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Education - take the time and go for it!

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- If you're like me, I was happy to have a bachelor's degree, and was completely satisfied and done with school. 

How wrong I was. It seemed the Air Force had other plans for me: Air Force Professional Military Education and technical training, which involved Squadron Officer School, Air Command and Staff College and undergraduate navigator training. Then came my commander's questions, "Have you started a master's degree?" which led to me to the understanding that my education is never over. 

Completing a master's degree seems like a distant goal after just graduating and becoming a second lieutenant or pursing a bachelor's degree after enlisting. Whether you're an officer or enlisted member, pursuing a higher education should become part of your career plans - military or civilian. 

I've heard the arguments, "The timing is just not right", "I'm deployed" or "I just want to have fun." They're good excuses, but not deal breakers. It seems we will look for any excuse to stay away from opening the books. I'm guilty of using all of the above. 

If you're asking yourself what my incentives are, take a look at your co-workers and see who's getting promoted or read your commander's and superintendant's biographies. Education has been a building block for Air Force leaders, a focal point in growing as Airmen, and highly encouraged to get to the next level. Money is usually a common incentive. After you separate from the Air Force, having a degree can improve your chances of getting a better-paying job and can give you a leg up on your competition seeking the same job. 

Take advantage of what the Air Force offers you: the Montgomery GI Bill or Post-9/11 GI Bill, tuition-assistance, scholarships, Community College of the Air Force, spousal support programs, commissioning programs and an education office with counselors. The Air Force paid for my master's degree. That money can now go toward my children's college funds. 

Talk to your peers, supervisors and commanders. Find out where your peers are going to school and get information about on-line courses and costs. Take the time to invest in your future - the Air Force and you will be better for it. Pick up the phone and call the education office at 987-3417 to set up an appointment.