Most Air Force enlisted jobs and assignments require a security clearance. In order to obtain a security clearance, one must be a U.S. Citizen. You can still enlist without U.S. Citizenship, but your job choices and assignments will be limited to those which do not require a clearance.
Some Air Force jobs don’t require a clearance level, but — due to the nature of the job — still requires a favorable background check. These jobs require what the Air Force calls a “Sensitive Job Code” (SJC) of “F.”
Of course nobody can tell for 100 percent certain whether or not a security clearance will be approved, and the process can take several months. This is where the Security Interviewer comes in. He/she will ask you a whole bunch of questions about your past (drug use, alcohol use, mental health treatment, finances, criminal history, etc.), and is pretty good at making a prediction as to whether or not you’re a good candidate for security clearance/SJC approval. This, in turn will affect which Air Force enlisted jobs you are eligible for.
Selecting Your Job
The Air Force has two enlistment options: Guaranteed Job and Guaranteed Aptitude area. There are only enough guaranteed job slots made available to the Air Force Recruiting Service to accommodate about 40 percent of the recruits who enlist each year. Most enlist in a guaranteed aptitude area. The Air Force has four aptitude areas: General, Electronics, Mechanical, and Administrative. Various combinations of ASVAB scores make up line scores for each of these areas. Under the Guaranteed Aptitude Enlistment Option, one is guaranteed that they will be assigned to a job which falls into that aptitude area, but won’t find out what their actual job is, until the last week of basic training.
If you’re very lucky, you may be able to reserve a specific job at the time you meet with the Job Counselor at MEPS. More likely, however, there won’t be any available slots listed in the computer system. In that case, you’ll give the Job Counselor five (or so) choices. Usually, at least one of your listed preferences must be for an aptitude area, and the other preferences can be for specific jobs. You’ll then enlist in the Delayed Enlistment Program (DEP) and your preferences will be entered into the job computer system. When one of your choices becomes available, your recruiter will notify you of your job assignment and your shipping date.