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Careers: Military--Army, Navy, Airforce, Marines, Coast Guard/What I need to score on the ASVAB for a Contracting Officer in the Air Force?

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Question
Hello Sir,

I am about to graduate college with a dual bachelors degree in management and human resource management in a few months. I am very interested in the Contracting Officer job in the Air Force, and was wondering what I would need to score in order to qualify for this job. Thank you in advance for your time!

Sincerely,

Philip

Answer
Philip,
The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (AFSVAB) is so sophisticated it knows better than you do as to which career field youíll be best at.  Note itís called a battery and not a test.  This is because itís not  a ďpass or failĒ test like youíre accustomed to in school.  Itís designed to show what career path youíre best suited for.  Thereís no way to ďfailĒ the battery, but you can score lower than a particular service will accept.   Each service  has itís own acceptable standards, with the Coast Guard requiring the highest score of  40, and the Army requiring the lowest at 31.  If you score less than 31 you probably have no useful skill  other than standing on a street corner begging for change.  The Air Force is second highest at 36.  So you can see why itís impossible to ďfail.Ē  Every Air Force recruit must score 36 or above to join the Air Force, regardless of whether theyĎre enlisted or officer, no matter the career path (contracting, etc.) they choose.  If youíve graduated college youíll have no problem with the ASVAB.  Itís impossible to study for the ASVAB but you can take practice exams on line at:  http://official-asvab.com/samples_app.htm

With  your education youíll want to be an officer, so donít let anyone talk you into enlisting.  Not only are the benefits greater, but  starting salary is about $1300 per month better for an officer.  Throughout most of your career an officerís pay is approximately double that  of an enlisted person.

After  basic training youíll have 9 weeks of tech school at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.

On the "outside", people who function as "contracting officers" for businesses often have law degrees. However, within the government (Air Force), you don't need it. The entry requirements that you do need (straight from the AFPC (Air Force Personnel Center) guide on entry requirements for the contracting "64P" AFSC (Air Force Specialty Code). (every job has a numerical designator.  Iím a 3C00, base commander.)
As a "contracting officer," you will likely be assigned to a base-level office where you will be entered into a work/training program for about two years. During these two years, you will learn the ropes of the career by actually doing the jobs that the  Airmen, NCOs and civilians perform as purchasing agents and contract administrators. You'll get a desk, a pencil and paper, and a phone.

On the "outside", people who function as "contracting officers" for businesses usually have law degrees.  However, within the government (Air Force), you don't. The entry requirements are that you DO need (straight from the AFPC guide on entry requirements for the contracting "64P" AFSC) are:

3. Specialty Qualifications:
3.1.  Knowledge.  Knowledge is mandatory of contracting process fundamentals, federal acquisition and contracting directives and publications, budgeting and funding procedures, and contract pricing.
3.2.  Education.  The following education is required for entry into this specialty: A baccalaureate degree with a minimum of 24 semester credit hours (or the equivalent) of study from an accredited institution of higher education in any of the following disciplines is mandatory:  accounting, business finance, law, contracts, purchasing economics, industrial management, marketing, quantitative methods, and organization and management.
3.3.  Training.  For award of AFSC 64P3, it is mandatory to complete a basic central system or operational level contracting officer course, and principles of contract pricing course, or completion of the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) Master of Science program in contracting management.
3.4.  Experience. for award of AFSC 64P3, a minimum of 12 months of experience in contracting assignments is mandatory.  Also, experience in functions such as determining applicable methods of contracting; developing invitations for bids and requests for proposals; evaluating bids and proposals; and awarding, administering, and terminating contracts.

So you can see, you'll have a lot to learn before becoming competent in the ways of air force contracting. You will attend a 5-week course shortly after your 60-days of leave where you will get the big-picture view of the career field, and then over the next two years, you will be sent to training courses (from 2-3 weeks long each) learning contract law, contract pricing, and contract administration.

After you are done with your training (about the time you make First Lieutenant, you will likely take over as a branch chief of one of the contracting areas (commodities, services and construction).

A few months after I took over my first job as base commander of an F-16 fighter base we had an F-16 crash.  One of my new responsibilities was on-scene.commander.  I setup my specialized  team (which included a contracting officer) at the crash site, around the clock for  the next  6  days.  I quickly found out what the contracting officer does.  He called somewhere and had a bunch of porta-potties delivered.
I mean who would of thought of such a basic need!  I didnít but I will again.  I learned a lot about what my people do for a living.

Typical workday?  7:30am-ish to 4:30pm-ish - Monday thru Friday - varies by office.
Deployments?  as with any AFSC, expect to deploy at least once in your first tour.  You will be going TDY (temporary duty)  more for training than anything else in your first couple of years.

3. Specialty Qualifications:
3.1.  Knowledge.  Knowledge is mandatory of contracting process fundamentals, federal acquisition and contracting directives and publications, budgeting and funding procedures, and contract pricing.
3.2.  Education.  The following education is required for entry into this specialty:  A baccalaureate degree with a minimum of 24 semester credit hours (or the equivalent) of study from an accredited institution of higher education in any of the following disciplines is mandatory: accounting, business finance, law, contracts, purchasing economics, industrial management, marketing, quantitative methods, and organization and management.
3.3.  Training.  For award of AFSC 64P3, it is mandatory to complete a basic central system or operational level contracting officer course, and principles of contract pricing course, or completion of the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) Master of Science program in contracting management.
3.4.  Experience. for award of AFSC 64P3, a minimum of 12 months of experience in contracting assignments is mandatory. Also, experience in functions such as determining applicable methods of contracting; developing invitations for bids and requests for proposals; evaluating bids and proposals; and awarding, administering, and terminating contracts.  (As much as we try to avoid it, we have a lot of cancelled contracts in the Air Force.

So you can see, you'll have a lot to learn before becoming competent in the ways of Air Force contracting.
You will attend a 5-week course shortly after your 60-days of leave where you will get the big-picture view of the career field, and then over the next two years, you will be sent to training courses (from 2-3 weeks long each) learning contract law, contract pricing, and contract administration.

After you are done with your training (about the time you make First Lieutenant), you will likely take over as a branch chief of one of the contracting areas (commodities, services and construction).  then  youíll get your own office, computer, and several civilians and enlisted people working for you

Careers: Military--Army, Navy, Airforce, Marines, Coast Guard

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MARK A. HOWELL

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All military questions, any Service. 30 years experience & two Ph.D.'s. 4 times Base Commander. Worked with Army, Navy, USMC, USCG and several foreign military units. Veteran of Kosovo, Bosnia, Macedonia, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, and 10 civil wars in Africa.

Experience

Air Force Colonel with 30 years experience. Air Force Base Commander 4 times. Highly decorated.

Organizations
Org of Am Historians, Wild West History Assoc., Disabled American Veterans - Life Member, Am Motorcyclist Assoc. - Life Member, North Am Hunt Club - Life Member, NWTF - Life Member

Publications
Numerous book reviews published in the Journal of American History. Two books submitted for publication. Co-Author of two more. Eisenhower memorial Library (interview with U.S. Presidential chaffeur

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. in military history, Columbus University (Summa Cum Laude) Ph.D. in history, London, England (Summa Cum Laude) Master of Arts degree in history, Marshall University, WV Bachelors degree, double-major in history and mathematics, Salem College, WV Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL

Awards and Honors
Legion of Merit, Defense MSM, 5 Meritous Service Medals,Joint Commendation Medal AF Commendation Medal Army Commendation Joint Achievement Medal AF Achievement Medal Outstanding Volunteer Medal Total of 33 Medals and 43 Ribbons

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