15 Best Air Force Jobs: Highest Paying & In Demand

by Erin Schollaert

Updated

The Air Force is one of the top hiring entities in the USA, largely due to the number of jobs it creates every year.

From secretarial jobs to pilots, the best air force jobs allow you to work in your specialty with fantastic benefits.

These are some of the highest paying jobs in the Air Force, and why they’re fantastic opportunities for those beginning their careers!

15. Intelligence Analyst

Average yearly income: $42,978 (Indeed)

Although this is the lowest paying job on the list, it’s one of the most exciting.

In this role, you’ll be responsible for discovering and analyzing raw data, and then explaining what it means to the wider team.

This job requires you to assist and advise commanders on mission planning as well.

As far as Air Force jobs go, this is a great entry-level one that doesn’t always get deployed, depending on the unit you’re in.

14. Security Engineer

fence

Average yearly income: $48,379 

This might not be one of the coolest jobs in the Air Force, but it gives you plenty of opportunities for upward momentum, similar to working for a startup.

As a security engineer, you’ll be responsible for detecting, preventing, and repelling cyber-attacks.

In addition, you’ll monitor computer network and online communication security within the Air Force.

Tactics for Success:

Having five years of related experience before going into this role can nearly double your pay. Therefore, if you have related experience, make sure to list it. 

13. Tactical Aircraft Maintenance

Average yearly income: $48,740 (Glassdoor)

In tactical aircraft maintenance, you’ll supervise and perform aircraft jacking, lifting, and towing operations.

You’ll also have to inspect aircraft structures, engines, systems, and components.

This is a detail-oriented role that can eventually lead to logistics positions, which will bump your pay.

Although no education is necessary for this role, some previous experience is expected.

12. Aircraft Loadmaster

Average yearly income: $52,718 

As an aircraft loadmaster, you’ll help load and unload aircraft, and perform preflight and postflight preparations.

In addition, aircraft loadmasters ensure the safety and comfort of all passengers, and make sure that cargo, baggage, and mail make it on and off of the aircraft safely.

11. Security Force Officer

Average yearly income: $56,711 (Indeed)

Sometimes called an Air Force cop, security force officers specialize in law enforcement and combat arms to protect fellow airmen while on duty.

This role has been lacking in officers recently. As such, the Air Force is hiring more fervently for these positions, meaning you may get a job faster.

10. Flight Engineer

airplane-wing

Average yearly income: $58,879

It’s the responsibility of flight engineers to operate and inspect all mechanical systems of Air Force aircrafts.

This role is critical in the Air Force considering aircraft are worth millions and carry human lives that can’t be replaced.

So it’s vital that if you do this job, you do it well so those who are flying get back safely.

Trends on the Rise

The top 10% of flight engineers earn over $100,000 after five to ten years of experience. 

9. Public Affairs Officer

Average yearly income: $59,668 (Glassdoor)

If you’re a people person and skilled at handling conflict, a public affairs officer might be for you.

With your diplomatic skills, you’ll educate the public while safeguarding critical details from foreign threats.

You may also have to disclose highly impactful information on occasion, so you have to be able to perform well under stress, and understand that your job reaches beyond you.

8. Logistics Planner

Average yearly income: $60,000

Logistics planners are responsible for developing, evaluating, and monitoring all logistics within the Air Force.

These professionals are extremely technically minded, and skilled multitaskers.

7. Paralegal

judge-1

Average yearly income: $70,121

Working as assistants to JAG officers, an Air Force paralegal is fairly similar to civilian paralegals.

From the large scope of legal duties, to performing research and preparing claims, an Air Force paralegal can also work as a notary public when the need arises.

This role probably feels the most civilian, but its high pay and large amount of work flexibility ensures you never feel underutilized.

6. Financial Management Analyst

Average yearly income: $77,604 (Glassdoor)

As a financial management analyst, you’ll manage the accounting systems and records of the Air Force.

This means processing payments, performing audits, and dozens of other financial duties.

A background in accounting is a must with this role. It usually requires additional education as well, which the Air Force is happy to cover.

This role doesn’t get deployed outside of the states, but you may have to relocate domestically, which is important to keep in mind if you have family.

Trends on the Rise

The demand for this role is growing by 17% nationally every year, including in the armed forces.

5. Pilots

Average yearly income: $85,103

This is the most obvious role in the Air Force, and makes you the star of the show.

As an Air Force pilot, you’ll fly aircraft ranging from bombers, fighter jets, transport planes, tankers, and even unmanned aerial vehicles for the US military.

You’ll have to master your aviation skills, work under flight operations from transportation to combat missions, and lead the flight crew.

This is an exciting role, but it also gets deployed most often.

4. Air Traffic Control

Average yearly income: $85,630 (Indeed)

Air traffic control for the Air Force is almost exactly the same as the role in civilian lives, but the pay is better. In this role, you’ll manage the flow of all aircraft.

As an Air Force air traffic control specialist, you’ll need to ensure the safety and efficiency of air traffic, both airborne and on the ground.

This can be a high-stress job, so make sure you are prepared for that environment.

3. Health and Safety Manager

Average yearly income: $93,863

As a health and safety manager, your main focus will be on planning, directing, and controlling safety activities as directed by Air Force superior officers.

In this position, you may also have to provide training or instruction in line with Air Force protocols.

This job generally changes every few years, so you must be aware of new safety procedures within the Air Force at all times.

2. Biomedical Equipment Technician

Average yearly income: $96,373

Working as a BMET is the second highest-paying job on this list for a reason!

This role requires both a technical and medical background.  

Some of the responsibilities in this role include: installing and modifying biomedical support equipment, and advising staff on the tools and how to use them.

1. Physician

Average yearly income: $148,210

An Air Force physician shoulders a lot of physical and mental stress, and therefore is often one of the highest-paid employees on any given unit.

You’ll need to be a medical doctor, which already requires around ten years of education.

In this role you’ll discover, manage, and prevent physiological responses that occur from being airborne, and work hard to ensure troops can stay airborne.

Wrapping Up

Whether you’re trying to figure out your first career, or simply ready for a career change, the Air Force can be a great option.

About the Author

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Erin is a business teacher and mother of three. When she’s not in the classroom or fulfilling her obligations as an A+ hockey and lacrosse mom, she’s working on her latest article.