A hidden gem of knowledge: Laughlin's Education Center Published Nov. 8, 2023 By Airman 1st Class Kailee Reynolds 47th Flying Training Public Affairs LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Education is the cornerstone of personal and professional growth, and the United States Air Force is dedicated to providing Airmen with the resources they need to be successful. Laughlin’s Education Center is a hub of learning excellence that provides a multitude of educational opportunities to military personnel, veterans, and their families, fostering a resilient, successful and cohesive operational Air Force by enabling service members to take full advantage of the educational benefits associated with military service. “One of the Air Force’s primary goals is to cultivate an environment for deliberate development, which can include the completion of advanced academic education in the form of an associate’s, bachelor’s, or a certificate,” said Craig Chapman, 47th Flying Training Wing education specialist. “This ensures our Airmen are equipped to think critically to solve problems, learn new skillsets, and maintain a competitive advantage.” There are multiple staff members in the Education Center with resources and knowledge to assist in making important life decisions. “Our education counselors guide our Airmen to help them start their educational journey and maximize their education benefits, including tuition assistance and the GI Bill,” said Christina Engel, 47th Flying Training Wing chief of education and training. Among the long list of benefits and opportunities offered by Laughlin’s Education Center, tuition and career counseling are one of the most significant. “We help all Airmen decide which program of study works best for them based on their educational goals and interests,” said Chapman. “Additionally, we provide information on Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) degrees and Skillbridge program opportunities and guide Airmen on the application processes for each.” “It is critical for Airmen to think ahead and determine what career path they would like to follow both while in the Air Force and after the Air Force, and which educational path will help them get there.” One unique opportunity offered to active-duty enlisted Airmen is the Air Force Credential Opportunities On-Line (AFCOOL). This program offers tuition assistance to Airmen looking for certifications. AFCOOL is a pathway to earning industry-recognized professional certifications and licenses to enhance their Air Force career and prepare them as they transition to the civilian job market. The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) and the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support Subject Standardized Tests (DSST) program also provide unique opportunities to excel. They afford students funding for college credit-granting tests for a wide range of courses. Funding is granted for one attempt per test. With very few limitations on education opportunities, Laughlin’s Education Center opens up a world of opportunities for its Airmen and their families; all that is required is for personnel to contact the office. “Your education center team is here to help assess your interests, determine your desired learning method, help you assess schooling options and utilize your education benefits to help you navigate to your goals,” said Engel. “We encourage you to contact us so we can help get you started!” The Education Center can be reached at (830) 298-5520 or firstname.lastname@example.org between 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday to ask questions, attend informative briefings, and start planning for the future. By providing the resources to make informed decisions and the opportunity to pursue educational goals for Airmen, veterans and their families, Laughlin’s Education Center is committed to empowering individuals to reach their full potential. As it continues to invest in knowledge and skill development, it reinforces the notion that education is not just a pathway to personal growth, but also a key factor in the success of the U.S. Air Force.