By Lea Johnson
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Listen up, class. If it’s been awhile since you visited the education office, there are some changes happening all Airmen should know about. Pay attention; there may be a test.
The first change Airmen may notice is a change to the way Weighted Airmen Promotion System test dates are assigned.
According to Blaine Hales, education services chief, Airmen will now be able to sign up for a test date with just a few mouse clicks.
“It used to take an hour for (Airmen) to leave their work center, go to the (Military Personnel Flight), sign for their test and wait in line, sometimes 30 minutes to an hour. It will now take five or 10 seconds and they won’t even have to leave their work center,” Hales said.
The new process will start with the E-6 and E-7 test dates beginning in January and will continue with any Airman who is testing this year.
Hales said rather than having a selection of test dates to choose from, Airmen will randomly be assigned their test date. If there is an issue with the date, Airmen can contact the education office for a new date.
“The instructions will show up in their email. There will be an Adobe form and they digitally sign the form and send it back to our WAPS testing box,” Hales said. “It’s a few simple clicks on the computer instead of leaving the office.”
Another critical change Airmen should note is regarding tuition assistance.
According to Hales, the education office used to have a lot of flexibility to approve TA applications that were submitted late or after a class was completed.
“Now this is a centralized process at (Air Education and Training Command) for the entire Air Force,” Hales said.
For Airmen, this means if they miss the deadline to apply for TA, it is likely their request will not be approved and the tuition fees will come out of their own pocket.
“Airmen have 60 days prior to class start date to apply for TA and they need to make sure that happens,” Hales said. “There are very few exceptions.”
Any requests for after-the-fact TA, or TA after a class has been completed, will not be approved.
Airmen should also consider what they may have going on in their lives before signing up for classes.
Hales said, if for any reason an Airman fails a class, they are responsible for paying the government back the TA money.
“It’s critical for students to understand that this will come back on them because it will probably not be waived,” he said.
It may seem harsh, but the Air Force’s goal is to save money for TA so it can continue to remain a viable benefit for members.
The education center hosts a TA briefing at 2:30 p.m. every Thursday to answer questions.
The final change is an addition to the testing capabilities of the education center.
“Our test administrators are now certified to administer the Airframe and Powerplant test,” Hales said.
This is a big benefit to aircraft maintainers who would like to be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration. Previously, they would have to schedule a test date well in advance and travel to the testing location. Now, the test is offered on Peterson weekly.
For more information about education services, call 556-4065.