military doctors must be US citizens between the ages of 21 and 64.
- They typically commit to at least two years of active duty service.
The average salary for an airforce medical officer: $136,700 per year
3. Judge Advocate General (JAG) Attorney
At the heart of every Air Force mission lies the pursuit of justice, which places the rights of Airmen at the forefront of their priorities. The Air Force Judge Advocates (JAG) – comprising top legal experts – are entrusted with defending and supporting Airmen’s rights.
Their extensive training empowers them to handle various legal matters, such as international law, operations law, environmental law, and military and civilian personnel issues. At every stage, from trial preparation to post-trial actions, JAG provides crucial legal counsel to ensure that justice is served.
Qualifications to Become A Judge Advocate General (JAG) Attorney
- The JAG must have knowledge of military and civilian law
- Current admission to the bar of a Federal Court or the highest court of a state
- Be Designated by The Judge Advocate General as a judge advocate
- Must have Completed the Officer Training School (OTS)
- Must be between the ages of 18 and 40
The average salary for an airforce Judge Advocate General: is $50,455 per year
4. Intelligence Officer
Airmen who serve as intelligence officers (14Ns) are responsible for leading and solving complex problems while optimizing a wide range of intelligence capabilities.
As part of the Service Core Function of Global Integrated Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance, they work closely with expert teams to provide decision advantage by integrating multi-domain (air, space, and cyber) and multi-intelligence capabilities against adversaries at a time and place of their choosing.
14Ns rely on various intelligence sources, including geospatial, signals, human intelligence, and publicly available information, to accomplish their mission.
In addition to commanding squadrons, groups, and wings, they lead staff functions such as acquisition, education and training, information technology, modeling and simulation, and strategy.
Qualifications To Become An Airforce Intelligence Officer
- Possession of a Bachelor’s degree in one of the following fields: science, humanities, social sciences, structured analysis, engineering or mathematics
- A certain level of foreign language study is highly desirable.
- Completion of required training courses
- Completion of 12 months in commissioned service after completing the Intelligence Officer Initial Skills course performing intelligence functions
- Completion of a current Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI)
- Completion of Officer Training School (OTS), Air Force Academy (AFA) or Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC)
- Must be between the ages of 18 and 39.
The average salary for an airforce Intelligence Officer: is $67,986 a year
5. Cyberspace Operations Officer
As a Cyber Warfare Operations Officer, one is tasked with commanding a crew and overseeing cyberspace weapons systems that are essential to the functioning of critical infrastructure. This includes combat communications, missile guidance systems, the nation’s power grid, and even rocket launches, all of which are dependent on robust cybersecurity measures.
The officer must remain vigilant across all cyber channels, advising and collaborating with commanders, assessing intelligence information, and meticulously planning and executing missions. They are responsible for ensuring that their team and equipment are always prepared and mission-ready.
Qualifications To Become A Cyberspace Operation Officer
- Strong knowledge of electronics theory, information technology, telecommunications, and supervisory and control systems, including cryptography, vulnerability assessment, and exploitation techniques.
- Completion of undergraduate cyberspace training and mission qualification training in a specialty area.
- Current Single Scoped Background Investigation (SSBI) completion.
- Completion of Officer Training School (OTS), Air Force Academy (AFA), or Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC).
- The age range must be between 18 and 39 years old.
The average salary for an airforce Cyberspace Operation Officer: $75,910 per year
6. Space Operations Officers
Using space in the military has many potential benefits for enhancing effectiveness. Space Operations Officers are responsible for overseeing the operation of satellite systems that improve communication and tracking and for directing the entire system.
They also manage space surveillance, lift, warning, and satellite command and control. By evaluating the effectiveness of all space operations and integrating new technology as it becomes available, they develop plans for future systems, facilities, and personnel to protect our country.
Qualifications To Become A Space Operations Officer
- Have knowledge of space systems, policies, and related areas.
- Completion of the prerequisite Undergraduate Space Training (UST).
- Completion of the required specialty courses.
- Have a normal color vision.
- Completion of a current Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI).
- Completion of Officer Training School (OTS), Air Force Academy (AFA), or Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC).
- Must be between the ages of 18 and 39.
The average salary for an airforce Space Operations Officer: is $101,016 a year
7. Acquisition Manager
The acquisition Manager is responsible for managing defense acquisition programs, covering every step of the process. This includes integrating engineering, controlling the program, testing and deploying, managing configurations, overseeing production and manufacturing, ensuring quality assurance, and providing logistics support.
They are also responsible for supporting major defense acquisition programs and other systems or subsystems and performing acquisition support roles.
Their duties involve planning, organizing, directing, coordinating, and performing acquisition program management activities to support daily operations, contingencies, and warfighting capabilities.
This includes managing acquisition programs’ cost, schedule, performance, and supportability. They also perform integrated logistic support engineering and planning tasks and manage program progress to ensure that subsystems and equipment are operable and supportable.
How to become an Acquisition Manager
- Knowledge of program management procedures for the system being acquired
- Completed Air Force qualifying acquisition courses
- Completed Officer Training School (OTS), Air Force Academy (AFA), or Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC)
- Be between the ages of 18 and 39
The average salary for an airforce Acquisition Manager: approximately $80,149
8. Aircraft Maintenance Officer
The safety of our Airmen and the success of every mission depends on our aircraft being in top condition. That’s where the Aircraft Maintenance Officers come in. They are responsible for ensuring that everything on the aircraft is working correctly.
This goes beyond directing maintenance operations, as they also carry out vital inspections and support combat missions, including airdrops worldwide. They are critical in the U.S. Air Force’s continued success by considering technical systems and economic factors.
How to Become an Aircraft Maintenance Officer
- Know about the capabilities and limitations of aircraft systems and components.
- Understand the theory of flight and airframe construction.
- Have knowledge of transportation, logistics, munitions, and other operations related to aircraft maintenance units.
- Completed an AETC in-residence Aircraft Officer Course.
- Completed Officer Training School (OTS), Air Force Academy (AFA), or Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC).
The average salary for an Aircraft Maintenance Officer: $57,362 per year
9. Special Operations Officer
The Air Force has specialized forces with unique training for special operation missions. These elite forces are constantly ready to launch attacks at any location in the world with minimal notice. Special forces officers are skilled combat leaders and staff officers who play critical roles in these missions.
Special forces officers provide guidance to Commanders on various aspects of special operations. Their extensive knowledge and expertise in unconventional warfare and operations enable them to effectively blend intelligence and planning across all levels of the operational continuum. This makes them a very revered unit in the airfare, hence the reason that they are one of the highest paying air force jobs.
Qualifications to Become An Airforce Special Operations Officer
- Demonstrate proficiency in using maps and charts, executing command and control principles and procedures, and applying survival techniques, field leadership, and evasion.
- Successfully completed specialty training courses.
- Fulfill physical requirements for marine diving, parachutist, and ATC duty.
- Maintain certification as a combat controller and sustain readiness for combat operations.
- Meet physical fitness and water confidence standards
- Complete a current Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI)
- Graduate from Officer Training School (OTS), Air Force Academy (AFA), or Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC)
The average salary for an airforce special operations officer: $67,152 per year
10. Air Battle Manager
This is another highest-paying air force job. As an Air Battle Manager, you lead and coordinate battle management and command and control (BMC2) operations for air and ground platforms. Your primary responsibility is directing mission crews in combat, combat support, training, and other critical missions.
Upon completing your training, you will undergo specialized training at the Surveillance and Control Training Unit to become an Air Battle Manager. This training will equip you with the necessary skills to perform surveillance and control duties, utilizing sophisticated electronic command and control systems.
Your primary objective will be to guide airborne assets to the most strategic locations required to carry out their mission effectively.
Qualifications To Become An Air Battle Manager
- Demonstrate knowledge of the theory of flight, weapons control fundamentals, joint mission tactics, and flying directives.
- Qualify for a Flying Class III physical.
- Complete a Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI).
- Complete Officer Training School (OTS), Air Force Academy (AFA), or Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC).
The average salary for an airforce air battle manager: $108,178 per year
How to Apply for Air Force Jobs
Before you can join the airforce in the USA, there are requirements that you have to meet. The following are those requirements:
- Applicants must have an age between 17 to 23 years by July 1 of the year admitted.
- Applicants must be U.S. citizens during enrollment (except for foreign students nominated by agreement between the U.S. and another country).
- Applicants must be unmarried.
- Applicants must not be pregnant or legally obligated to support a child.
- Applicants must possess an above-average high school or college academic record.
- Applicants must have taken the standardized American College Testing (ACT) Assessment Program Exam or the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT).
- Applicants must be in good physical and mental health.
- Applicants must pass a medical exam.
- Applicants must have above-average strength, endurance, and agility.
- Applicants must have adequate performance on the USAFA Physical Aptitude Exam.
Once you meet the above criteria, you can apply through the official US Airforce Application Link.
Benefits of Joining the Air Force
Here are some benefits of working as an Airforce officer in the US.
- Career advancement opportunities: The Air Force offers opportunities for career advancement, including promotions and specialized training. There are lots of high-paying secret jobs no one knows about in the force that you can explore and make a very successful career.
- Education benefits: The Air Force offers education benefits, including tuition assistance, college credits for military training, and opportunities for advanced degrees.
- Travel opportunities: The Air Force provides opportunities for travel and relocation, both within the United States and overseas. If you are lucky to secure one of the high paying jobs in the medical field that are in the airforce, you stand the chance of traveling around the country.
- Job security: The Air Force provides job security, with many opportunities for long-term employment and career growth.
The highest-paying air force jobs are as follows:
Pilot, Medical Officer, Judge Advocate General (JAG) Attorney, Intelligence Officer, Cyber Operations Officer, Space Operations Officer, Acquisition Manager, Aircraft Maintenance Officer, Special Operations Officer, Air Battle Manager…
The best jobs in the air force for civilian life are Legal Operations, Logistics Planners, Airfield Operations officers, medical officers and chaplains.
Although the Air Force is commonly associated with flying, only a small portion of its personnel are actually involved in piloting aircraft. The majority of airmen and airwomen instead work on various flight support missions, manage base operations, provide base security, build new airstrips, protect missile sites, and even participate in rescue operations.