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Professional development is a career-long effort

COLUMBUS AFB, Miss. -- The enlisted corps is charged with continued professional development throughout their careers. Many enlisted Airmen tend to think that education, both on and off duty, is a stepping stone to secure the next promotion. Although it may be true that some ranks may have minimum educational requirements, the time to meet those requirements is not just when an Airman is eligible for promotion by time in grade. 

The most publicize educational accomplishment is the Community College of the Air Force degree, which is required for all Senior Noncommissioned Officers in order to receive a senior rater endorsement on an Enlisted Performance Evaluation. Many Airmen tend to miss that this is not only a requirement for receiving a stellar EPR, but also key to success throughout a career as an enlisted member of the Air Force. Short-sighted views of the requirements of a current EPR should not be the driving factor in pursuing educational opportunities. The following career progression information for Airman Basic to Technical Sergeant is compiled from the "Top Viewed: Career" link on the Air Force portal under "My EDP (Enlisted Development Plan)." Knowing and understanding the expectations for each grade throughout a career will put Airmen and Noncommissioned Officers on the right tract to success. 

As you progress through the ranks, focus on Professional Development or "Developing a Rock Solid Airman"; technical and leadership competency development. Below is an outline of different types of development strategies you should follow as you advance through your career. 

Airman Professional Development:
I. Complete First Term Airman Center (FTAC)
II. Professional Breadth:
A. Earn 5-Skill Level by completing Career Development Course (CDC), On-the-Job Training (OJT), and Upgrade training (UGT) (Education & Training menu)
B. Understand AFI 36-2618 -- Enlisted Force Structure
C. Understand/Apply Core Values - Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence In All We Do
D. Understand Core Competencies - Developing Airmen, Technology to Warfighting, And Integrating Operations (AF DD 1)
E. Understand AFI 36-2903 -- Dress and Personal Appearance (Visit AF Uniform Program)
F. Understand AFPD 36-29 -- Military Standards
G. Understand AFI 36-2909 -- Professional and Unprofessional Relationships
H. Understand AFI 36-2906 -- Personal Financial Responsibilities, Military Members (paragraph 7) (Visit Finance Central)
I. Work towards completing your Community College of the AF (CCAF) degree (Education & Training menu)
J. Read AFPAM 36-2241-- Professional Development Guide (PDG)

NCO Professional Development
I. Professional Breadth:
A. Complete 7-skill level Upgrade and/or professional certifications (Education & Training menu)
B. Comprehend/apply AFI 36-2618 -- Enlisted Force Structure, NCO Responsibilities
C. Read Air Force Doctrine 1 -- Basic AF Doctrine
-- Understand AF Core Competencies - Developing Airmen, Technology to Warfighting, Integrating Operations
D. Read Air Force Doctrine 1-1 - Leadership and Force Development
-- Understand AF Institutional Competencies -- Personal Leadership, Leading People/Teams, Leading the Institution
E. Complete CCAF degree and begin BA/BS degree (Education & Training menu)
F. Study AFPAM 36-2241-- Professional Development Guide (PDG)
G. Develop Language and Cultural Competency (New!) (also Computer Based Training under Education and Training menu)

Again, professional development is an on-going initiative. The Air Force has established a path to success for the enlisted corps. Whether Airmen agree with this career path or not, it is still the expectations by which all Airmen and NCOs will be evaluated. So, please take the time to visit the "my EDP" site to ensure a successful career as an enlisted Airmen.