What happens after tech school? This is a question anyone thinking about joining the Air Force would want to know. In tech school, you’ve learned the basics of your Air Force job and graduated to get your 3 level. Congrats you’re an apprentice and now ready to take the next step in your military career, go to your first duty station. There are a few options to consider before leaving tech school though.

After technical school you can either do the recruiter assistance program, also know as the RAP program, or go straight to your first duty station. You could also use what few leave days you have accumulated as well and take a vacation.

What Is The Recruiter Assistance Program?

The recruiter assistance program is a program where you go back home and work with your recruiter to assist in promoting the Air Force. Whether it’s assisting at the recruiting office, performing pt with people in DEP (delayed entry Program), or helping with school visits. After tech school, you can be in this program and back home for up to 12 days. These days are non-chargeable leave days, which is great. The Air Force even pays for a plane ticket to go home. The recruiter decides how much or how little you work. It could be a few hours a day, all day, or maybe only a few hours on certain days.

I went through the RAP program (recruiter assistance program) after I left tech school and it was great. I don’t want to say I got a 12 day vacation doing the program but I basically did. My recruiter had me put on my uniform and assist her only a hand full of days for a few hours each time. All the other days I spent with family and friends. I got paid the entire time too cause being in the military is like a salary job, not hourly.

The decision to participate in the recruiter assistance program needs to be made at least four weeks in advance of graduating tech school. Paperwork will have to be completed and your squadron commander needs to sign off and approve your program participation.

Who Should And Shouldn’t Do The RAP Program After Tech School?

It seems like a no-brainer with getting to go home you’re probably thinking, “why shouldn’t everyone do the recruiter assistance program?” For some airmen, the program can cause issues going to their first duty station. Everyone leaving tech school will have a RNLTD which means (return no later than date), everyone has to report to their base by this date. However getting stationed overseas means you’d have a port call date to travel to an overseas location also. The RAP program will not extend the port call date. Its possible airmen with overseas travel orders could have a scheduling conflict trying to do the recruiter assistance program. Those getting stationed stateside don’t have to worry about a second date and can easily do the RAP program.

  • Airmen getting stationed stateside (conus) can easily do the recruiter assistance program.
  • Airmen getting stationed overseas (oconus) might have a hard time doing the recruiter assistance program.

Using Leave Days After Tech School

Vacation days are called “leave” in the Air Force. All airmen collect roughly 5 days total in basic training. Each Air Force job has different tech school lengths, so every AFSC (Air Force Specialty Code) will finish with different amounts of leave days accumulated by the time they graduate. Leave accrues at a rate of 2.5 days per month and 60 days total can be carried over from year to year. Anything past 60 days becomes “use or lose” at the end of the fiscal year.

Leave can be combined with the recruiter assistance program to extend your stay at home for longer than 12 days. There is always the possibility your recruiter made you work throughout the entire RAP program. So extending time home could be done with leave, as long as it doesn’t push past your RNLTD (return no later than date).

Using leave days with the recruiter assistance program is not a requirement. Leave can be taken by itself, or not even used at all. The choice is yours to make.

Going Straight To Your First Duty Station

some airmen decide to go straight to their first assigned base after tech school. The Air Force books a commercial flight closest to your new base and you’re there before you know it. The main reason to do this is cause the Air Force pays for your means of transportation this way. If you did the recruiter assistance program expect to pay out of pocket for travel expenses going to your first base. Expenses can be reimbursed, but not until weeks later after the proper paperwork is filled out.

Many young airmen don’t come out of basic training and tech school with a lot of money. If that’s gonna be you consider taking the straight shot to a new duty assignment. Expect to get settled into the on-base hotel or for single airmen possibly a dorm room.

How To Move Your Personal Belongings

Moving belongings can be done two different ways depending on the situation. Having orders to pcs to a new Air Force base means you can do a PPM (personally procured move) also know as DITY move (do-it-yourself move), or have the military ship your belongings for you.

Me personally, I did a DITY move and actually made money from doing it. I left tech school and did the recruiters assistance program. After that I packed up my car with all my stuff and drove to good ole Shady J (Seymour Johnson Air Force Base). A few weeks after turning in my DITY move paperwork I got some extra money in the bank.

PPM – Doing a PPM (personally procured move) is an advantage to a lot of airmen. The military pays you to move your own stuff at the same rate it would take for them to move it. So if you happen to spend less money moving then you get to keep the difference. Packing things up into a car or u-haul is a common way for military members to move themselves. Typically single airmen wanting to have their car or airmen who already live relatively close to an assigned base with go this route. The only downside to a PPM or DITY Move is fronting the money out of pocket yourself. Expect to get reimbursed and then some though, you’ll probably make some money off it. In regards to the upfront cost to you, gas is one of the biggest expenses to think about. Be sure to have some money set aside for doing this.

Military Move – Having the Air Force move you means all of your belongings would be placed in a shipping container pod, transferred to base, and movers unload it for you. All paid for by the military, no out of pocket expenses on you. This process is pretty easy on your part but it can take some time for the pod to arrive on base. Usually, airmen that are getting stationed overseas or across the country have the Air Force move their possessions. Less of a headache when dealing with long distance moves.

Needed for PPM or DITY Move

  • Do recruiters assistance program or take leave to go home.
  • Pack your belongings.
  • Have money for upfront expenses – gas, u-haul, weight station.

Needed for Air Force to move you

  • Simply pack your belongings.

There is a lot less pre-planning when it comes to the Air Force taking care of the move. Besides packing up your belongings, it’s just putting in the request/paperwork to get everything started.

To Wrap It Up

What happens after tech school kinda depends on you. You could do the RAP program, load up your car and do a PPM, and head for base. Maybe you’ll be stationed overseas and wanna take some leave to pack up your house and have the military move your things for you. Or maybe your eager to get started and head straight from tech school to your first duty station. If you wanna know how to get stationed at the Air Force base you want check out 4 ways to get stationed at your desired Air Force base.

Corey Porter

Corey Porter

Air Force Veteran

Corey is an Air Force veteran and the lead writer at Basic to Blues. He refueled fighter jets as a young airman and deployed twice to the Middle East. Now Corey can be found hiking in the Pacific Northwest.

Who the hell… POL!

Pin It on Pinterest