You're tired of watching the Platoon Sergeant and Staff Sergeants sit in the office while you slave away working in the motorpool and doing the bulk of the work the platoon needs done. You should be getting paid more than you are and you know you could make a difference and do it better. It's time to work towards promotion and here you will find out where to start and what you need to do to get promoted in the Army.
Here in part 1 we are going to discuss education. In most senior leaders opinion, this is the most important one to work on, particularly at this stage. You should understand the importance of civilian education at this point in your career. You have more duties and responsibilities than you did as a junior but you still time available to focus on yourself. So stop making excuses and get it done. I will tell you from experience that it only get harder and harder to find time as you progress through the ranks.
You see, the further along you get in your career, the more time you have to develop to other people and tasks. It may not look like the PSG or Staff Sergeants sitting in the office are doing much (and sometimes they really aren't) but a good amount of the time, there a report, a packet, a meeting, or someone else's problem they need to solve. Not saying that's a bad thing or complaining but I find myself going home at the end of the day sometimes wondering what in the world I accomplished because I gave myself 3 things to get done for the day and I maybe accomplished one. Most of my time is spent doing things for others after all, that is what being a leader is all about, serving other people first. As a Noncommissioned Officer, your two basic responsibilities are always the priority, "accomplishment of my mission and welfare of my Soldiers". Because of this, every additional rank you achieve means that there is less and less time to devote to yourself and more and more time devoted to taking care of more and more people. This makes taking college courses increasingly more difficult.
As a Sergeant, you still have a good amount of time focus on yourself, especially if you are single. I do my best to get the juniors and Sergeants out of the workplace as soon as I can (so long as things are done). I usually stick behind with my squad leaders to go over notes and prepare for the next day, this can sometimes take hours after everyone else is gone. My best advice to you is to go to the education center and figure out the best degree plan for you to follow. You may not know what you want to get a degree in and that's okay. There are plenty of degrees that will let you knock out your general education credits so you can figure out what you are really interested in and these will apply to most any degree you choose, the limiting factor usually being transfer acceptance.
Aside from the time, more reasons leaders usually promote civilian education is:
1. It is free using tuition assistance. How many people do you know back home or have seen on social media sites or the news that have gone into massive amounts of debt getting an education. It is so bad that there is a constant battle of people asking the government to forgive their student loans just so they can make ends meet or make a decent living. You get this free.
2. It applies when you get out of the military if you choose the right school and degree plan. Different employers, particularly well paying and reputable businesses, will look at where you got your degree and what it was in. Not all schools and degrees are the same. If you pay money to get credits and finish your degree in a very condensed timeline, this might not be the best choice for you. Talk to senior officers and ask their opinion as well as the education center.
3. It is worth promotion points. According to cutoffscores.com "Civilian Education offers a Kings ransom of up to 135-points for SGT E-5 and 160-points for SSG E-6. This represents about 17% and 20% of the total 800 points available, respectively". If you want to know what will make you the most competitive for promotion as you climb the ranks, just pay attention to what the Army puts the most emphasis on, that's what they want you to do!
4. Civilian degrees make you very competitive for promotion in the senior ranks. Do you plan on staying in and competing for SFC or higher? Some will tell you that it is mandatory, that's simply not true, but it makes a big impact on how you are scored at every level.
These are some big reasons to get working on you civilian education the day you join or at as soon as you read this article if you haven't already. Don't wait. You can start by going to ArmyIgnitED. This is the new system that replaced GoArmyEd. This is where you can get in touch with a education advisor, request tuition assistance, sign up for classes, track your degree progress and so much more.
To find Department of Defense (DoD) Voluntary Education Partnership Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) schools, check Participating Institutions (dodmou.com).
Continue reading with SSG promotion preparation Part 1 Education
Continue reading with SSG promotion preparation Part 3 SRB
Continue reading with SSG promotion preparation Part 4 Board