Have you heard about this recent change that could increase your likelihood of moving up in rank? The Air Force will now make an officer’s educational credentials available to promotion central selection boards when considering promotions specifically for the ranks of major and lieutenant colonel. Prior to January 1st, 2023, such information was hidden from promotion boards. The change is expected to help the U.S. remain competitive militarily with other major powers such as Russia and China. 

Since bachelor’s degrees are already required for Air Force officers, the most valuable new educational credentials a promotion-minded officer like you can pursue is a graduate degree. Advanced degrees are not required and do not guarantee a promotion. But while an officer’s job performance remains the most important factor in a potential promotion, having a graduate degree can work in your favor by reflecting your willingness to go beyond the minimum requirements and build an advanced level of knowledge and skills. 

Many Degree Options to Suit Your Goals 

In announcing the policy change, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said, “Advanced degrees should be chosen to meet personal and professional goals” while still taking into consideration their value to the Department of the Air Force. Further, Kendall explained that “expertise and critical thinking skills are developed from many sources and experiences, including advanced academic degree programs.”  

When seeking a rewarding professional role in the public or private sector, you’ll find that a master’s degree may be required for advanced positions. Even when not required, however, having a respected graduate credential on your resume can set you apart from other job candidates. The University of Texas Permian Basin offers a variety of online master’s degrees that can help you develop important critical thinking and strategic thinking skills that may lead to advancement within the Air Force.  

UTPB currently offers these master’s degree programs online: 

Online Learning Is Ideal for Those Who Serve 

UTPB is situated in Odessa, Texas, but you can be stationed in any state or even overseas and still complete one of our online graduate degrees. We present our programs in a 100% online, 24/7 format that enables you to fit classwork around your Air Force duties, family responsibilities, and any time zone differences. No campus visits are required—though we’d love to see you here in Odessa for your graduation ceremony when you complete your master’s degree program! 

Help Paying Up to 100% of the Tuition Costs of Your Master’s Degree 

The Air Force will cover up to 100% of your tuition costs while on active duty. Details are provided here. To do our part in helping you achieve your professional, academic, and personal goals, UTPB honors a variety of military-specific education funding programs. We invite you to find out more through this helpful article, “Military Funding Options for Higher Education.” 

See how an online master’s degree from UT Permian Basin can expand your horizons!