FRIENDSVILLE, Tenn. – With so many things impacted by COVID-19, the U.S. Air Force response included a suspended NCO academy and Airman leadership school for Airmen. Both courses are requirements for promotion to NCO and senior NCO, as well as provide essential knowledge for aspiring leaders.
Here’s the good news: they are available remotely now through virtual in-resident remote enlisted professional military education.
The Lankford EPME Center in East Tennessee – the Air Force’s largest provider of EPME – launched VIR-R this week. Other schoolhouses are offering similar versions. As things differ slightly amongst the components and schoolhouses, please refer to your force development office or unit training manager for specific guidance. Here are some anticipated Frequently Asked Questions regarding the requirements and eligibility for the Air National Guard’s Lankford EPME Center VIR-R courses.
Q: Am I eligible to attend VIR-R EPME?
A: All U.S. Air Force members (including active duty, ANG, and Air Force Reserve Command) holding the appropriate rank are eligible to attend either ALS or NCOA. To simplify this answer, if you are eligible to participate in in-residence PME, you are eligible to participate in VIR-R. As eligibility requirements differ slightly amongst all components, please refer to your force development office and unit training manager for specific guidance on eligibility.
Q: Do I get in-residence credit for VIR-R EPME?
A: Yes. All VIR-R students will receive in-residence credit for attending VIR-R EPME. Students will also earn the same amount of Community College of the Air Force credit hours as those students attending in-residence (six credit hours for ALS / five credit hours for NCOA).
Q: How long is the VIR-R EPME?
A: 20 academic days
Q: Can I still work at my fulltime job while attending VIR-R EPME?
A: No. As a student in our VIR-R classes, you will be placed on Title 10 orders directing you to a “TDY-In-Place” status, essentially making your attendance in the course your fulltime job.
Q: Do I need a computer and internet access to attend classes?
A: All students will need a reliable internet network and a device with a front-facing video camera capable of connecting online. A personal computer, laptop, tablet, or cell phone will suffice.
Q: What supplies do I need to complete assignments?
A: All assignments and associated reading are accomplished online via the Learning Management System. It is recommended to have some form of note-taking ability (either an electronic device or merely a notepad and writing instrument) during the reading and class discussion portions of the course.
Q: Do I need to wear my uniform during class hours at home?
A: Yes. While participating in the Video Teleconference (VTC) portion of the course, all students will be required to wear the U.S. Air Force utility uniform (either ABU or OCP).
Q: How is physical fitness accomplished for VIR-R? Do I need a current fitness assessment?
A: All physical fitness activities for both ALS and NCOA will be self-led. Due to the current deferment of fitness testing AF-wide, the physical assessment requirements have been temporarily omitted from the eligibility requirements for all prospective students.
Q: When will in-resident EPME return to the Lankford Center campus?
A: We hope to be back to normal, in-residence operations once there is an effective vaccine, and when our campus renovation project is complete.
Q: What is the best way to prepare for Day of Education (DOE) 1 of a VIR-R course?
A: Establish an account in Canvas (Learning Management System utilized in our EPME courses) two weeks before the class start date. This action can be accomplished by referencing the “How-To” guide provided to all prospective students by the Lankford Student Operations section. Also, for some students, Canvas accounts are created for them, and confirming that your DEERS information is up-to-date will ensure that any information auto-populated from that system is still current.
(Lankford EPME Center superintendents contributed to this article.)