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RCAF or College?


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Hey folks,

I'm currently 27 years old (28 in January), married, and have a mortgage in the Edmonton area (my wife works for the Provincial Government). I've been working in the fire & security industry for the past 6-7 years. I recently lost a job that really became a dream job (I was an auditor for a codes & standards organization), and it's kinda thrown my whole career into disarray. I'm back in the field as a technician again, but I'm ready to get out of this industry and find a new home.

Right out of high school, I worked at Edmonton International Airport for about three years, and actually applied to NAIT to get my AME, but fell on some bad luck when city council voted to close the downtown airport, and NAIT shut down all of their aviation courses. That led me to my current career field.

Aviation has always hung out in the back of my mind. I've even considered leaving my field to go back to working on the ramp for about a third of my current salary, but that would be pretty irresponsible for a married guy with a mortgage and a car.

The military was the most obvious fit for me right off the bat. My dad is former infantry, so I've grown up in a military family. I'm just not sure if the military will take me at this point. I'm close to 30, and I don't have a post-secondary education of any kind. I'm getting LASIK on Friday (originally booked it for an RCMP application, but I'm not certain that I'll pass their standards - I did some dumb stuff in my teens that I've heard can get you barred even if it was 10-15 years ago). I had a heart issue that was corrected when I was 16 (Wolff-Parkinson-Whyte Syndrome). I have mild athsma. Etc. I did recently lose about 63lbs, and am easily in the best shape of my life.

Set on the idea of returning to the aviation sector, I've also applied to schools in Dawson Creek, BC and Gander, NL for AME with an M specialization.

I'd love to get some opinions from people who have done it (or decided not to for their own reasons) as to whether I should seriously pursue the military option (a lot more doable due to the lack of a requirement to pad on 5-digit debt for an education), or if I should simply accept the offer I expect to get from one of these schools.

The idea of serving my country, wearing the uniform, and perhaps getting the opportunity to get a posting overseas some day is incredible to me, especially when I hear my dad's stories and look through his old photos, but at my age & with my living situation (I know enlisting in the Air Force virtually guarantees that I will need to sell my house - nearest RCAF base is 3 hours away), I'm not sure if it is practical. Any advice is appreciated!


Army.ca Veteran
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I’ve been an AVN for over 10 years with the majority of it being posted in “3 hours away”. Currently there are no postings for AVN overseas, that I know of, Germany was an option a while back on the AWACS but has since been cancelled.

The job itself is awesome and I found it very rewarding, along with the benefits, pension and so on. I joined straight out of high school and unlike college, didn’t incur any school debt so that’s one major advantage. I absolutely hated Cold Lake and personally think it’s a garbage dump, but the Wing, Squadorns and people you work with will become like family. Luckily AVNs aren’t limited to Cold Lake. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

Also, take into consideration your wife and her career as well. You might be posted in an area where she can’t find work in her field. The military doesn’t care about spousal employment despite what they say. Your trade is their number one priority so it’s a huge bonus if her work is transferable, that way she won’t be stuck at home unemployed. I see this happening more often than not.