The Career

Pararescue - The Career

Pararescuemen (PJs) are United States Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) and Air Combat Command (ACC) operators tasked with recovery and medical treatment of personnel in humanitarian and combat environments, and have included NASA missions to recover astronaut recovery water landings.

Pararescuemen are attached to other Special Operations Forces teams from all branches of the services, to conduct special operations missions.

Of the roughly 200 Air Force Cross recipients, 24 are from the enlisted ranks, 12 of which are Pararescuemen. Pararescue is a career specialty within the elite, but little-known Air Force Special Operations community.  The Pararescue service, a long enlisted enclave, expanded to include Combat Rescue Officers early in the 21st century.

Saving Lives - That Others May Live

When a an Airman's life needs saving, the mission falls to Pararescue to bring them home.

As members of Air Force Special Operations, Pararescue (PJ) specialists rescue and recover downed aircrews from hostile or otherwise unreachable areas.

These experts, highly trained to perform recovery and rescue in any terrain, are in every phase of the mission, from search and rescue, to combat support, to providing emergency life saving medical treatment, ensuring that every rescue and humanitarian mission is a successful one.

Training and Education

The transformation from a recruit to a Pararescue Expert is a demanding one.  From hands-on-experience to college credit for a path to degree, the gauntlet begins here.

  • Basic Military Training - 7.5 weeks
  • Airman's Week - 1 week
  • Technical Training - 501 days (about 16 months)
  • Tech School Location - Lackland Air Force Base, TX
  • Status on Completion - Enlisted Airman with credits earned in Personnel Recovery

Qualifications Summary

  • Minimum Education:
    • High School Diploma
    • GED with 15 College Credits, or GED
  • ASVAB Requirement:  General

Entry Level Qualifications

  • Successful completion of the Pararescue physical ability and stamina test
  • Minimum score of 60 on PJ selection model completed in Tailored Adaptive Personality Assessment System
  • Physical qualification for aircrew, parachute and marine-diving duty
  • Qualification and proficiency as a static line and military freefall parachutist and as a military SCUBA diver
  • Certification from the National Registry for Emergency Medical Technicians
  • Completion of a current National Agency Check, Local Agency Checks and Credit
  • Completion of 7.5 weeks of Basic Military Training as well as Airmen’s Week
  • Must be between the ages of 17 and 39

Subjects and Skills

  • Emergency Management & Response
  • Intelligence
  • Special Operations
  • Health and Medicine
  • Health Technician and Specialist