Part-3 is the final part of this series entitled "How to Get an OTS Rated Slot." We hope this article series has helped you understand another path to achieving your aviation career goals. Remember there is no right way or easy solution to finding your path to the cockpit. If that is your dream, make every attempt to achieve it and make sure you know every possible path in order to achieve your goal.
As you can probably tell from Part 1 and Part 2, there are many very specific requirements that you must meet to become a rated officer. However, it may not necessarily be the end of the road if you don’t meet every single one. Waivers exist for a variety of issues – even medical ones. If you think you’re ineligible, don’t self-eliminate. Contact a recruiter and inquire about the possibility of a waiver. There are many success stories of rated officers who got to where they are today because of waivers. Read more about age waivers here.
Like many aspects of the military, things are subject to change without much warning. OTS selection boards are commonly delayed or even canceled. Even if the board convenes on time, it seems to be the norm right now for the results to be delayed for weeks or even months. The important thing is to focus on what’s in your control and refrain from stressing yourself out.
When the selection board meets, the board members do not actually choose which position each applicant is selected for and which applicants are non-selects. They score each applicant according to a wide variety of grading criteria (aptitude scores, education, leadership experience, etc.). These scores are tallied to create an overall composite ranking score. This information is then used by the Air Force Personnel Command (AFPC) to make selections based on projected manning needs. Typically, AFPC attempts to match each applicant to their first choice by sorting applicants by highest composite score and working down the list. If an applicant’s first choice position has already been filled for the board, they will be matched to their second choice, and so on. If none of the applicant’s choices are available, they are non-selected. In short, the better your composite ranking is, the better chance you have of getting selected for your top selection choices.
The following is a hypothetical example of how this ranking method is used to make selections:
- There are 2 Pilot slots, 2 CSO slots, 2 ABM slots, and 2 RPA Pilot slots allocated for this board.
- Applicants A and B have the highest composite rankings, so they are ranked #1 and #2, respectively. They both put Pilot as their first choice, so they are both selected with Pilot slots.
- Applicant C is ranked #3. He put Pilot as his first choice, but the Pilot slots have already been filled. His second choice is CSO, so he is selected with a CSO slot.
- Applicant D is ranked #4. He put Pilot as his first choice but nothing for his other choices. He is a non-select because both Pilot slots have already been filled.
- Applicant E is ranked #5. He put CSO as his first choice and is selected for the remaining CSO slot.
- Applicant F is ranked #6. He put Pilot as his first choice, CSO as his second choice, and ABM as his third choice. He is selected for an ABM slot because there are no remaining Pilot or CSO slots.
- This process continues until all slots have been filled. At this point, any remaining applicants are non-selects.
The work isn’t quite over once you’re notified of your selection. Your recruiter will be working with you closely over the coming months to make sure your post-selection requirements are fulfilled in a timely manner. If you are an age critical selectee, a lot of people behind the scenes will be doing everything in their power to make sure you can get everything squared away quickly so that you can make it to OTS within a reasonable timeframe. However, if you’re not age critical, the wait can last many months (or even a year or more).
You’ll need to complete your security clearance paperwork so that the Air Force and the federal government can begin the lengthy investigation process required for your Top Secret clearance. Shortly after that paperwork is submitted, you’ll be scheduled to visit MEPS again to swear into the Delayed Entry Program (DEP), sign your enlistment contract, and have the staff verify that you still meet weight standards. You will also need to conduct a comprehensive Initial Flying Class physical examination at the Flight Medicine clinic of a local Air Force base. At the time of this writing, the Total Force Indoctrination Training phase has been eliminated from Officer Training School and has been replaced with a Computer Based Training (CBT) module that must be completed prior to attending OTS. During your wait, you will be provided with instructions for creating an account and accomplishing the training. Eventually, you will receive a class letter which states which OTS class you have been assigned to and its start and end dates. Your recruiter will discuss travel plans with you and coordinate airfare if you choose not to drive to Maxwell AFB.
There are countless unique backgrounds among all potential OTS applicants and it’s obviously impossible to account for every possible variable in a single article. For more information, contact a line officer recruiter. If you’re the type of person who enjoys digging through pages and pages of regulations, you may be able to find information that is of interest to you in the primary recruiting procedures document, AFRSI 36-2001. For information related to medical standards, AFI 48-123 and its 2016 addendum may be helpful.
We hope you found this 3 part article helpful and it assists you in accomplishing your goal. Keep in mind that this is not the only avenue to obtaining a rated position in the Air Force. If you’re set on Active Duty and aren’t in college yet or you’ve only taken a few semesters, consider the perks of the Air Force Academy or Air Force ROTC. Enlisting in the Air Force, completing your bachelor’s degree, and applying for OTS as an Active Duty applicant is also a feasible option. And widely considered by many to be the most lucrative option is applying with an Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve unit, a topic which we write about a lot here at BogiDope. Put your heart and soul into your efforts and don’t give up if you’re not successful at first. Good luck!