Air Force Expands Enlistment Bonuses to Six New Career Fields

More future Airmen will be eligible for enlistment bonuses in fiscal 2022, as the Air Force expands its Initial Enlistment Bonus program to include more skillsets.

The expansion of the IEB includes six new Air Force Specialty Codes, with bonuses of $3,000 for four-year contracts and $6,000 for six-year contracts.

Specifically, the following Air Force Speciality Codes were added to the service’s list of hard-to-fill fields, the Air Force Recruiting Service told Air Force Magazine:

  • 2A534, Refuel/Bomber Aircraft Maintenance
  • 2A632, Aerospace Ground Equipment 
  • 2W031, Munitions Systems 
  • 2W131, Aircraft Armament Systems
  • 1D731R, Radio Frequency Transmission Systems 
  • 9TMAGE, Mechanical or Electrical Aptitude Area

More than a dozen different AFSCs are now included in the IEB program for 2022, ranging from special warfare operators to linguists to maintainers.

In addition, the service is offering bonuses ranging from $12,000 to $20,000 for four different career fields within cyber and IT, depending on the recruit’s highest level of certification.

The Air Force is also offering a new “Quick Ship” option, where an already fully-qualified applicant will get $8,000 to fill a short-notice Basic Military Training vacancy and ship out within five days or less.

“Quick Ship” will be available to recruits from April 11 to Sept. 30, 2022.

Enlistment bonuses are paid to recruits after they successfully complete the training specified in their contract and sign in at their first permanent duty station.

The expansion of bonuses available comes just a few months after Maj. Gen. Edward W. Thomas Jr., AFRS commander, told multiple media outlets that the Air Force is facing headwinds in recruiting, exacerbated by effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Back in September 2021, Thomas told reporters at AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference that while the entire department was on track to reach its recruiting goals in 2021, the “long-term trends are concerning,” pointing to recent studies showing propensity for military service reaching historic lows.

Meanwhile, Col. Jason Scott, chief of the operations division at AFRS, told Federal News Network in January that the service’s pipeline of “qualified and waiting” recruits—those who are waiting for a spot in a certain career field to open up—is about half of what it normally is. Such recruits would be prime candidates for the “Quick Ship” bonus.

The full list of speciality codes eligible for initial enlistment bonuses is as follows:

1A8X1Airborne Linguist  $20,000 N/A
1N3XXCrypto Linguist  $18,000N/A
1D731RRadio Frequency Transmission Systems  $6,000 $3,000 
1T0X1SERE  $40,000N/A
2A534Refuel/Bomber Aircraft Maintenance  $6,000 $3,000 
2A632Aerospace Ground Equipment  $6,000 $3,000 
2W031Munitions Systems  $6,000 $3,000   
2W131Aircraft Armament Systems $6,000$3,000
 3D0X2Cyber System Operations$12,000-$20,000  N/A
 3D0X3Cyber Surety$12,000-$20,000  N/A
 3D1X1Client Systems$12,000-$20,000 N/A
 3D1X2Cyber Transport Systems $12,000-$20,000  N/A
3E8X1EOD $50,000N/A
 9T500Special Warfare Operator Enlistment $50,000   N/A
 9TMAGEAny Mechanical or Electrical Aptitude Area $6,000   $3,000  
Source: USAF