51 USAF Job Specialties Qualify for up to $100k Bonuses—What You Need to Know

More than 50 Air Force specialties—from bomber maintenance to cryptologic language analyst to dental hygienist—are eligible for retention bonuses worth up to $100,000 this year, down from 63 last fiscal year.  

The Air Force’s Selective Retention Bonus program offers extra pay to Airmen whose skills are in short supply. The numbers change annually. In 2021, as retention spiked amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, only 37 Air Force Specialty Codes were eligible, down from 72 in fiscal 2020, and 115 in 2019. The number bounced up last year.  

For this fiscal year, the 51 specialities eligible include some that are perennially undermanned, like Explosive Ordinance Disposal, Survival, Evasion, Resist, and Escape (SERE), and pararescue. Also in short supply: Analysts who speak Russian, Chinese, or Persian; maintainers for the KC-46 and B-52; cyber specialists; and a dozen medical specialties, ranging from mental health services to diagnostic imaging. 

New to the bonus list are loadmasters for the HC-130J and MC-130J. 

Among those not eligible any longer are 12 Space Force specialty codes.

The formula for bonus calculations is a service member’s monthly basic pay at the time of reenlistment multiplied by the length of the reenlistment in years (capped at six) and multiplied again by a factor, which varies depending on the service’s specific needs. Urgency and a member’s experience level can both influence that number. Experience level is referred to as a zone.

The maximum bonus is $100,000, with a lifetime cap of $360,000.  

The full list of AFSCs and corresponding career fields is as follows: 

1A2X1Q Aircraft loadmaster – HC-130J 
1A2X1Z Aircraft loadmaster – MC-130J 
1A8X1G Airborne Cryptologic Language Analyst – Chinese 
1A8X1I Airborne Cryptologic Language Analyst – Russian 
1A8X1K Airborne Cryptologic Language Analyst – Persian 
1B4X1 Cyber Warfare Operations 4.5 
1C3X1 Command and Control Operations (C2 OPS) 1.5 
1C5X1 Command and Control Battle Management Ops 
1C5X1D Weapons Directors 
1D7X1B Cyber Defense –  Systems Operations 
1D7X1D Cyber Defense –  Security Operations 
1D7X1Z Cyber Defense –  Software Development Operations 4.5 
1D7X2F Spectrum Defense Operations – Spectrum Operations 
1N3X1G Cryptologic Language Analyst – Chinese 
1N3X1I Cryptologic Language Analyst – Russian 
1N3X1K Cryptologic Language Analyst – Persian 2.5 
1N4X1A Cyber Intelligence – Analyst 
1N8X1 Targeting Analyst 
1T0X1 Special Warfare – SERE specialist 4.5 
1Z1X1 Pararescue 4.5 
1Z2X1 Combat control 4.5 
1Z3X1 TACP 4.5 
1Z4X1 Special Reconnaissance 4.5 
2A375 Advanced Fighter Aircraft Integrated Avionics 
2A377 Tactical Aircraft Maintenance – 5th Generation 
2A378 Remotely Piloted Aircraft Maintenance 
2A3X5B Advanced Fighter Aircraft Integrated Avionics – F-35 1.5 
2A5X1A Airlift/Special Mission Aircraft Maintenance – C-20/C-21/C-22/C-37/C-40/E-4/VC25B/C-130/C-27J 
2A5X4C Refuel/Bomber Aircraft Maintenance – KC-46 
2A5X4D Refuel/Bomber Aircraft Maintenance – B-52 0.5 0.5 
2A5X4F Refuel/Bomber Aircraft Maintenance – B-2 
2M0X0 Missile and Space Systems Maintenance 
2M0X2 Missile and Space Systems Maintenance 
2W2X1 Nuclear Weapons 
3E5X1 Engineering 
3E8X1 Explosive Ordinance Disposal 4.5 
3P0X1A Military Working Dog Handler 0.5 
3P0X1B Combat Arms Training and Maintenance 
4C0X1 Mental Health Service 
4H0X1 Respiratory Care Practitioner 0.5 0.5 
4J0X2A Orthotics 
4N0X1C Aerospace Medical Service – Independent Duty Medical Technician 0.5 
4N0X1D Allergy/Immunization Medical Technician 
4N0X1F Flight and Operational Medical Technician 0.5 
4N1X1C Surgical Service – Orthopedics 
4N1X1D Surgical Service – Otolaryngology 
4P0X1 Pharmacy 0.5 
4R0X1A Diagnostic Imaging – Nuclear medicine 
4R0X1C Diagnostic Imaging – MRI 
4V0X1S Ophthalmic 
4Y0X1H Dental hygienist 
USAF list