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Enlisted Students Earn Advanced Degrees at AFIT

  • Published
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

In 2002, then Secretary of the Air Force, Dr. James Roche, championed an initiative to open Air Force Institute of Technology’s Graduate School of Engineering and Management to senior enlisted personnel.  Secretary Roche truly believed in the importance of the enlisted force to military achievements in science and technology. Two years later, eight Air Force and six Marine Corps senior NCOs received master’s degrees from AFIT. To date, more than 100 certificates, master’s, and doctoral degrees have been awarded to enlisted personnel. Just recently, AFIT alumnus Senior Master Sgt. Jason Russi was awarded a U.S. patent for work done while a graduate student at AFIT on "Stereoscopic 3-D Presentation for Air Traffic Control Digital Displays."

The Enlisted-to-AFIT program provides enhanced combat capability for diverse career fields with positions requiring a higher degree of education.

Master Sgt. Ronald Mitchell earned a master’s degree in materials science from AFIT in 2017.  He is currently working as a project engineer at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

Mitchell shared, “Almost immediately I began seeing the benefits of my advanced degree to the Air Force, to my career field and with the enlisted members I was stationed with. My leadership empowered me, my senior scientists supported me and my peers welcomed me.”

Master Sgt. Theodore Holliger, a current AFIT master’s student working towards a degree in logistics and supply chain management, stated, “AFIT teaches you to think critically. I don’t know where my education will take me, but I do know that no matter where I go, I will be prepared to offer solutions that are viable and defensible to leadership.”

Airmen interested in applying for the 18 to 24-month program must at least be selected for a promotion to technical sergeant with a minimum of eight years time in service, 24 months time on station, have completed their seven skill-level upgrade and possess a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university and a Community College of the Air Force degree. In addition to academic transcripts, applicants have to provide test scores from either the Graduate Record Examination or Graduate Management Admission Test, depending upon the specific degree-program requirements. Airmen will incur a three year active duty service commitment upon graduation.

Personnel apply to AFIT based on the Enlisted-to-AFIT Call for Nominations sent out in November each year. Selections are released in the spring.

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