Your first step in the enlistment process is to meet with a recruiter.
Air Force recruiting offices can be found in all major U.S. cities. They’re listed in the phone book in the white pages, under “U.S. Government.”
The recruiter will conduct a “pre-screening” to see if (on the surface) you are qualified for enlistment. The recruiter will ask you about your education level, your criminal history, your age, your marital/dependency status, and your medical history. The recruiter will weigh you to ensure you meet Air Force accession weight standards. The recruiter will have you take a “mini-ASVAB” (Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery), on a computer, which gives a pretty good idea of how you will score on the actual test.
The medical pre-screen is sent to MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station), where it is reviewed by a doctor. The recruiter forwards the rest of the information to his/her bosses at the Recruiting Squadron. The review process will take a few days. If there are no obvious disqualifying factors, the recruiter arranges an appointment for you to go to MEPS. If there are disqualifying factors, the recruiter will speak with you about the possibility of waivers.
MEPS is where your real qualifications for joining the Air Force are determined. MEPS is not owned by the Air Force. In fact, it’s not owned by any of the branches. MEPS is a “joint-operation,” and is staffed by members of all the branches.
There are 65 MEPS, located across the U.S. Usually, the MEPS process takes two days. Depending on how far the nearest MEPS is from where you live, you may have to stay overnight in a contract hotel.
Unless you already have a valid Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) score, you’ll usually take the ASVAB on the afternoon you arrive. The next day, the real fun begins — and it’s a long, long day. Your day will start at about 5:30 AM, and you won’t finish until about 5:00 or 5:30 that evening.
Your day will include a urinalysis (drug test), medical exam, eye test, hearing test, strength test, security interview, weight check, body-fat measurement (if you exceed the weight on the published weight charts), security clearance interview, meeting with a job counselor, reviewing enlistment options and possible enlistment incentives, taking the enlistment oath, and signing the Delayed Enlistment Program (DEP) contract.