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Promotion Points Help Advance Your Military Career

Posted : Sunday January 1, 2012
Created by: MSG Randall High, U.S. Army (ret)
The RAND Corporation, a non-profit military policy think tank, identifies three benefits the military receives for offering its soldiers money to pursue their civilian educations: "increased productivity," "longer retention," and "improved morale." These benefits can improve your own life, helping you to get more done and to feel satisfied and upbeat about your military experience. In short, taking advantage of the military's educational funding options can make you a smarter, happier soldier.
Promotion Points for Education
Another bonus of continuing your education is that the military offers you promotion points for your work. Completing courses while you are in the military can help you to move up in rank faster, and, with your promotion, to earn more money.

Out of all of the branches of the military, the Army offers the most attractive promotion point benefits for continuing your civilian education. If you are not far along in your Army career, education is an especially good way to boost your chances of promotion. 

As a Specialist (E4), you can earn up to 75 points for civilian education, or nearly 10 percent of the possible 800 Army promotion points. For a Sergeant (E5), you can earn up to 100 points, or 12.5 percent of the total possible.

Continuing your education at any level can earn you points. For completing your GED or bachelor's degree, you earn 10 points. For every credit hour of college or CLEP/DANTES tests you finish, you can receive one point. You can earn 10 points for obtaining a 1/1 Defense Language Proficiency rating.

Know Your Promotion System
Depending on your current rank, continuing your civilian education might affect your promotion a great deal, or it might play a more minor role. E-1 through E-3 to E-4 promotions tend to be based on your total time served and your time served at your current rank. Educational promotion points have the biggest effect for enlisted soldiers looking to move up from E-4 to E-5 or E-5 to E-6. Your total promotion points are determined by adding up your points earned for duty performance, awards and decorations, military education, civilian education, military training, and total board points. Because you are competing with other soldiers of your rank for a limited number of promotion spots, anything that you can do to distinguish yourself can give you an advantage. Once you have advanced to the highest Non-Commissioned Officer ranks, your promotions will be based mostly on reviews of your management and leadership.

Whether you take courses at a traditional college or online, education can help to make your military career more satisfying. Because the military offers you such enticing opportunities to further your education, the cost of your education will be negligible in comparison to the benefits you receive.

"The Role of Education in the Military Promotion Process," RAND Corporation

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