New CCAF degree

Discussion in 'Military-related education topics' started by Dr Rene, Aug 3, 2020.

  1. Dr Rene

    Dr Rene Member

  2. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    The schools for some of those specialties didn't produce enough college credit to be a viable basis for completing a CCAF degree, and alternative sources for such credit were not available. So it makes sense to have a "catch all" degree for people in those specialties.

    When I served, it was common knowledge that you needed to have a CCAF associate's degree to succeed on the promotion boards for the top two enlisted grades. (The other grades didn't have promotion boards in their selection processes.) This was true no matter what other degrees you had. You could hold a PhD but you better have that CCAF degree.

    I hold a CCAF degree I earned when I was still enlisted.

    As an education and training officer, I advocated for a "College of the Air Force" that would offer the bachelor's degree. Many Air Force technical training courses had upper-division credit recommendations from ACE--and the other requirements could be met as their are now at the associate's level. But I knew this would never fly at least, not back then before the invention of the World Wide Web and the myriad online degrees that sprang forth. There would, I hypothesized, be a flood of enlisted personnel wanting to be commissioned and, if thwarted, would decide to get out of the military and pursue more fulfilling careers elsewhere. This did not happen when the online degree floodgates opened--at least, not to problematic levels. But I once took my degree to the private sector (and the Air Force Reserve), and my son took his master's to the FBI. So there might be something to that.
    asianphd and Life Long Learning like this.
  3. Dr Rene

    Dr Rene Member

    I think that the CCAF is a huge benefit for today’s Airmen. When I was a squadron commander, I encouraged my enlisted troops to pursue their CCAF degree, and then pursue their bachelor’s degree. (There were always college and university programs available on base). I ensured the enlisted troops met with an education counselor at the Education Office as part of our squadron’s in-processing checklist. Throughout my career I had a few enlisted members not only complete their CCAF and bachelor degrees, but also get selected for OTS and then complete their graduate degrees at AFIT as an officer.

    As a junior officer, I also took advantage of the Education Office personnel. They proctored my SOS exams, Extension Course Institute exams from other correspondence courses, and even my GMAT.
  4. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    When I was an education specialist working in a base education office, I encouraged people to ignore CCAF unless the degree they were eligible to pursue was one that would advance their careers. If not, I encouraged, keep your eye on the ball. Pick up the CCAF degree if it becomes available, sure, but don't go out of your way to get it. (I got mine while in grad school when one of my MBA courses counted towards my CCAF and I met the degree requirements right before I was commissioned--at which point I would have been rendered ineligible to be awarded it.)

    CCAF had articulation agreements with some schools for their AAS in Engineering Technology. Other than that narrow example, transferring an AAS degree was usually done on a credit-by-credit basis, and many credits awarded or recognized by CCAF simply wouldn't transfer. That meant these associate degree grads did not transfer in with 2 years of credit. (A lot of it had to to with the award, which was an AAS, not an A.A. or A.S. The AAS was often seen as a vocational--not an academic-degree.)

    CCAF credits were also hard to transfer since they were awarded for technical training, training taught by technical instructors who did not have college degrees themselves. Some students would try to use the ACE guide credit recommendations instead, especially since CCAF didn't award upper division credit and some ACE recommendations contained them. This was hit-and-miss.

    The associate's degree is a weird one. (I don't even think of it is a degree as much as it is a consolation prize for not finishing a bachelor's.) It is not at all required in order to pursue a bachelor's degree; it can be bypassed. It is superfluous except for those who do not continue their education.

    As a junior enlisted person, I was one of the ones Dr Rene took advantage of. And I'm glad for it. The Air Force drew a pretty high caliber enlisted force. Higher education was and is a motivator for a lot of them. It's good to hear stories about commanders supporting their troops' education. As a commander, I (obviously) did the same.

    There are success stories with CCAF. But the program was and is a lot more hype than substance.
  5. Life Long Learning

    Life Long Learning Active Member

    AA and AS degrees may be of limited value, but many AAS trades degrees have 100% more value that 99% of BA/BS degrees. The Navy/Marines/USCH are now coping the CCAF.
    GTFLETCH likes this.
  6. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    By what measure, please? I'm looking forward to the specifics.
  7. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

  8. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Nothing in that article supports his contention regarding the value of an AAS degree compared to a bachelor's.

    CCAF--and, it appears, its progeny--doesn't educate military members to any real extent. It's designed to (a) recognize (and give college credit for) military technical training and (b) combine with civilian education done at 3rd-party schools to earn associate degrees in technical areas related to the service member's occupational specialty. Fine, I guess, especially for those who do not go on to a bachelor's degree. But for those who do, the associate's degree becomes pretty meaningless.

    I counseled people about CCAF as a major part of my military duties for 5 years when I was enlisted, and I spent a considerable time as an officer working in education and training. I'd like to think that experience informs my opinion.
  9. Life Long Learning

    Life Long Learning Active Member

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  10. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Anecdotes prove little. Unsupported anecdotes involving unnamed persons prove even less.

    The article you linked doesn't support your statement, either.

    Here's one from the government that belies your point:

    It says that associate degree holders make 71% of what bachelor's degree holders make. Obviously, there can be exceptions found, but exceptions are not the rule.

    As for your two examples, the average dental hygienist salary ranges from $84K (New York) down to $61K (North Carolina). Police officers range from $53K (New York) to $39K (North Carolina). The average bachelor's degree holder nationwide, irrespective of major or job, makes $61K. So your best examples of associate degree holders are near the median for bachelor's degree holders.

    Being a barista does not require a college degree, so that's not a good example.
  11. NorCal

    NorCal Active Member

    When I was in the AAS/AS/AA (whatever it was) option CCAF offered was difficult to transfer, at least in my AFSC is was. Not alot of colleges knew how to transfer courses titled weapons skills lab, ground combat, etc. When I transferred to a a community college, the counselor was like" I can give you PE or elective transfer credit?"

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