JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. --
You many have heard, ‘you are in charge of your own career.’
But, how many Reserve Citizen Airmen are actually taking the time to ensure they are accomplishing the required items to stay proficient for their current jobs; keeping up-to-date on training; looking at future opportunities; or checking off items required for promotion or advancement?
In my civilian career, I am a first responder. I work 12-hour shifts and have a rotating schedule, where I switch between day and night shifts. I’m married with three kids, all of whom keep my wife and I busy with extracurricular activities. And with COVID-19 adding a new complexity to life, it’s easy to find excuses to put things off--especially when it comes to things like professional military education.
For years, I put off the NCO Academy correspondence course, because of ‘more important’ things. In reality, it was I not prioritizing certain aspects of my career in the Air Force Reserve.
On several occasions, I enrolled in the NCO Distance Learning Course, but found that studying hundreds of pages of PDFs was difficult and did not align with my learning style. After starting and not finishing the course on two separate occasions, I began to consider carving out the time to attend NCO Academy in-residence. I felt there was no real option to get it done by correspondence. Still, the priority wasn’t there, and only I was to blame.
Fast-forward a couple years, and all of the sudden, I was now the NCO-in-charge, but not wearing the equivalent rank. I’ll be honest, I was disappointed in myself, as I had known what I needed to do, but had always put it off because of items that I considered ‘more important’.
When COVID-19 happened, I felt that it was going to get pushed even further. As everything began to trend virtually, it appeared that attending NCOA in-residence looked to be non-existent.
Then July 2020 happened. The Air Force launched the new NCO DLC 2.0 course and I saw it was set up differently than the previous correspondence courses. Set up more like an online college course, the NCO DLS 2.0 course was separated into four modules instead of three like the previous versions. They were further broken down into manageable sections, and better served more learning styles by providing written material, audio files, and videos. Coupled with quizzes at the end of each learning section, it allowed for a better whole-learning concept.
The timeline to finish the new course was shortened from one year to just four months, which I appreciated as it forced me to stay on top of studying for fear of being disenrolled again. With the new format, I felt it was easier to progress through the material, and the knowledge checks at the end of each section--it really reinforced learning for me.
But, the best part for me was the examination process. With the new program, you don’t have to schedule any exams through the education and training office. All of them can be done from your home computer, and you get the results upon completion. And once finished with one module, you can immediately move on to the next.
I buckled down and completed NCO DLC 2.0. Then I sewed on the new rank. No longer am I sitting in a position without wearing the equivalent rank.
There is no time like the present to accomplish PME, and with the new format for NCO DLC 2.0, it makes it easier than before to get it done. What are you waiting for?
For more information on the NCO DLC 2.0 and how to register, visit https://auportal.sso.cce.af.mil/SIS/app/.