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 thanks to the number of jobs it has to hire every year.

From secretarial jobs to pilots and doctors: the best air force jobs allow you to work in your specialty without many differences between this and civilian life.

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

15. Intelligence Analyst

Average yearly income: $42,978 (Indeed)

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

In this role, you’ll be responsible for discovering and analyzing raw data and information: and then assessing what’s usable intelligence from many sources.

This job requires you to work digitally and in-field and involves assisting and advising commanders on mission planning.

As far as air force jobs go, this is an awesome entry-level one that doesn’t always get deployed, depending on what unit you’re in.

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There are many entry-level high paying retail jobs out there as well that could be a great option to start your career.

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 a huge opportunity for upwards momentum unlike any other.

Working at a startup is another great opportunity to gain experience and learning opportunities at an accelerated pace.

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

In addition, you’ll ensure the security of computer networks and the online communications of the Air Force, from programming to hardware.

Tactics for Success:

  • Having five years of experience before you go into this can nearly double your pay; if you have any experience, ensure that you list it.
  • Having a background in coding can also increase your pay; there are free lessons online; if you’re driven, you can complete a course within three months.

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, components, and related systems in this role.

This is a heavily detail-oriented position that can eventually get you boosted up to a logistics planner, which would give you a twelve thousand dollar raise.

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

12. Aircraft Loadmaster

Average yearly income: $52,718 

An exciting and dangerous job, working as an aircraft loadmaster means you’ll load and offload aircraft functions and perform whatever preflight and postflight preparations are necessary for your aircraft and aircraft systems.

In this role, you’ll provide for the safety and comfort of whatever troops and passengers are aboard and ensure that cargo, baggage, and mail all 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 forces specialize in law enforcement and combat arms to protect their fellow airmen around the clock.

Although their responsibilities are similar to civilian officers, including responding to emergencies and directing traffic when needed, their higher pay and more in-depth training come in handy when it comes to investigating crimes on base.

This role has been lacking in officers recently, and the Air Force is hiring for this more fervently than other roles on this list, meaning you may get a job far quicker. This is a great option if you’ve been asking yourself why you can’t find a job.

10. Flight Engineer

airplane-wing

Average yearly income: $58,879

It’s the responsibility of flight engineers to operate and inspect all of the mechanical systems of every aircraft on the base and in the air force itself.

This requires a dedicated amount of skill and attention to detail and isn’t for anyone who often finds themselves unsure or clumsy. Every aircraft is worth millions and carries human lives that can’t be replaced.

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

Trends on the Rise

The top 10% of flight engineers earn over $100,000 after five to ten years of experience. Unfortunately, this job is currently on the decline, so you must plan ahead and be competitive if going for it.

9. Public Affairs Officer

Average yearly income: $59,668 (Glassdoor)

If you’re good at diffusing the energy in a room and are skilled at handling conflict: a role as a public affairs officer will ensure that you can do the most possible for the Air Force.

This is also a great option if you require a job without using hands.

Using your diplomatic skills, you’ll educate the public while safeguarding the details of endeavors from foreign threats.

In this role, 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

Responsible for developing, evaluating, supervising, and monitoring all logistics within the Air Force, logistics planners are extremely technically minded and are able to multifunction like a computer can.

From planning wartime reserve material to getting plans together for expeditionary training, and creating agreements, you’ll have to know how to word things correctly, how to work with your fellow man, and how to complete projects in an extremely timely manner.

7. Paralegal

judge-1

Average yearly income: $70,121

Working as assistants to JAG officers, an Air Force paralegal works parallel to the role a civilian paralegal helps an attorney.

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 may feel the most civilian, but its high pay and a large amount of work flexibility ensures that you never feel underutilized or bored.

Tactics for Success:

  • Be prepared for long hours, and ensure that you can keep track of information both physically and in your memory to succeed at this job.
  • Lawyers will depend heavily on you, don’t give them any original copies, instead send copied documents, to ensure that nothing gets lost and you have a better chance at your case.

6. Financial Management Analyst

Average yearly income: $77,604 (Glassdoor)

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

This means processing payments, dispersing them, finding the exact amount of available funds, performing audits, and dozens of other financial duties.

A background in accounting is a must with this role, and it usually requires education, which the Air Force is very eager to cover.

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

Trends on the Rise

This is a role you can take off base: the average financial manager makes over $130,000, which means when you finish your time in the Air Force, a job will be waiting for you. 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 leaves you as 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 even train and lead flight crew.

This is an exciting role, but it’s also the riskiest. This is also the role that 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 manners of aircraft through all parts of their flights.

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, and many don’t last in it if they go into the role not knowing what to expect.

3. Health and Safety Manager

Average yearly income: $93,863

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

In this role, you may have to provide training or instruction in line with air force and department of defense protocols.

Still, this job generally changes every couple of years: so you must be aware of any changes 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!

From the incredible amount of detail needed to a medical background being necessary, you’ll have to take on a lot of responsibilities in this role.

From installing, repairing, inspecting, calibrating, and modifying biomedical support systems and equipment to advising staff on the equipment and theory, you’ll have to be clear in your instruction and steadfast in your understanding of everything at your fingertips.

1. Physician

Average yearly income: $148,210

A job that’s highly paying as well as a civilian, an Air Force physician has to take on a lot of physical and mental stress, and therefore is often one of the highest-paid employees on any given air force.

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

In this role you’ll discover, manage, and prevent the many physiological responses that come from being airborne or dealing with vertigo, and work hard to ensure airmen can stay airborne.

Wrapping Up

Whether you’re starting and trying to figure out a career without any education yet: or you’re just ready for a change in life, the Air Force can be a great option.

With everything from free education to travel and exciting new experiences many don’t get, this is a great paying option for many.

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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.