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AF COOL Program Explained

AF Cool Explained DODThe Air Force COOL program is a pathway for enlisted Airmen to earn industry recognized professional certifications and licenses. All related licensing fees, exam charges, and study preparation costs, including training, are covered by the Air Force COOL program.

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The Air Force Credentialing Opportunities On-Line, or AF COOL has a credential mapping for 642 professional certifications and licenses to support the 190 enlisted Air Force specialty codes. The credentials are at the national and state levels, and from industry. Funding will not exceed a maximum of $4,500 per lifetime per airman.

WHY GET CREDENTIALED?

Credentialing has two purposes. First, it continues to professionalize the enlisted force by providing up-to-date industry-recognized credentials in an airman’s AF job. Second, it provides a way for airmen to prepare for civilian life by ensuring that they are ready for work in the civilian sector. There are many aspects to credentialing including certifications and licenses.

What are the Requirements for AF COOL?

The first requirement for enlisted RegAF, ARES, and ANG component members is you have to be on Title 10 or Title 32.502(f) orders during the complete process. In addition, to utilize the Air Force Cool program you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Possess a 5 skill level in their Primary Air Force Specialty Code (PAFSC) that is associated to the assigned Control AFSC to which the credential is mapped.
  • Do not have an UIF, are not on a Control Roster and are current on their most recent Physical Fitness test at the time of application.
  • Have a profile in AFVEC with an approved credentialing goal.
  • Enlisted members must complete the entire credential while on active duty status and obtain supervisor approval.

HOW DO I APPLY?

To apply for the Air Force COOL program, click into the Air Force Virtual Education Center (AFVEC). Select Air Force COOL from the list of programs. If you are logged in to AFVEC you'll see a button for Air Force Cool that will bring you straight to the page as well.

If you meet the requirements, the first step is to search for approved, related credentials. Once you've chosen a credential that you want to pursue, you will need to create an educational goal.

While you're creating this process after your supervisor has approved your educational goal, you'll be able to go into AFVEC and start uploading your supporting documentation. It is the member's responsibility to do the research and find the information that they're wanting to pursue. The AF COOL program does not offer that for you directly. 

Popular af cool approved certification programs

To make researching AFSC related credentials easy, below is a list of popular AF COOL approved certification programs. NHDoD, a division of New Horizons Learning Group, has designed several certification programs that significantly leverage the $4500 of funding available. Because these programs offer more than just a single class and exam, Airmen are required to complete each exam before AF Cool will approve the next course in the sequence. 

Microsoft 365 Certified: Modern Desktop Administrator Associate

Program Inclusions - Courses, Practice Exams & Exam Vouchers for:

  • MD-100 Modern Desktop Administrator
  • MD-101 Managing Modern Desktops
Cyber Security Program for DoD8570 (IAT III, IAM II, IASAE I & 2, CSSP Analyst, Infrastructure Support, Incident Responder & Auditor)

Program Inclusions - Courses, Exam Prep Materials & Exam Fees for:

  • CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+)
  • CompTIA Cyber Security Analyst+ (CySA+)
Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) – Windows Server 2016

Program Inclusions - Courses, Practice Exams & Exam Vouchers for:

  • 20740 Installation, Storage, and Compute with Windows Server 2016 (5 days)
  • 20741 Networking with Windows Server 2016 (5 days)
  • 20742 Identity with Windows Server 2016 Course (5 days)
Cisco Certified Entry-level Network Technician (CCENT) and Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Route & Switch

Program Inclusions - Courses, Practice Exams & Exam Vouchers for:

  • Interconnecting Cisco® Networking Devices Part 1 v3.0
  • Interconnecting Cisco® Networking Devices Part 2 v3.0
Project Management Professional (PMP)® and Lean Six Sigma Green Belt

Program Inclusions - Courses, Exam Prep Materials & Exam Fees for:

  • Project Management Professional (PMP)® Certification Preparation
  • Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Boot Camp

Additional certification options available for:

  • EC-Council | Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH 312-50); Certified Chief Information Security Officer (C|CISO); Computer Hacking Forensics Investigator (CHFI); Certified Network Defender (CND)
  • (ISC)² | Chief Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP); Certified Authorization Professional (CAP); Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)
  • Microsoft | Azure Security Engineer Associate
  • Citrix | Certified Professional Networking (CCP-N)

Once you've chosen a certification program, your local NHDoD training expert can help you provide the necessary vendor documentation to be uploaded to AFVEC. 

How to Start a Funding Request for AF COOL?

When you log into the system and you see on the right hand side of your AFVEC screen under self-service actions, click "Start a Funding Request". If you can't find the exam center that you are looking for in the drop down menu, select the hyperlink for "Find Exam Center". Type in the first word of the location you are looking for. Leave the State as All and hit Search. Next, put in the testing window. You have 60 days before the system pings you and tells you that you need to create a funding request for your exam. You can also create your exam request and the same time you do your study material request. Just know that the exam funding request will give you 120 days that you'll be able to submit for in your window and study material gives you 60 days. So be sure to utilize all of that time frame.

AF COOL Approval Process

Once you've created a funding request for your AF COOL certification exam and study preparation it's going to go to your supervisor for approval. Once your supervisor approves, it comes to the CPO. If all the documentation is uploaded and good to go, and the right dates and the right goal are input and match your funding request, they will approve and send it to the purchasing agents. They will make the payment on your behalf. You will receive and email at each point of this. Do not proceed to a test or study material without receiving all three of the approval emails from supervisor, CPO, and purchasing agent.

Study and Take Exams

The final step is to study and take the exams. When you take AF COOL approved certification bootcamps with NHDoD you get Test Pass Assurance. In the event a candidate fails his/her first attempt on the corresponding certification exam, a candidate can earn a Free 2nd Shot exam. Read "What is NHDoD Bootcamp Training" for complete terms, conditions, and qualifications. The full Air Force COOL program details, application procedures, eligibility requirements and AFSC listings are located on the Air Force Virtual Education Center website or on the Air Force COOL website.

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Dan Curran

Dan Curran

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