Hi, I’m Erin Bowers, and I have been a public affairs specialist for a year and a half. I enjoy photography and talking to people, so being a PA is a lot of photography and been a lot of talking to people, with a few other jobs mixed in there, but mainly for the photography. So when I was going into PA, I had to take a voice audition, a typing test, and the Asvab. The first time I took the Asvab, I scored a 69. But at the time, you needed to score at least a 72 to get to pass it, so I had to retake it and ended up with an 85. Um, my tech school was six months, which sounds like a long time. It’s really not. It goes by really quickly. Everyone’s always surprised to find out that PA is six months, but it feels like three, if that. The tech school is very fast paced, at least it was for me. You spend an allotted amount of time on each of the skills that you’ll either learn or that you’ll use when you go into the active air force. So two weeks on writing, two weeks on photo, three days on graphics, two weeks on video.

Kind of depends on who your instructors are. But for me, six months of very fast paced learning, which was very difficult at times, but overall, it was a pretty pleasant experience.


Where I’m stationed, we work the typical 730 to 430 with allotted time for PT throughout the week. So PA entails more than people think that it does. There’s photo, video, graphics, media relations, community outreach, crisis communication, alert documentation, and those are just the main jobs. But the role that I play in my shop is mainly photography. So going out on shoots, taking pictures, posting them to our social medias, captioning them from time to time, writing an article, and from time to time, making reels for Instagram. For me, personally, I would say the biggest difficulty with public affairs is creative burnout. The job isn’t so much physically demanding as it is mentally demanding, so very mentally taxing. I love photography. Getting to go out this past week, we did an underwater training with our seer guys, and I got to go in the water underwater and watch it happen and take pictures and video the whole time. So, Pa, you get to experience everybody else’s job, not only from the outside, sometimes from the inside as well. So getting to be with all these different squadrons and all these different afscs, if you don’t know what you want to do, Pa is the best job to do because you get to hang out with all of them and see the inner workings of their job and take pictures of it.

So to be MPA, you very obviously have to be creative, definitely smart, and open to constructive criticism, as well as particularly extroverted. There’s a lot of talking to people in public affairs. It is all talking to people and setting up shoots and setting up this and setting up that. So extroverted, or at the very least, a people person or someone who is just very personable.


I do plan on staying in 20 years. I want to own my own photography business after I get out, and Pa is the perfect way to give me those skills. To set up for that business, as well as retiring out of the military will give you the additional money that you need to start your own business.


So if you are into photography or video or writing or graphics, this job probably for you, though, keep in mind you will have to do the other aspects of the job. I love photography. Not a fan of video, but it’s my job, so I have to learn it and I have to do it as best I can. And that’s really all you can do. Bye.

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