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NCOs given advanced degree opportunities

WASHINGTON -- The Air Force Institute of Technology is once again offering eight noncommissioned officers the opportunity to pursue an advanced science, engineering or management degree in-residence at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

The goal of the Enlisted-to-AFIT Program is to provide commanders with a diverse and renewable source of highly proficient and educated career NCOs, said Chief Master Sgt. Robert Hale, chief of Air Force enlisted professional military education at the Pentagon.

The program recognizes the important contributions that enlisted professional development has on enhancing the future total force, according to Lt. Gen. Richard E. "Tex" Brown III, deputy chief of staff for personnel at the Pentagon.

"In conjunction with other professional training and education programs, this advanced degree opportunity will further develop our NCOs' highly technical education and skills, leading to greater innovation and improved readiness," Brown said.

NCOs interested in applying for the 18-month program must be at least a technical sergeant with a minimum of eight years time in service, 12 months time on station and have three years retainability upon AFIT graduation. They must have completed the appropriate skill-level upgrade and resident professional military education schooling for their rank.

In addition, Hale said, applicants must possess a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university.

"Since this program is designed to provide advanced education, anyone interested in applying must have their bachelor's degree," Hale said.

Besides academic transcripts, applicants also have to provide test scores from either the Graduate Record Examination or Graduate Management Admission Test, depending upon the specific AFIT degree program requirements.

"This is a great opportunity for the enlisted force," Hale said.

Although not everyone can participate in this program, Hale strongly encourages enlisted members not to give up on pursuing advanced education.

"There are many opportunities available for enlisted members to continue their education, and they should take advantage of them all," he said. "By becoming experts in our career fields, our contributions become more significant, and it enhances the professionalism of the enlisted corps as well."

AFIT is the Air Force's graduate school of engineering and management and its institution for technical professional continuing education. Since residence degrees were first granted in 1956, more than 15,000 graduate and 300 doctorate of philosophy degrees have been awarded.

Prospective students should contact Hale at robert.hale@pentagon.af.mil for additional information on Enlisted-to-AFIT program policies, procedures, guidelines, and application process information.

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