When counseling young Soldiers (E-4s) the focus is usually in preparing them for the next level…being an NCO. Part of that is setting them up for success with respect to ensuring they are completing their schools, developing as professionals and of course, providing them with some tips on how to increase their promotion points. Even your junior NCOs are looking for all the ways possible to ensure that they are a cut above the rest by the time “the list” rolls around.
Now, most Soldiers already know what they have to do to get there, but for those who don’t, or are just looking for some tips to get there faster, here are my 5 Tips to Max Out Your Army Enlisted Promotion Points.
1. Understand the Breakdown: Everyone knows that you can achieve a maximum of 800 points for promotion. However, some Soldiers don’t often realize that the breakdown for these points is different from rank to rank. So, if you are an E-4 trying to make E-5 or and E-5 trying to make E-6, you better understand the breakdown to know which areas to focus on to get the max points. For example:
Military Training (E-5 is 340, E-6 is 255)
Military Awards & Decorations (E-5 is 125, E-6 is 165)
Military Education (E-5 is 260, E-6 is 280)
Civilian Education (E-5 is 75, E-6 is 100)
So, you can see that if I were going for E-5 I would want to focus on my military training and education. Next step is understanding what makes up each category. For example, the Military Training category is made up of your APFT, deployments & weapons qualification.
2. Focus on your APFT and Weapons Qualification Efforts: Deployments won’t get you many points (I think it is 2 points/month or something like that), but the APFT can add up quick. In fact, always shoot to score above a 180. For every point over 180 it will help max you out. One example is if you get 180 points…that is worth 40 points. However, if you get a 250 you get 40 plus the difference of 180 from 250 (i.e. 250-180=70) for a total of 110 points! Also, stay within height & weight regulations! For weapons qualification, every trigger squeeze counts! You can go from 33 points for just qualifying or obtain up to 160 points for a perfect score. Work to stay proficient!
3. Volunteer for Schools: This is one of those times where you want to volunteer for anything and everything. One thing I see is Soldiers not attending their schools on time. For example, as an E-4 they will wait until after they make E-5 to go to WLC…why!? WLC itself is worth 80 points alone. If you bust your hump at schools and make the Commandant’s list there’s some more points right there! Additionally, you have correspondence courses on AKO (every 5 hours equals 1 point for a max of 78 possible). Lastly, those schools that seem “lame” may be worth 10 points! Courses like Unit Level Logistics System Course, Fuel Handlers Course, Bus Driver Course, etc.
4. Go to School! In the National Guard and Reserves, you have it better than Active Duty. You have the ability to use the same benefits for education but have much more time to complete your degree. Just completing your degree is worth 10 points. There’s no excuse for not working to complete your degree while in the Guard. Additionally, work on ATTRS to transfer your military experience into college credits. College credits are worth 1 point per credit hour!
5. Meet the Minimum Criteria: Look I know this sounds silly, but you won’t believe how many Soldiers I see busting ass to get promotion points but don’t meet the bare minimum requirements. Usually it is not TIS/TIG or passing a promotion board…no it is ALWAYS their required schools! I do not know why, but it is usually 99 times out of 100. Now, with SSD (Structured Self Development) requirements, it is becoming more and more difficult to convince Soldiers to complete their pre-reqs and they are passed up for promotion by someone who probably has a lot less points than they do. It is sad… So, work to make sure your Soldiers are set up for success and are enrolled and completing their NCOES courses!
These are my best tips to max out your Army Enlisted Promotion Points. If you have some advice that you would like to share with the rest of our community, please leave a comment below. Share any secret tips you know about to help Soldiers max out their Promotion Points.