How Long Is Training for the Air Force Reserve?

Basic training as an Air Force reservist lasts eight weeks.
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If you are thinking about joining the Air Force Reserve, then you may need to go through a training program. Most, but not all, reservists have to go through basic training. In some cases, you can skip basic training based on previous service or your occupation. Officer training is also an option for some recruits.

Basic Military Training

    Most reservists go through Basic Military Training (BMT) at the Air Force Reserve base in San Antonio, Texas. This lasts just over eight weeks. The orientation and first week cover the basics -- you'll get your assignments, clothing, equipment and weapons, and will have medical/dental checks before moving on to drills. In the following weeks you'll learn basic war skills, combat lifesaving, how to counter threats, combat preparation and airmanship. The eighth week is reserved for graduation and final preparation.

Reservists with Prior Service

    If you have served in the military before, then you may not need to go through Basic Military Training when you join the Air Force Reserve. This can apply if your earlier service was in another branch of the military, the National Guard or a different Reserve branch. Keep in mind that you need to meet the "40" rule to join the Reserve. To do this, subtract your years of previous duty from your age -- if the number is less than 40, then you may be eligible.

Commissioned Officers

    Some occupations get an automatic waiver from Basic Military Training. If you have a health care background and qualify to join the Biomedical Sciences, Dental, Medical, Medical Service or Nursing Corps, then you will enter as a commissioned officer and won't have to go through BMT. You must, however, complete a commissioned officer training program within 12 months of joining the Reserve. This is a shorter version of officer candidate training, which lasts for four weeks at the Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. This may also apply if you work in a legal or religious sector.

Officer Training

    In certain circumstances, you may be eligible for officer candidate training after you join the Reserves. For example, this is sometimes offered to general college graduates, AFROTC graduates and reservists with previous service experience. This training lasts for 12 weeks and is held at the Air Force's Officer Training School in Montgomery, Alabama.

BMT Tips

    If you have to go through Basic Military Training, then it is worth preparing in advance. You'll do the same training as people enlisting in the active Air Force -- there are no concessions for Reservists. The Air Force recommends that you start a healthy eating and fitness program before training, even if you think you are already quite fit, as the physical requirements are demanding. You may also want to pack for training according to the instructions given. If you take anything with you that has been listed as "inappropriate," it will be confiscated.

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