In 2001 Cristoforetti became one of the first females to join the Italian Air Force Academy when it opened applications to women candidates, and in 2005 she was among the first women to become an Officer in the Italian Air Force.
From 2005 to 2006 at the Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas, USA, she completed the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot training, became a Fighter Pilot and was assigned to the 132nd Squadron, 51st Bomber Wing, based in Istrana, Italy.
In 2007 Cristoforetti completed Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals Training.
From 2007 to 2008, she flew the MB-339 and served in the Plan and Operations Section for the 51st Bomber Wing in Istrana, Italy.
In 2008, she joined the 101st Squadron, 32nd Bomber Wing, based in Foggia, Italy, where she completed operational conversion training for the AM-X Ground Attack Fighter.
Cristoforetti is an aviatrix officer and holds the rank of Captain in the Italian Air Force. She has logged over 500 hours flying six types of military aircraft: SF-260, T-37, T-38, MB-339A, MB-339CD and AM-X.