Posted by: Jacqui Murray | March 19, 2012

Military–Good Option for College Grads

I’m not talking about OCS. From what I can tell, all the military branches want a 3.2 (Army) or 3.5 (Navy) to get in after college. In short, they really don’t want anymore satellite communicationsofficers. I believe that. My daughter’s ship has fifteen Ensigns–far more than they can use, but newly-minted Ensigns need a home.

So, all those college grads who can’t find jobs in the New Economy and figure they’ll park themselves in the military as an officer until things loosen up are having a Come to Jesus moment. For many of them, the option to enter the military as an enlisted is discouraging.

But it shouldn’t be. Yes, the pay is lower and yes, the people around you won’t have the breath of knowledge that comes with a college degree, but the armed forces is not just about boots on the ground anymore. There are a lot of technical jobs that let you use your brain and then, when you’re done with your commitment, make you more marketable in private industry. Some even have bonuses attached to them. Why, I don’t know, but if you select certain fields, they’ll pay you a bonus. Here’s what the Air Force is paying:

Officials announce new initial enlistment bonuses by DCS, Manpower, Personnel and ServicesRANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – Pentagon officials recently released the fiscal 2011 initial enlistment bonus program list.

Three Air Force specialty codes had bonuses decreased but only for those enlisting for six years. Those AFSCs seeing decreases were airborne linguist, crypto linguist and tactical air control party. No AFSCs were added or increased for the new fiscal year.

Below is the complete IEB list. All changes went into effect Oct. 1.

AFSCs                                                                                        Six-year bonus            Four-year bonus

1A8X1   Airborne Linguist                                             $14,000

1N3XX  Crypto Linguist                                                 $14,000

1C2X1   Combat Controller                                          $17,000                      $3,000

1T2X1   Pararescue                                                        $17,000                      $3,000

1C4X1  Tactical Air Control Party                          $15,000                      $3,000

1T0X1   Survival, Evasion, Resist and Escape    $16,000                      $3,000

3E8X1   Explosive Ordnance Disposal                  $15,000                      $3,000

3P0X1   Security Forces                                             $2,000

1W0X2  Special Operations Weather                    $5,000                        $1,000

For more information about the IEB program, visit the AFPC personnel services website at, contact your local military personnel section, or call the Total Force Service Center toll free at (800) 525-0102 or DSN 665-5000.

Some fields in the Army (like satellites) and the Navy (like nuclear) have bonuses as high as $20k. The kicker is, the recruit’s ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) score must be top notch. A 35 out of 100 on the ASVAB will pass, but for the top-notch jobs, you want to score in the 90’s.

Jacqui Murray is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman.  She is webmaster for five blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a USNA columnist for, an ISTE article reviewer, a weekly contributor to Write Anything and mother of a Naval Officer and an Army grunt. Currently, she’s working on a techno-thriller that should be ready this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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