There are over 100 flying squadrons within the Air National Guard (ANG). Currently, the hiring process is handled independently by each individual squadron.
In contrast to seeking a UPT slot with the active duty, which requires applying to just the one selection board associated with your commissioning source, seeking a slot with the ANG might require applying to numerous squadron hiring boards. Each application process is slightly different than the others; the number of UPT slots, application deadlines, application requirements, and interview processes are generally similar, but each squadron is unique.
For example, some squadrons may restrict applications to only those who live in the state or in a bordering state, while others may restrict their selections to only those who are already enlisted in the ANG. The vast majority, however, welcome all qualified applicants. The point is this: each squadron is different.
The Typical ANG Hiring Process (From the Squadron’s Perspective):
1. Determine How Many UPT Slots Are Available
The number of UPT slots fluctuates for each squadron—it could be three hires one year and zero hires for the next two years. On average, most squadrons will have one UPT board per year and hire one or two candidates.
2. Determine the Application Requirements
A typical UPT application package will require:
- Cover letter
- AFOQT scores
- PCSM score
- Official college transcripts
- Copies of and civilian flight certificates and flight time
- Letters of recommendation
- Enlisted Performance Reports (EPRs) or Officer Performance Reports (OPRs) (if you’re already in the military)
3. Advertise the UPT Position and Application Deadline
How this step is conducted varies greatly from squadron to squadron. Some squadrons post openings on their wing’s website and others won’t post anything at all. Keeping track of who’s hiring and the different application deadlines can be one of the most frustrating parts of the ANG application process.
We at BogiDope are already working on innovative ways of simplifying this process for you in the future. Check out our Job Listing and Interactive Map for the most up-to-date UPT application deadlines.
4. Narrow the Field Down to 10-15 Finalist for an Interview
Some squadrons can receive over 100 applications for one UPT slot. Using the example from Part 1 of this series, the chance of getting selected for UPT in the active duty is roughly 1 in 9 (1,200 slots for 9,000 applicants). Your odds can be 1 in 100 (or more) at some ANG squadrons.
The number of applicants varies based on the squadron’s location, aircraft type, and the level of advertising. While some may have over 100 applicants for one slot, others may only get 20-30 applicants for two or three slots. So, your statistical competitiveness will fluctuate from squadron to squadron.
A couple pilots within the squadron will sort through the stack of application packages to narrow it down to roughly 10-15 finalists to interview.
5. Interview the 10-15 Finalists
Some squadrons may conduct a multi-day interview in which all of the finalists are invited to a casual “open house” on day one followed by a formal interview board on day two. Many squadrons will skip the open house and use the formal interview format only. The formal interview board will consist of 4-6 pilots varying in rank and background. Each interview will last about 45 minutes.
6. Selection of the “Primary” and “Alternate(s)”
If you are the primary selection, you will be sent to UPT after OTS. Prior to UPT, you’ll need to successfully complete an Air Force flying class one physical and a security background check.
If you are selected as an alternate, you are the backup in case the primary fails the flight physical or background check. If an additional slot were to become available, the alternate would take that slot as well.
7. Send to OTS, Followed by UPT
On average, ANG UPT candidates will start OTS 8 to 14 months after they are selected. UPT will start immediately following OTS.
The Air National Guard Commissioning Process
Officer Training School (OTS)
Preselected for UPT: Yes
Location: Maxwell AFB, Alabama
Duration: 8 weeks
Starting in late 2014, all active duty, ANG, and Reserve OTS cadets have been integrated (“total force”) into the same officer training classes. The only difference is that the seven day TFIT portion is optional to ANG members.
(Side Note: Before 2014, the ANG had a separate commissioning source called the Academy of Military Science [AMS] which was only six weeks. Don’t be surprised if many of the pilots in the squadron you visit are unaware of the recent change and still refer to ANG officer training as AMS.)
When evaluating the different paths to UPT, there are significant pros and cons of each. Are you willing to accept more uncertainty and a significantly higher military commitment upfront in exchange for a higher statistical shot of being selected for UPT? Or are you more interested in competing for a guaranteed UPT slot knowing that the opportunities are more limited and it may take several attempts until you’re selected?
Regardless of which path you think is right for you, there is still one glaring difference between the active duty and ANG; in the ANG, you have the ability to choose which airplane you will fly and where you will live before you ever start pilot training! For more information, read Air Force vs Air National Guard: Initial Aircraft/Location Assignment.