Air Force Security Forces Specialist Career

The primary responsibility of an Air Force Security Forces Specialist career (also known as Air Force Police) is to protect the personnel, resources and property of the U.S. Air Force.

Carrying out this work requires extensive training in such areas as law enforcement, criminal investigation, criminal procedures, as well as armed and unarmed defense. Air Force Security Forces Specialists work domestically and overseas. The work is physically demanding since it requires long hours standing and walking to maintain vigilance and perform needed patrols.

As an AF Security Forces Specialist your duties will be to:

  • Ensure the safety of all Air Force property, nuclear and conventional weapons, resources and base personnel.
  • Conduct investigations of all base incidents and criminal activity.
  • Secure crime scenes, collect, analyze and preserve all evidence.
  • Interview all witnesses and suspects of a crime or other incidents.
  • Arrest and detain those suspected of criminal activities and testify in any court proceedings.
  • Perform routine individual and group patrols, mounted and dismounted tactical drills, combat procedures, anti-terrorism duties, and military operations—both war and non-war related.
  • Operate communications equipment, base vehicles, and weapons systems.
  • Assist in medical emergencies by applying CPR, first aid and other life-saving procedures.
  • Report the presence of unauthorized personnel and activities to commanders.
  • Enforce rules and regulations regarding conduct, discipline, and adherence to military law and directives.
  • Administer breathalyzers and other tests for the presence of drug and alcohol.
  • Employ dog teams to support security operations and train dog handlers and working dogs.

Air Force Security Forces Specialist Job Requirements

The following are basic requirements for air force police jobs:

  • 20/20 vision or correctable to 20/20 along with normal color vision.
  • No evidence of emotional or mental disorder (comprehensive psychological batteries are administered to all candidates).
  • No criminal history or convictions in a civilian court, with ability to be licensed to bear firearms.
  • Eligible to obtain a security clearance.
  • No non-judicial punishment in the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) which resulted in either suspension, reduction in grade, or sentencing to custody for offenses related to drug use or sale, larceny, robbery, burglary, or type of criminal behavior, including misconduct in line of duty.
  • In excellent physical health able to withstand long periods of strenuous duty. Those persons who have had their spleen removed are not eligible to work in a military working dog program.
  • Knowledge of nuclear and conventional weapons, all rules and regulations pertaining to Security Forces activities, anti-terrorism measures, law enforcement procedures and investigations, military working dog operations, airbase defense systems and armaments and equipment.
  • New enlistees are not eligible to work with military dog teams or firing range instructors. Only those who have attained at least Senior Airman status (Grade E-4) and agree to reenlist are eligible to work in these specialties.

Air Force Security Forces Specialist Education & Training

The minimum education requirement is a high school diploma or general equivalency diploma (GED). Those who wish to work as Air Force Police must also pass a military entrance examination called the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB).

After enlisting and completing eight-and-a-half weeks of Basic Military Training, every newly enlisted airman will attend a technical training program based on their specialty. The program for Air Force Security Forces Specialist is based in Lackland Air Force Base in Texas and is 65 days in length.

Graduates are awarded a military police certificate in Criminal Justice with 17 college equivalency credits. You can transfer these credits toward coursework in the Community College of the Air Force. The college offers five majors and grants the associate in applied science degree (A.A.S.) upon successful completion of 64 credits in general studies and technical coursework. Majors offered include aircraft and missile maintenance, electronics and telecommunications, allied health, logistics and resources, and public and support services (which includes criminal justice).

Within the criminal justice program, core courses constitute 24 credits and include criminal law, criminal investigations, criminal law fundamentals of law enforcement, introduction to security, special weapons and tactics, weapons maintenance, along with an internship program and more. Full details are available on the Web site of the Community College of the Air Force.

Air Force Security Forces Specialist Salary

The following chart comes from the Air Force Web site and shows the base pay rate of enlisted personnel at various grade levels:

Chart reflects Basic Pay only and does not include bonuses, allowance, or other benefits.

RANK <2 Years Experience 4 Years Experience 6 Years Experience
Private (E1) $17,611**
Private (E2) $19,739 $19,739 $19,739
Private First Class(E3) $20,758 $23,400 $23,400
Specialist or Corporal (E4) $22,993 $26,770 $27,911
Sergeant (E5) $25,081 $29,380 $31,442
Staff Sergeant (E6) $27,374 $32,742 $34,088

* Based on 2011 pay tables.
** Pay for Private (E1) will be slightly lower for the first four months of service.

In addition to salary, enlisted members of the Air Force also receive an outstanding benefits package including comprehensive low-cost health care, life insurance, retirement plans, tuition assistance, and more.

Air Force Security Forces Specialist Career Opportunities

Newly enlisted members of the Air Force with a high school diploma and no work experience are given the rank of E-1 (Basic Airman). Those with some college education or work experience may enter at a higher rank (e.g. E-2). Airmen are promoted up the ranks based on job performance and any advanced education they may pursue.

Exceptional enlisted personnel may also be given the opportunity to attend Officer Candidate School (OCS) and become officers in the Air Force with responsibility for leading a command. Those not eligible for OCS may also attend an accredited undergraduate school outside of the Air Force and apply for Officer Status upon graduation.

Take a look at other great Careers in Criminal Justice.

Article written by Radek Gadek

Radek holds a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Boston University. He is currently doing consulting work and runs this blog to provide relevant information on criminal justice degrees, colleges and related careers.

10 comments… add one
  • Megan

    I used this to help me with my senior paper and to help me learn more about this career and it helped a lot! Thank you!

    • Radek Gadek

      You’re welcome :-)

      • Jason Jarrels

        this article has a lot of valuable information, but i was really looking for what physical abilities i need to have. for example, push up requirements, mile time requirements, etc…..

  • Ken Blevins

    Are you talking about the army because you have army ranks

  • Dustin

    Those ranks are off. It should look like this:
    E-1-Airman basic $17,892
    E-2-Airman $20,056
    E-3-Airman first class $21,089-$23,774
    E-4-Senior Airman $23,360-$28,357
    E-5-Staff Sergeant $25,481-$36,155
    E-6-Technical Sergeant $27,814-$43,078
    E-7-Master Sergeant $32,155-$57,791
    E-8-Senior Master Sergeant* $46,256-$64,674
    E-9-Chief Master Sergeant** $56,506-$87,732
    Each salary amount depends on the amount of years served.
    *To become an E-8 you need at least 8 years of service in the Air Force.
    **To become an E-9 you need at least 9 years of service in the Air Force.

  • E Parker

    are those monthly salaries?

    • Smorgan

      Your kidding right?? That’s yearly…

  • rebecca

    hi radek thank you so much for this helpful blog .. i currently have 48 college credits can i will i be able to enter as private first class E3?

    • Daniel

      if you join as enlisted you are E1 by default, but because you have 48 college credits you should have the opportunity to join as O1 Second Lieutenant the yearly salary ranges from $33,941 – $42,703.

  • SRS

    what enlistment rank could I join as with a B.S in Criminal Justice?

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