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Career assistance advisors support Airmen in life-changing decisions

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Curtis L. Brown, 100th Force Support Squadron career assistance advisor, speaks with Staff Sgt. William E. Baynard, 100th Civil Engineer Squadron pavements and equipment craftsman, about career options at RAF Mildenhall, England, June 12, 2019. Brown counsels Airmen on retraining, reenlistment, separation, military benefits and commissioning opportunities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph M. Barron)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Curtis L. Brown, 100th Force Support Squadron career assistance advisor, speaks with Staff Sgt. William E. Baynard, 100th Civil Engineer Squadron pavements and equipment craftsman, about career options at RAF Mildenhall, England, June 12, 2019. Brown counsels Airmen on retraining, reenlistment, separation, military benefits and commissioning opportunities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph M. Barron)

RAF MILDENHALL, England --

Career assistance advisors serve an important role informing and guiding Airmen regarding career related decisions. They offer a valuable service to individuals who desire to change career paths or learn what resources and opportunities are open to them.

“The main purpose of a career advisor is to provide education and direction in aspects related to an Airman’s career. I’m able to combine information from myPers, Air Force Instructions and other online resources to provide support on such things as retraining, special duties, commissioning, benefits and transitioning to the Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve,” said Master Sgt. Curtis Brown, 100th Force Support Squadron career assistance advisor.

It can be hard if you don’t know what you don’t know. Career assistance advisors, however, can help combat this. They can bring to attention important information regarding deadlines and opportunities an individual may be eligible for based on their time in service. This is helpful because it can allow Airmen additional time to make decisions with greater knowledge of their options.

“I’ve learned many people don’t always know what’s available to them, and that can narrow down their options,” explained Brown. “If you know you’re interested in retraining, going the officer route, or putting an application in for a special duty assignment, I can alert you to the deadlines you need to know about.”

This advice from an outside but allied source can be especially beneficial to Airmen who serve in busy career fields where they may not have the time to invest in learning what career options are available to them.

“Within career fields that have a high operations tempo, one can get tunnel vision as to what opportunities and information are out there,” said Senior Airman Nathaniel Russell, 488th Intelligence Squadron airborne cryptologic language analyst. “During my visit with Master Sergeant Brown, I learned when I would need to start getting things rolling if I decided I wanted to retrain. Before my visit, I wasn’t aware that my retraining window hadn’t started. When I learned this, I felt pressure had been lifted off my shoulders.”

Career assistance advisors can also guide Airmen as they navigate the lists, documents and forms that are often associated with career changes. They can advise individuals what specifically they need to fill out and where the forms can be found.

“Many of the lists one needs to be aware of regarding retraining are dynamic and ever changing,” described Russell. “Master Sergeant Brown was able to point out when the list would be repopulated with jobs open for me to retrain into. He was like a treasure map, pointing out exactly where I needed to go at what time and what I would find there.”

Visiting the career assistance advisor can be beneficial because they can deliver specific advice unique to one’s career path. Advice appropriate for a six-year enlistee who is in a maintenance career field may not necessarily be relevant for an aircrew member in a four-year contract.

“I have a little bit of a different training pipeline than other people in my career field. Nevertheless, Sergeant Brown was still able to personalize my visit and get me all the information I needed,” Russell stated. “He has documentation that he uses to scope out each person’s individual situation.”

Whether one is serious about making a career change or simply interested in exploring what’s available, the career assistance advisor can offer beneficial guidance no matter one’s situation.

“I love helping and serving people,” Brown said. “My favorite aspect of my job is working with Airmen and providing them the tools they need to succeed in making career related decisions.”