The number of first-term airmen who can retrain into highly in-demand jobs will shrink in fiscal 2018, although the number of career fields they can switch to is set to expand slightly.
According to a chart provided Tuesday by the Air Force Personnel Center, eligible active-duty airmen in their first enlistment in 2018 will be able to retrain into 1,401 positions in 77 Air Force specialty codes. In fiscal 2017, 1,688 first-term airmen were able to retrain into 74 career fields.
The career fields taken off the list for retraining opportunities include 1A0X1 in-flight refueling, 1U0X1 remotely piloted aircraft sensor operator, 2M0X2 missile and space system maintenance, and 2M0X3 missile and space facilities. The Air Force is adding retraining opportunities for 20 airmen to become 1C551D command and control battle management operations weapons directors.
Other highly in-demand careers remaining on the list from last year include 1A111 flight engineer, 1B411 cyber warfare operations, 1T211 pararescue, 3P011 security forces, and 5J011 paralegals.
Personnel officials said, in a Tuesday news release, that the First Term Airman Retraining Program allows airmen, including staff and technical sergeants, to retrain into a new job that is facing a manning shortfall in conjunction with their re-enlistment.
The release said that some of the jobs with retraining opportunities include cyber, safety, flight engineer, command and control operations, and other career fields. Some jobs, such as cyber warfare operations, require prior qualifications, the release said, but most jobs are open to all airmen.
"Retraining is a great opportunity for airmen to pursue a different career field while enabling the Air Force to maintain a healthy balance in all enlisted career fields," Master Sgt. Kris Reece, enlisted retraining superintendent at AFPC, said in the release.
Retraining information is available on the myPerswebsite, according to the release. Airmen can also use the Air Force Work Interest Navigator, or AF-WIN, on myPers' retraining page, to find a new job they may be interested in by answering a series of questions. Reece said the AF-WIN tool compares an airman's interests to entry-level career fields and creates a customized list of potential jobs that may be a good fit for that airman.
The list of first-term retraining opportunities and career fields can be found
Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.