Taking a step outside of their AFSC: Career Assistance Advisor
By Senior Airman Mackenzie Richardson, 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 09, 2017
FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Editor's Note: This feature is part two of a five-part series on Special Duties and the Developmental Special Duty program.
Whether arriving at their first duty station or nearing the end of their first enlistment, Airmen are required to receive face-to-face training with some of their base’s leading experts on all things Air Force.
These experts meet in forums such as Informed Decision Briefings, First Term Airman Center courses, NCO and senior NCO Professional Enhancement Seminars and various professional development courses that prepare and develop Airmen, young and old, about how to face everyday challenges.
One of these leading experts who provides advice, guidance and copious amounts of information regarding the Air Force, professional enhancement and career options is the Career Assistance Advisor.
Master Sgt. Lance Hasz, 92nd Force Support Squadron CAA, is one of less than 100 CAAs Air Force-wide. His position focuses on three vital aspects: customer service, regulated courses such as FTAC and professional development.
“My position is the central focal point for regulated professional development and the extra courses that help develop and educate our Airmen,” Hasz said. “I’m always looking for what I can do that’s different, better and more effective.”
Hasz calls it “changing Airmen’s trajectories,” helping them out where he can, doing the research, providing the advice and educating Airmen on the best career decisions for themselves and for their families.
“I have spoken with Airmen who are frustrated with their careers and want to know what avenues are available to them,” he said. “As we talk, I get to know them and help them develop a plan. I don’t make any of the decisions; I advise and provide the information needed.”
Prior to becoming a CAA, one must attend a two-week course at the Air Force Personnel Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, to learn about the position, network with CAAs from across the Air Force and learn how to assist Airmen in effective and efficient ways.
The CAA specialty is one of 1,175 Developmental Special Duty positions currently available. Applicants must be a master sergeant or senior master sergeant, have the ability to speak clearly and communicate well with others, superb counseling and briefing skills, a commander’s recommendation and a completed Community College of the Air Force degree.
“Special duties have a lot of benefits people don’t necessarily realize,” Hasz said. “By stepping outside your career field and gaining a new Air Force Specialty Code, it helps you identify blind spots, expand your skillset and makes you a more well-rounded individual.”
Gaining new skills, lessons and experiences through special duty positions make Airmen more lethal for the mission when they go back to their original career fields. It takes leaving and coming back with new perspectives to spark innovation, Hasz said.
“This special duty has taught me I can’t do it all, I’m not going to do it all and I will fail if I rely on only my own ideas,” Hasz said. “It has taught me to care and value people more and to continue to develop good habits.”
For more information on the Developmental Special Duty program or how to become a Career Assistant Advisor, visit http://www.afpc.af.mil/Developmental-Special-Duty/.