Understanding the steps Is Critical.

The United States Air Force Academy is a competitive environment. Just applying to the Academy requires focus and determination. Here, learn each step of the process and the requirements you must meet to compete for appointment.

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Medical Evaluation

All candidates admitted to the United States Air Force Academy must meet the medical and weight standards for a commission in the United States Air Force. If you do not meet these standards as an applicant, you will be disqualified unless provided a medical waiver.

Medical standards must also be maintained throughout your time at the Academy. If you are appointed to the Academy and do not maintain the standards as a cadet, you may be disenrolled. 

Take care to make all scheduled examination dates to ensure your application will be completed by required deadlines. You should know that it can take up to 30 days to schedule your initial medical evaluation, 60 days for completion and possibly another 30 days for a medical waiver if required. This can result in up to a 4-month process for candidates. 

Applicants should become familiar with the evaluation process and standards to ensure complete and competitive application to the Academy.


Medical Examination

The Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board (DODMERB) is responsible for determining the medical qualification of Academy applicants. All academies and commissioning sources use one general standardized examination to determine medical qualifications. You will take your examination at one of the designated examining centers located throughout the United States — and at some overseas bases — on or after June 1 of the year preceding your year of admission.

You must complete three of the following five application steps BEFORE your name will be forwarded to DODMERB to schedule your examination. For more detail on item 1 below, see the Fitness Assessment admissions factor. For more detail on items 2 – 5 below, see the Character Assessment admissions factor.

  1. Candidate Fitness Assessment (USAFA Form 158)
  2. Candidate Personal Data Record (USAFA Form 146)
  3. Candidate Activities Record (USAFA Form 147)
  4. Teacher Evaluations (USAFA Form 145)
  5. Writing Sample (USAFA Form 0-878)

Once you have completed three of the five items we will forward your name to DODMERB and you will receive specific scheduling instructions. The examination center will be as near to your home as possible based on availability within your ZIP Code. Scheduling an initial exam can take up to 30 days.

Applicants should visit the DODMERB website directly at https://dodmerb.tricare.osd.mil/FAQs.aspx for answers to frequently asked questions and to obtain further information.

Note that prior candidates who are reapplying must retake portions of the medical examination. Also note that the flying class examination will be performed during your junior year at the Academy, and will encompass more in-depth testing than is done during the DODMERB physical exam.

Preparing for Your Medical Examination

You must be prepared for your medical examination appointment. If you do not follow appropriate guidelines, your examination will be invalid and must be rescheduled.

  • Hard contacts must be removed 21 days prior to taking your medical exam and soft contacts must be removed three days prior.
  • You cannot be undergoing active orthodontic treatment when you enter the Academy.
  • Provide medical records or documentation concerning major surgeries, illnesses and injuries at the time of your medical examination.
  • Use good judgment when listing medical problems. Do not self-diagnose a problem. List the full circumstances, treatment received and age during each episode.

Candidates who withhold obviously disqualifying medical information will be disenrolled and won’t be eligible to reapply for the Academy. Other commissioning sources, such as ROTC programs, utilize DODMERB for their certification process and will be supplied information as to why the cadet was disenrolled.

Note that the medical qualification for Academy entrance is based on the assumption that your DODMERB medical examination reflects your true medical status. You can ensure this by IMMEDIATELY reporting any change in your medical status (injury, physical or mental illness or diagnosis of a new condition) to DODMERB at 1-719-333-3562, after you have finished your examination.

If you have ANY questions concerning the medical examination process, CALL DODMERB!

Medical Examination Results

DODMERB will use the results of your examination to determine whether or not you are medically qualified to attend the United States Air Force Academy. After DODMERB receives your medical examination results, they will evaluate your medical file for certification. If additional medical information or evaluations are required, DODMERB will send you a letter requesting the additional tests and/or evaluations, otherwise known as remedials. Remedials are classified as either Administrative or Medical. All costs associated with Administrative remedials are the responsibility of the candidate.

The candidate has three options for completing medical remedials unless specifically requested to be completed at a Military Treatment Facility. Option 1, at no cost to the candidate and the preferred option, is to complete the requested medical remedial through a civilian examination center contracted by DODMERB and managed by Concorde. Option 2, at no cost to the candidate, is to complete the requested medical remedial at a Military Treatment Facility that has the resources for completing the test and/or evaluation. Option 3, all costs associated with this option are the responsibility of the candidate, is to complete the requested medical remedial with a private medical provider or physician. Do not rely on any statements made by the examining physician, military or civilian, concerning your medical status.

Following your acceptance by the Academy and within 72 hours of arriving at the Academy, you must undergo drug and alcohol abuse testing as required by Public Law (Title 10, U.S. Code, Section 978). HIV testing will also be done at this time. Photo identification is required.

Refer questions concerning your medical status or examination scheduling to:

DODMERB
8034 Edgerton Drive Suite 132
USAF Academy, CO 80840-2200

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Medical Standards

All candidates admitted to the U.S. Air Force Academy must meet, at a minimum, the medical and weight standards for commissioning in the United States Air Force. Qualification for flying duties requires meeting more stringent requirements.

Visual Acuity

Distant: correctable to 20/40 in one eye and 20/70 in the other, or 20/30 in one eye and 20/100 in the other, or 20/20 in one eye and 20/400 in the other.

Refractive Error

Farsightedness (hyperopia) no greater than +8.00 diopters and nearsightedness (myopia) no greater than -8.00 diopters spherical equivalent.

Hearing

Maximum hearing loss in either ear cannot be greater than the following:

Frequency 500 1000 2000 3000 4000
Loss 35 35 35 45 55

Pure tone at 500, 1000 and 2000 cycles per second of not more than 30 dB on the average (either ear), with no individual level greater than 35 dB at these frequencies; and level not more than 45 dB at 3000 cycles per second each ear and 55 dB at 4000 cycles per second each ear.

Height and Weight

Your standing height must be not less than 58 inches to 80 inches maximum. Weight standards are indicated in the following Weight Table. If you exceed the Air Force weight standards, you must undergo a procedure to determine your percent body fat. The minimum allowable body fat is 20% for males and 28% for females. Once the maximum weight standard has been exceeded, the body fat standard becomes the entry requirement unless you subsequently meet the weight standard.

If we are notified by DODMERB that you exceed the Air Force weight standard for your height, we will request you provide your body measurements on a USAFA Form 0-220. This form must be completed by a school nurse, family physician or qualified paramedical person and will be available at your online status page. Once we receive this form, we will calculate your body fat and determine if you meet Air Force standards. If you exceed Air Force standards for body fat, you will be required to lose the excess weight and/or body fat before you may be considered for an appointment.

Maximum Allowable Weight
Height (Inches) Weight (lbs)
58 131
59 136
60 141
61 145
62 150
63 155
64 160
65 165
66 170
67 175
68 180
69 186
70 191
71 197
72 202
73 208
74 214
75 220
76 225
77 231
78 237
79 244
80 250
Other Requirements

As part of your medical examination, you will undergo an external visual inspection of the genitalia to determine if any abnormalities are present (women may have this part of their exam done by their private physicians at their own expense). You should also have a thorough dental examination by your private dentist and complete any treatment before taking the military dental examination.

Tattoos, Brands, Body Piercing

While having a tattoo or brand does not automatically disqualify you from consideration, they must meet standards outlined in Air Force Instruction (AFI) 36-2903. Tattoos or brands anywhere on the body that are obscene, advocate sexual, racial, ethnic, or religious discrimination or project an improper military or cadet image are prohibited. Tattoos or brands may not exceed ¼ (25%) coverage of the exposed body part in any/all uniform combinations (except the Physical Training Uniform (PTU)). In addition any tattoos/brands above the collarbone are prohibited. Please review AFI 36-2903, Chapter 3, for more information.

If offered an appointment and you accept you will have to complete AF Form 4428 with your Admissions Liaison Officer (ALO) disclosing information on your tattoo(s)/brand(s) such as location, size and the significance. This form will be maintained in your personnel file throughout your Air Force Career.

All piercings must be removed prior to inprocessing as a Basic Cadet. Following Basic Cadet Training, females may be authorized to wear one small, spherical, conservative earring per earlobe. Male cadets are specifically prohibited from wearing earrings at any time.

Pilot Vision Requirements

All candidates admitted to the Air Force Academy must meet the vision requirements for commissioning in the United States Air Force. However, there are three levels of qualification determined by DODMERB. Those levels of qualification status are; “Commission” Qualified, “Potential Pilot” Qualified, and “Potential Navigator” Qualified. As a reference to those that are interested in an Air Force aviation career, a table has been created so vision, height, and hearing values can be compared to see if you fall into the potential pilot or navigator category. This table is a personal clarification only. To use this table, you must simply compare the DODMERB medical examination results to the values found in the flying class standards table.This table does not include standards for aviation, but it does include the standards which most often lead to medical disqualification. Please note that the DODMERB medical examination is not the official flying class examination. The flying class examination will be performed during the third academic year at the United States Air Force Academy and will encompass more in-depth testing than was used during the DoDMERB physical exam. Any question regarding interpretation of this table can be addressed by calling Cadet Standards at 719-333-0533.

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Medical Waivers

There is no need for you to request a medical waiver. If you are competitive for an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy or one of our preparatory programs, we will automatically process a medical waiver for USAFA on your behalf.

You will be notified directly by DODMERB if there are any additional requirements, tests, or evaluations for the waiver process. DODMERB may request additional tests or evaluations to support your waiver. These may be obtained at a military facility at no cost to you or at a civilian facility at your cost. Please keep in mind that DODMERB is working on your and our behalf to acquire the medical waiver and that DODMERB is not the waiver authority.

The Academy Command Surgeon (not affiliated with DODMERB) may grant a limited number of medical waivers and they will notify you of the final waiver decision.

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Medical Disqualifications

Following is a list of some of the medical conditions that are disqualifying. This is not intended to be a complete or comprehensive list but only a guideline of the most common medical disqualifications. See the Medical Waivers section for more information.

Vision Disqualification

Procedures to change refraction disqualify you for all military programs. This includes radial keratotomy (RK); photorefractive keratectomy (PRK); laser in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK); similar surgical/nonsurgical alteration to the cornea (e.g. orthokeratology); and any other experimental operations. Waivers may be considered for both PRK and LASIK, however, the waiver applicant must meet very strict preoperative and postoperative criteria. A waiver will not be considered until 12 months following the procedure to ensure full healing. Refractive errors in spherical equivalent of greater than +/-8.00 diopters are disqualifying and greater than +/-10 are not waiverable.

Dental Disqualification

Diseases of the jaw or associated tissues that are not easily remediable and will incapacitate the individual or otherwise prevent satisfactory performance of duty. Most malocclusion waivers are granted.

Ears and Hearing

Hearing must meet the acceptable levels for commissioning. Hearing loss greater than 35 decibels in the speech frequencies is disqualifying.

Respiratory System Disqualification

History of asthma, including reactive airway disease, exercise-induced broncho-spasm or asthmatic bronchitis, reliably diagnosed or treated after the 13th birthday, is disqualifying.

A history of wheezing requiring medication after the age of 13 is also disqualifying. History of immunotherapy for allergies is disqualifying but usually waiverable.

Heart and Vascular System Disqualification

Any abnormalities of the heart valves, major vessels, heart rate or rhythm may require additional examination procedures.

Genitourinary System Disqualification

Persistence of abnormal findings on urinalysis, a history of bedwetting into adolescence or physiologic or anatomic abnormalities.

Gastrointestinal System Disqualification

Chronic disease of the abdominal organs; chronic or recent hepatitis, including hepatitis B carriers; inflammatory bowel disorders.

Skin Disqualification

Chronic diseases of the skin such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis and eczema are cause for disqualification. Waivers may be considered for some mild conditions.

Musculoskeletal System Disqualification

Ununited fractures, history of instability of a major joint, certain retained orthopedic fixation devices, severe scoliosis – any condition that could interfere with daily participation in rigorous physical training or athletic programs, wearing of military equipment, or detract from military bearing and appearance. History of ACL reconstruction is disqualifying but usually waiverable.

Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders

Seizure disorders (except febrile convulsions in childhood), recurrent or severe headaches, history of mental illness or other disorders which may interfere with performance of military duties.

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