Course 15 Deadline fast-approaching

As the Jan. 1, 2017 deadline approaches for the first group of Course 15 Airmen, the 707th Force Support Squadron Education and Training Office is prepared to help Airmen complete their professional military education.(U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. AJ Hyatt)

As the Jan. 1, 2017 deadline approaches for the first group of Course 15 Airmen, the 707th Force Support Squadron Education and Training Office is prepared to help Airmen complete their professional military education.(U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. AJ Hyatt)

Dr. Debra Wales, 707th Force Support Squadron Education Services officer and flight chief, provides a tuition assistance briefing to an Airman, Dec. 2, 2016 at Fort Meade, Md. The 707th FSS Education and Training Office is a one-stop shop for assistance with Community College of the Air Force degree programs, CLEP and DANTES test, CDC and PME exams, language testing, formal training and also providing education counseling and briefings. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. AJ Hyatt)

Dr. Debra Wales, 707th Force Support Squadron Education Services officer and flight chief, provides a tuition assistance briefing to an Airman, Dec. 2, 2016 at Fort Meade, Md. The 707th FSS Education and Training Office is a one-stop shop for assistance with Community College of the Air Force degree programs, CLEP and DANTES test, CDC and PME exams, language testing, formal training and also providing education counseling and briefings. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. AJ Hyatt)

The 707th FSS Base Education and Training Office is currently open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. It is open from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays. The hours of operations will change in 2017. (U.S. Air Force graphic/Staff Sgt. AJ Hyatt)

The 707th FSS Base Education and Training Office is currently open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. It is open from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays. The hours of operations will change in 2017. (U.S. Air Force graphic/Staff Sgt. AJ Hyatt)

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. --

As the New Year approaches, so does the completion deadline for the first group of Course 15 Airmen.

In May 2016, the Air Force deferred the effective date of a new policy requiring the completion of enlisted professional military education (EPME) distance learning courses within 12 months of enrollment. The policy was deferred until Jan. 1, 2017.

The new policy requires Airmen to complete the course within 12 months in order to be considered for promotion or re-enlistment. Note, Airmen who enrolled in EPME on or after Jan. 1, 2016, are not affected by the deferment and are required to complete the course within 12 months of enrollment.

The first group of Course 15 Airmen were given the six-month deferment to allow additional time to validate notification and acknowledgment procedures, as well as ensuring test centers had the time and capacity to meet testing requirements.

Some military installations had testing backlogs of three to four weeks, which caused a delay – but that’s not the case at the 70th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing, said Dr. Debra Wales, 707th Force Support Squadron Education Services officer and flight chief. The folks in the 707th Force Support Squadron Education and Training Office are dedicated to helping Airmen further their education and making sure they are taken care of.

Wales stressed that Airmen should not to wait until the last minute to get scheduled for their PME, and emphasized they can test immediately if they call now.

“It’s very important that every Airman understands their role and responsibilities with education,” said Wales. “We have slots today. Airmen can call today and test for their PME tomorrow.”

The testing times are currently 8 a.m., 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

According to myPers, Airmen who fail to complete EPME will become ineligible for promotion consideration. If an Airman has a projected promotion, he or she will have their projected promotion automatically placed in withhold status if EPME is not completed by suspense date. This withhold status will be removed upon course completion or will be cancelled at the end of the promotion cycle. Line numbers that have been cancelled at the end of the promotion cycle will not be reinstated.

PME Requirement for promotion to Technical Sergeant

Airmen selected for promotion to technical sergeant must complete Basic EPME Phase II (Course 15) distance learning within 12 months of EPME notification. If EPME is not completed by the 12-month suspense date, the projected promotion will be placed into withhold until the end of the promotion cycle. If the EPME is not completed by the end of the promotion cycle, the line number will be removed from MilPDS and will not be reinstated.

Example 1: Tech. Sgt. Select A was notified of EPME Feb. 20, 2016, so the required EPME must be completed by Feb. 20, 2017. Tech. Sgt. Select A has a line number that will increment March 1, 2017. If EPME is not completed by Feb. 20, 2017, the line number will automatically go into withhold until July 31, 2017. Upon completion of EPME, the Airman's projected line number will be retroactively updated.

Example 2: Tech. Sgt. Select B was notified of EPME Feb. 20, 2016, so the required EPME must be completed by Feb. 20, 2017. Tech. Sgt. Select B has a line number that will increment Dec. 1, 2016. The Airman will be authorized to pin on promotion, regardless of whether the EPME has or has not been completed, as the Airman has not surpassed the 12-month suspense date.

The 707th FSS Education and Training Office is a one-stop shop for assistance with Community College of the Air Force degree programs, CLEP and DANTES testing, CDC and PME exams, language testing, formal training, and they also provide education counseling and briefings.

The office is currently open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 3 p.m. It is open 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday. The office hours will change in 2017.

“Customer services is an important deal for us,” said Wales. “So, we are changing our model here and coming out with new hours and services. Instead of closing from noon to 1 p.m. during the week, we are going to be open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. to accommodate those Airmen who need to use us during the lunch times.”

For more information, please contact the Education and Training Office at 301-677-0856 or e-mail 707FSS_FSDE@us.af.mil. For more information about Air Force personnel programs go to the myPers website.