SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
Following graduation from basic military training and technical school, enlisted Airmen embark on a journey of upgrade training that begins with Career Development Courses.
Career Development Courses are volumes of take-home career field related educational materials that Airmen complete to advance from their initial skill level of “apprentice” to “journeyman.”
“Career Development Courses are important as they are a continuation from technical training,” said Staff Sgt. Joseph Basuil, 50th Mission Support Group education and training manager. “They provide further information on your career field and they help you better understand your job.”
CDCs come in sets that contain volumes. After receiving their CDCs from their training manager, Airmen are granted one month to study each assigned volume in a set before taking an end of course exam. Supervisors are tasked with ensuring Airmen are studying their coursework and helping them understand the material. From there, Airmen take an end-of-course exam to demonstrate proficiency.
“If an Airman fails their EOC, I meet with them and their supervisor to ask a series of questions,” Basuil said. “We’ll discuss study habits, test anxiety, supervisor involvement and so forth. I will also review their CDCs to ensure they actually studied them. During this time, I am basically building a failure package for their commander to review and provide feedback. Then we will ensure they are on mandatory study for 90 days and then they can re-test”
Conversely, Schriever has implemented a reward system for those who score a 90% or higher on their EOC. The Airman and their supervisor will receive a day pass from work, per 50th Space Wing commander policy.
“I’ve been enrolled in my CDCs since January,” said Airman 1st Class Ryan Serback, 21st Medical Squadron dental assistant. “They help you master your craft. They cover subjects from tech school that may have not been taught.”
The Schriever CDC testing center reopened May 26, after being closed since March. However, before taking the end of course exam, it’s important Airmen study for their test. Serback said he studies in a group with other people; however, there are many ways to study.
“There isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ solution to studying,” said Master Sgt. Kathryn North, 50th Space Wing career development advisor. “Everyone learns differently and what works for one Airman may not work for another. However, it is important to know what method of learning works best for the learner (i.e. visual, auditory or kinesthetic). It’s also important to find the right study space free from distractions. No matter how much someone thinks they can multi-task, it isn’t effective.”
North hosts a ‘Study Skills’ class that goes over studying methods and how to retain knowledge more effectively. Airmen can sign up for the class via the Schriever Professional Development sharepoint site. The next class is scheduled for June 19.
“It’s never too late to become better at studying,” North said. “Learning should continue throughout a lifetime, especially during a successful military career. Why not take opportunities to increase the efficiency of your studying and retain the information longer?”
Staff. Sgt. Lathaniel Leigh, 50th Space Wing religious affairs, just completed her EOC. Leigh said she studied by highlighting important information in her coursework with two different colors and then studying with flashcards she made.
“CDCs have helped me with the technical aspects of my job by covering areas I may not see on a day-to-day basis,” she said. “It’s a part of career progression. Education cannot be taken away, so you might as well put in the work and take what is yours.”