Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Should I go to the Air Force for physics?

  1. Dec 15, 2017 #1
    Alright so I'm a freshman in college studying physics with astronomy specialization. I want to eventually get a PhD and work for a space agency or maybe even become an astronaut. I've been told that having experience in the Air force looks much better when applying to work for a space agency. What I've been considering is to join the Air force and continue studying my degree there until I finish my bachelors there and then after I get out of the Air force continue to pursue my PhD. What do you guys think?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 15, 2017 #2

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    I think that the amount of "physics" you will do as a USAF junior officer is small, and that people who join the military for reasons other than for a desire to be in find it not to their liking.
  4. Dec 15, 2017 #3
    I recommend never joining any military branch unless you want to be in the military and not for application reasons. Some of my relatives did that some out of pressure since my family has a lot of soldiers in it others for other reasons and the only ones who made it through boot camp were the ones who truly wanted to be there.
  5. Dec 15, 2017 #4


    User Avatar
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    Consider Air Force ROTC. If you can work it out, you will get the Air Force to buy your Physics degree first, then its up to them to make the best use of your education. Often you can help steer your posts to NASA / Air Force joint ventures. After your 4-5 year obligation with the Air Force, you should have enough additional experience to have a edge over the majority of candidates. You may even be able to wrangle additional paid education from the Air Force while you are an officer.
    However, as an Air Force officer, your first obligation is to the Air Force. You will be at their mercy/generosity once you graduate for the term of your enlistment ROTC contract.
  6. Dec 15, 2017 #5
    Alright so if I join in a ROTC program what exactly happens? Would they transfer my all my current credits and I continue to finish school while enlisted in the Air Force? It's understandable that my first obligation would be to the airforce, but how would the schooling work? Would I work on the base and do school at the same time? I just don't want to talkk to a recruiter about this rn because I know they will say any bs and sugarcoat everything so I would join. I'm really trying to see if this is right for me. Thanks
  7. Dec 15, 2017 #6

    Dr. Courtney

    User Avatar
    Gold Member
    2018 Award

    Serving in the military is a calling. If you don't love this country and want t fight for it and bury the enemies of the US Constitution, then you won't have enough ganas when things get tough.

    Done right, the USAF can be a trememdous blessing to many service men and women. But you gotta join for what you can give, not for what you can get.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?