McChord testing center develops airmen

By Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez on June 1, 2017

From multiple choice promotion exams to simulated flight test, the McChord testing center administers all force development official tests to airmen on Joint Base Lewis-McChord. 

The testing center is responsible for ensuring continuity of official test material and to ensure airmen receive standardized testing for promotion, professional military education, upgrade training and job qualification tests.

"Basically, we do all the testing for courses 14 and 15, and weighted airmen performance system testing," said Oscar Knauss, McChord testing center test control officer. "All of these are very important for personnel because if they don't pass the requirements it affects their career."

Annually, the testing center administers more than 5,000 tests and can issue up to 250 tests weekly.

"For me it's all about helping our airmen," said Theresa Olson, testing center test control officer. "If they have a situation with meeting a deadline, we'll pull strings to get them tested on time."

Enlisted airmen who are promotion eligible take a skills knowledge test and a promotion fitness test annually to promote. These tests are administered by a test control officer and can range from one to three hours.

"It's the number one thing to get promoted and go up the chain," said Knauss. "We do our best to help them do well and get promoted."

Testing isn't always an enjoyable experience for airmen and the testing center works to promote a positive and professional environment for airmen testing, said Knauss.

"I can empathize with airmen because I once had to take the same test as an airman myself," said Knauss. "Testing is really competitive and airmen really have to study and prepare."

Air Force standardized test material provides a fair way for airmen to test for rank, said Knauss.

"Testing is a very fair way to promote because everybody has the ability to study and get promoted," said Knauss. "I think the Air Force's rules for promotion empower airmen by making them responsible for their careers and individual development."

The McChord testing center issues language tests and official certification tests for the civilian work force. These tests include foreign language proficiency, and Federal Aviation Administration. Many of these tests are open to military dependents and retirees.

"I really enjoy seeing the professionalism in airmen testing and knowing that this is giving them the opportunity to advance in their career," said Knauss. "It's rewarding because there are results."

Different from enlisted promotion tests, the testing center also provides testing for enlisted airmen looking to change careers through commissioning or retraining. These tests include the Air Force officer qualification test, test for basic aviation skills and the Armed Forces classification test.    

"Testing plays a huge part in an airman's career every step of the way," said Olson. "We play a big piece in that, so it's important that we provide them the best testing atmosphere possible."