Air Force Basic Instructor Course: What’s it like?

The United States Air Force Basic Instructor Course is where active duty Air Force personnel, Air National Guard, civilians, and even other branches of the military go to get trained on basic fundamentals of instruction, instructional development, and counseling. You can think of it as a basic training for becoming an AETC instructor with your “drill instructor” being expert instructors. Additionally, students will complete multiple performance objectives where you create lesson plans, outlines, and teach lessons to the class. 

New U.S. Air Force and Space Force instructors are required to go through the Basic Instructor Course because the courses they’ll teach will be AFSC awarding and provide CCAF hrs to Airmen. Typically, noncommissioned officers or higher ranking senior leaders that are given instructor assignments will be required to complete the course to develop their communication skills before they start teaching classes.

The class is recognized by Air University and will be worth 6 CCAF credit hours. It is 20 academic days long or 160 instruction hrs, and this guide will walk you through everything you need to know about the U.S. Air Force Basic Instructor Course before you go. 

Air force basic instructor course classroom

What to Bring

Besides the obvious things like your uniform, hygienic items, etc., you’ll want to bring a laptop computer with a standard HDMI port. You’ll need a CAC reader to access the myLearning system. You’ll also need to have access to some type of PowerPoint product whether that be Microsoft office or a Google product. 

If you decide to not use your personal computer, they do have laptops for check out, but keep in mind that they are government computers and they will be painfully slow to work on. A personal laptop is the best choice because you’ll be able to study outside of class for your tests more effectively. 

The Air Education and Training Command (AETC) can produce some nit-picky rules for their bases. For example, when I went to Keesler AFB for my Basic Instructor Course, I was TDY all the way from Japan. I did not pack my service dress because that is not normal to do on a TDY. Be advised, there will be at least one day while you are at BIC where you’ll have to wear your dress blues. Pack accordingly if you do not want to miss those days of class time. I was offered to do my class work remotely during that day and was even told to take a day of my personal leave since I did not have the uniform of the day. Ultimately I didn’t use any leave and I finished all my required work for the day in the base library nice and comfortable in my civilian clothes. 

Pack a folder to keep the printouts and resources that they give you. Most of the work will be online so you don’t need to stress about packing notebooks, excessive writing utensils, and highlighters unless you learn better that way then by all means pack them. 

The class is laid back and most instructors will cater to multiple learning styles like visual, audio, and kinesthetic. It’s really an enjoyable course because the instructors are literally the best in the Air Force with decades of experience to get you started as an AETC instructor. 


If you are going TDY to the Air Force Basic Instructor Course then you are going to require some lodging. Unfortunately, we do not get the liberty of picking exactly where we want to stay. Firstly, you’ll need to call the base hotel and see if they have any availability. If they do, you’ll be booked to stay in base lodging. 

If they do not have any availability for you for the duration of your stay then you get to stay off base. The only requirement is that you have to stay within the nightly rate that you are provided. Work with the Resource Advisor assigned to you if you have any questions.

I highly recommend trying to get a rental car approved for yourself so you can explore a little on your own. Again, talk with your Resource Advisor about getting that done.  

The AETC TDY-TO-SCHOOL Handbook might be useful.

When I went, I had to stay on base in the Shaw House at Keesler AFB. Honestly, it wasn’t the worst hotel that I have ever stayed at, but it wasn’t great. I had issues keeping my room cool enough to sleep during the entire time I stayed there. I had to call and get a faculty member to put in a work order because my room wouldn’t get cooler than 79 degrees. Other than that, I don’t have any other complaints. It was just a standard hotel room. 

With that being said, if you TDY there you should try to make a friend or two and get off base to enjoy the area. I was at Keesler AFB and I traveled around Biloxi, Ocean Springs, Gulfport, and Mobile during my time outside of class. 

Air Force technical training

Block I: Fundamentals of Instruction 

During the first week of class you will learn about the fundamentals of instruction. On the first day, there will be an orientation explaining the area, local guidelines, and rules you’ll need to follow. After the orientation, you’ll go to your classrooms to meet your instructor.

The instructor should promote a positive first impression, have an ice breaker exercise, explain how to use the myLearning system, and begin the lessons. 

It is important to pay attention because there is an end of block test that you’ll need to make a 70% on to pass. 

You’ll have the following lessons throughout the first couple of days. 

  • Instructor Roles
  • Qualities of an Instructor
  • Communicative Process
  • Lesson Plan Outlining
  • Learning Theory
  • Group Dynamics
  • Questioning Techniques
  • Instructional Methods 
  • Use Multimedia

You’ll learn things like the laws of learning, the difference between a formal lecture and an informal lecture, when to use overhead questions compared to direct questions, and the basic fundamentals of teaching.

While you are going through these lessons, you’ll also be preparing yourself to give a 10 minute presentation. Everyone will improve drastically so don’t stress over the first time you give a presentation. Do your best, it’s better to get the public speaking nerves out in front of your classmates than in front of a class that is looking at you to teach them technical skills that will prepare them for their careers. 

Ending the block, you’ll take the block test and everyone will give their presentations. 

Block II: Instructional Development

This block is known as the hardest block in the course. Make sure you pay attention, and study a little bit everyday so you pass the end of block test at the end.

It is important to pay attention because there is an end of block test that you’ll need to make a 70% on to pass. 

You’ll have the following lessons. 

  • Technical Training Organization 
  • Instructional System Development (ISD) 
  • Course Control Documents 
  • Prepare Lesson Plans 
  • Perform Student Measurement 

In this block you’ll learn about the importance of course materials, the different roles in a technical training organization, how to evaluate technical knowledge with the use of progress checks, request a course rewrite, developing a training standard, and how to use Instructional System Development to create a Plan of Instruction and lesson plan.

While you are going through these lessons, you’ll be preparing a 20 minute presentation to give your class. You’ll have to create a lesson plan with this one.

The only advice I can give you for this block is to study the workbook that you’re given and play the study games they provide to help you retain the information because this test is seriously tough. Luckily, you just need to make a 70% on it to pass. 

At the end of the block you’ll take the written test and everyone will give their presentations to the class. 

public speaking air force basic instructor course

Block III: Counseling

In this block you’ll learn how to counsel students as needed. It is a pretty fun block and you’ll have to complete a role playing scenario where you counsel your classmates. Hopefully your class has grown in comradery and this scenario will be pretty comical. 

It is important to pay attention because there is an end of block test that you’ll need to make a 70% on to pass. 

You’ll have the following lessons. 

  • Student Differences 
  • Fundamentals 
  • Interview

You’ll learn about the different kind of students you will have to deal with, how to counsel them when they misbehave, and how to praise them when their doing a good job.

Additionally, you’ll want to focus some of your attention on nailing instructor evals. Instructor evaluations will be used as your rubric to grade you for the presentations. This will be very important for you to understand how to do in your new job as an instructor, especially if you want to earn the AETC Instructor Badge and the title of Master Instructor.

While you are going through these lessons, you will be preparing a 50 minute presentation to give to your classmates. It will be more work than your past presentations because you’ll make a Plan of Instruction and a Lesson Plan.

After the end of block test, everyone will deliver their presentations. 

Block IV: Demonstration Presentation 

The Demonstration-Performance block is by far the easiest block in the Air Force Basic Instructor Course. The bulk of your work will come in the form of preparation for a 50 minute presentation where you demonstrate and teach how to do a task, let your students practice the task with an application phase, and then evaluate your students using a student progress checklist. 

You can make this block as easy or hard on yourself as you want to. Some topics that were presented in my class were wrapping presents, solving a rubik’s cube, making a cup of tea, and designing a comic superhero. 

It can be anything as long as you can follow the rubric given. Have fun and do not make this presentation any harder on yourself than it needs to be. 

Technical training F-16

General Expectations 

If you have a fear of public speaking, this course may be difficult for you. However, it’s designed to help you get over the nerves of speaking in front of a class. It will make you a better presenter and an exceptional AETC instructor by practicing what you learn with on the job training at the Air Force Basic Instructor Course over time. 

The class is not very challenging mentally for new instructors, but studying is required if you want to get good grades. The pass rate is high, but there is an opportunity to earn a Distinguished Graduate title with a high GPA. Your classmates will vote for best presenter. Both awards come with a Letter of Appreciation and will be good for your performance report. Stay motivated and try your best! 

You’ll receive 6 CCAF sem hours and be awarded a 2nd CCAF degree that you may have to complete to remain in your new role as an instructor.

Take the time away from your work center to soak up as much information as possible in a student role. If you truly care about being an exceptional instructor take a look at things from the student’s perception. You can decide what you like and/or dislike about an instructor and how different personalities explain information in different ways. This can help you make yourself better. 

With my experience as an instructor, I have always taught classes in a way that I would want to be presented with information if I was a student, and I have never had anything but positive feedback on course critiques. I highly encourage you to take the same approach. 

The Air Force Basic Instructor Course will help prepare you for being a quality AETC instructor. Good luck with the course! 

Leave a Comment