Commentary

June 22, 2012

Promotion is in your hands

By Debbie Gildea
Air Force Personnel, Services and Manpower Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — It is up to you to get promoted, Senior Master Sgt. Jeff Noxon, Air Force Personnel Center enlisted promotions and testing superintendent, advises enlisted members.

The enlisted promotion system is based on several weighted factors, most of which are within the member’s control, he said. Those factors include time in service, time in grade, decorations, enlisted performance report ratings, the promotion fitness exam score, and the skills knowledge test score.

“Time is a factor in the promotion system – time in service and time in grade – so a lot of young Airmen think they can’t get promoted because they’re too junior, but that’s not necessarily the case,” said Noxon.

Time in service is worth 1/2 point per month (six points per year) and time in grade is worth 1/6 point per month (two points per year).

“That’s a pretty small number compared to 100 points possible for each of the tests, and test preparation is solely in the Airman’s hands,” Noxon said.

Performance reports are worth 135 points, maximum, and the maximum number of points possible for decorations is 25.

“Some people think that EPRs and decorations are subjective, or dependent on what your supervisor thinks you deserve,” Noxon said, “but the evaluation process has very clear criteria and checks and balances up and down the supervisory chain to help maintain process integrity. Ultimately, Airmen who work hard to develop their job and leadership skills are going to get the right evaluation. Whether or not you get promoted depends a lot on your determination and your work ethic,” Noxon said.

Even the first three promotions depend on the Airmen, although they may appear to be automatic.

“Yes, time is a factor and an airman basic or airman can’t get promoted early, but behavior counts,” he explained. “Being eligible doesn’t mean your commander will recommend you, so you have to work hard, learn your job, study the Air Force culture and behave in a way that tells your peers, supervisor and commander that you’re ready for more responsibility.”

That hard work could be the ticket to early promotions down the road.

An airman first class is eligible for promotion to senior airmen after 36 months time in service and 20 months time in grade or 28 months time in grade (whichever occurs first), Noxon said. However, they are eligible to be considered for below the zone promotion to senior airman 6 months before that time. So being prepared for that opportunity could set the pace for the rest of a member’s career.

“If you excel on duty, participate in off-duty programs, do well on your career development course exams and set the example as an Airman, you’re a good candidate for below-the-zone promotion,” Noxon said. “If selected, you could be eligible to test for staff sergeant when your peers are sewing on senior airman. That would put you a year ahead of others in the promotion process.”

Depending on how well an Airman does on the two promotion tests, that could be just the beginning.

Senior airmen must have 36 months time in service and six months time in grade to be eligible to test for staff sergeant. Staff sergeants must have 23 months time in grade to test for technical sergeant, and technical sergeants require 24 months in grade to test for master.

“It’s a challenge to do so because there are so many factors involved, but it’s possible for a sharp, fast-burner to make it to master in less than 10 years,” Noxon said. “Again, it’s in your hands.”

Although getting promoted is the Airman’s responsibility, Noxon reminds members that they are not alone in the process.

“Airmen can’t study together, but they can seek guidance and mentorship from senior noncommissioned officers,” Noxon said. “Testing is only part of the process, and long before an Airman can test, other factors are already in play. An Airman may have two performance reports before testing and opportunities to earn a decoration, so looking for a mentor to help guide you is important.”

Enlisted Airmen can positively – or negatively – impact every promotion opportunity. Those who aggressively pursue opportunities, find a mentor, and work hard are the ones who will be promoted.

“Any Airmen – you – can do that. You can be the fast burner, because your promotion is in your hands,” Noxon said.

For more information about Air Force promotion systems or personnel issues, visit the myPers website at https://mypers.af.mil.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Conquer fear, live your dream

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. — Are you living the dream? Do you wake up with energy each morning or do you need an energy drink to get you going? If you constantly hit the snooze button on your alarm, wake with no energy and low self-esteem, need lots of coffee, soda or energy drinks...
 
 

Leaders: Good, bad, forgotten

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — It’s been my Air Force experience there are three categories of leaders — the good, bad, and the forgotten.Everyone reading this probably thinks they’re in the first category, but we know that’s not the case. Airmen who work for you certainly wish that were true, but not every leader’s...
 
 

Are you ready to transition out of your uniform?

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. — Leaving the military is not as simple as staying home the day after your service commitment is up. Almost 23 years ago, after a summer vacation that lasted less than 48 hours, I showed up in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with about 1,000 of my new closest friends. Fast forward...
 

 

Dear Dad: A letter to my father

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — I sat in the very back of the classroom, not paying much attention to the man in blue giving a presentation to my eighth grade civics class. He was saying something about core values, pride and doing something for the community you could be proud of. He told stories...
 
 

Leadership: Is there an app for that?

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea — The world is growing more and more dependent on technology. Even our U.S. Air Force has become automated to improve programs, processes and quality of life for Airmen. We have Facebook, smartphones, BlackBerries, MyMC2 (My Military Communities), Twitter, Facetime, Skype, webpages, Sharepoint, EMS (Evaluation Management System) and many more I...
 
 

Save your back

NELLIS AIR FORCE, Nev. — Ooh if I could only be young again! How many times have you said that due to chronic daily pain? As young individuals we take our bodies for granted, overexerting, twisting, turning, and lifting everything we can to push the limits. But when older age sets in and the wrinkles...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>