I am a mother of 2, EMT, Paramedic student, freelance writer, veteran, and so much more.
Becoming a Sergeant
I am going to focus on the promotion points system for a Specialist (E-4) pursuing Sergeant (E-5). The system is generally the same for current sergeants. The main difference is the number of points possible in each category. So all numbers I am stating and all steps I cover are focused on the aspiring E-5 but can also be applied to those pursuing E-6.
Promotion Points Won't Matter
There are certain things you have to have done before you can even become eligible for promotion. If you haven't completed these, it won't matter if you have 800 promotion points.
- Pass a promotion board
- Graduate from WLC (Warrior Leader Course)
- Meet the minimum TIS (Time in Service) and TIG (Time in Grade) requirements.
Primary Zone TIS = 36 months TIG = 8 months
*Secondary Zone TIS= 18 months TIG = 4 months
*The point's requirement is usually higher for those trying to get promoted using the secondary zone.
Promotion Points Breakdown
Military Awards & Decorations
Promotion Points Possible
The maximum number of points you can earn is 800. These are further broken down into maximum points for different categories. Beyond that, there are different things in each category worth a predetermined amount of points. If you plan to get promoted early in your Army career, there are certain categories you should focus on to get the most points for your effort.
Army Promotion Points Calculator
How Many Promotion Points is Your PT Score Worth?
In general, a passing score of 180 is 40 promotion points. Every score amount above 180 is equal to that many promotion points.
- Ex. PT Score = 270
- 270-180 = 90
- 90+40 = 130
- Promotion Points = 130
This category is only based on deployments, your PT test and your weapons qualification. There is a much bigger emphasis on this category for getting SGT than SSG.
The deployment category isn't going to help you out too much. You could always volunteer for a deployment but it would take too long and you only get 2 points for each month. If you have already been deployed, make sure the amounts on your ERB (Enlisted Record Brief) are correct.
The Army Physical Fitness Test may not be the easiest category to max out but it is the fastest. Most units will let you take a PT test anytime if you request one. If you max it out, you get 160 points. If you just barely pass with a score of 60 in each category, you get a measly 40 points. This is a big difference. Doing badly on your PT test can really sabotage your attempts at promotion. If you have one area, such as the run, that it always holding you back; make sure you focus on it more while training. If you have determination, you would be surprised how much further you can go. Dedicate yourself to it and give it all you have.
Be sure to check your height and weight to see if you pass. If you are overweight, check your body fat percentage as well. If you can not pass weight or tape, it will be considered a fail for your PT test. You can use the Army Fitness Calculator to check these. The day to find out you are overweight is not the day of the test. So, check now and start working on losing weight if you need to.
Qualifying on your weapon is also going to be a quick category to score some big points. A passing qualification will only get you 33 points while a perfect score will get you 160 points. This is another big gap. Every extra shot you make makes a big difference in points. So, make sure you are calm, have properly fitting gear, and know exactly what your target is. (I have seen people shoot at the wrong target.)
The issue with PT and weapons qualification is that they expire. You have to maintain a high ability in these categories or you will have trouble with getting enough promotion points. I believe the Military Training is the base you should work off of when it comes to promotion points. Focus on maxing out these categories. They will become your platform. Once you are successful at these then you should begin "adding" points from the other categories a little at a time.
Military Awards & Decorations
This is the hardest category to gain points in quickly. You cannot have a direct effect on your points here and I would suggest leaving this category to develop on its own. The best thing you can do here is to make sure you are the best soldier you can possibly be. Don't piss off anyone who outranks you, be willing to help those you outrank and don't be afraid to volunteer for a crappy detail. This sometimes randomly produces an award. People have received Certificates of Achievement for things like enduring cold weather in the field. Also, make sure any awards you have gained in the past are turned in to S1 so they are on your ERB.
10 Point Course List
- The Army Maintenance Management System Clerk Course
- Prescribed Load List Clerk Course
- Motor Pool Operations/Management Course
- Generator Operator Course
- Fuel Handlers Course
- Basic Welding Course
- Forklift Operator Course
- Bus Driver Course
- Unit Supply Clerk Course
- Unit Supply Operations/Management Course
- Unit Armor Course
- CBRN Defense Course
- Unit Postal Clerk Course
- Disk Operating System Course
- Word Processing Course
- Database Management Course
- Unit Level Logistics System Course
This is one of those things, in the Army, where you want to volunteer as much as possible. If your leadership is asking who wants to go to a certain class, you raise your hand! Many lower enlisted soldiers don't realize that the classes they avoid out of fear of boredom could be worth to promotion points for a week's worth of class. You would be at work anyway, why not get some promotion points. Make sure you check into the Army classes for promotion points. To the right is a list of all of these 10 point courses.
Warrior Leader Course
Another big chunk of the points available in this category are from attending WLC (Warrior Leader Course) This course (currently) lasts for about 3 weeks. Upon completion, you will earn 80 promotion points. If you excel while you are there and graduate in the top 10% of the class, you are named on the commandant's list and you get 92 points instead of 80. If you end up being the top soldier in your class, you are named distinguished honor put graduate and receive 102 points instead of 80 or 92. That seems pretty simple. It is if you put your full effort into being the best.
Another easy way of gaining points is by doing correspondence courses (Army online classes). If you max them out, you get 78 promotion points. Every 5-hour class correlates to 1 promotion point. Even though the classes are listed by how long they take, they do not take nearly that long. Courses listed as an hour take about 5 minutes if you pick the right ones.
Once you're in SkillPort, got to the category "Desktop Curriculum." Within this are a ton of Microsoft classes. These are typically the easiest ones to complete. They focus on things like Word, Spreadsheet and PowerPoint. You don't have to go through the whole course. Just take the course test and attempt to get 70%. If you don't, go back and take the incorrect questions again. It may take a few times through but it is much faster than actually going through the whole course. Keep in mind, this is not cheating. It is working smarter not harder.
Note: You cannot max out your military education points with SkillPort. You will top out at 78 promotion points. Also, SkillPort is sometimes referred to as Army e-learning.
This category is debatable. Some find it overly simple, and others extremely difficult. There are a few different options in gaining points here. But, the general idea is that any kind of college education you have or can get is worth promotion points. The maximum amount of points for this category is 75.
Previous College Credits
If you have already attended college credits in the past, this is the easiest way to get promotion points. Bring your official transcripts to your S1. Each credit hour is worth 1 promotion point. To max out this category using the previous college would be the equivalent to a little more than an Associate Degree.
CLEP & DANTES Tests
If you already have knowledge about a subject but have never actually taken a class, you can test through CLEP or DSST to get college credits. Most tests are worth 3 college credits, which is worth 3 promotion points. There are tons of different tests to choose from and will most likely have a few you will excel at.
Use your Army training to get college credits. Every AIT varies on how many college credits it is worth and which college you are going through. Look for a very military-friendly college, submit your AARTS transcripts, and have them evaluate them. Once they have awarded you your college credits, take a copy of those official transcripts to S1 and you will get 1 promotion point for every college credit. I know when I did mine; basic training was 6 college credits alone.
If you are close to finishing a degree, go ahead and finish it on the Army's dime. Take classes online or at a local college using Tuition Assistance. Once you finish it, submit a copy of your degree and you will get 10 promotion points. The degree has to be completed while you are in the Army to count.
Promotion Points Submission Deadline
Make sure your points are turned in to your S1 no later than the 8th of the month before. That is the cutoff date. For example, if you are trying to make points for a December 1st promotion, you need to have your points turned in by November 8th.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2012 Megan Garcia
LaNell Barrett on April 20, 2019:
I'm sure it's all evolved over the decades, and probably impossible for someone to sneak into the military before being of age. Or having a diploma or GED. But my late father did both. His first new shoes and set of new clothing were his Army issues, he once mentioned later in his life. Not to mention, he was fed. I know of a few interesting things that he leaked over the years, with my leading him into the conversational trap of telling. One, that he was in the honor guard, he was twice attached to then Vice President Nixon's protection detail (and both times Nixon struck up a conversation eith him). He had the highest scores with both rifle and mortar, higher than his commanding officet who scored 2nd. He was a mortarman in the Korean War.
And, I have his papers to verify, he left the Army after 8 years...as an E-9.
Corey on March 02, 2017:
This article was updated May 2016? By who? It is way off. You don't received points for deployments or NCOES schools any more (unless you are the honor grad, leadership awardee, or on the commandant's list). College credit hours are 1 for 2 now, not 1 for 1. I didn't finish reading it because I wasn't wasting my time, but there is probably more bad information.
Baby on October 24, 2016:
I understand that everything a soldier wants points for must be turned in by the 8th of every month. To me that seems as if soldiers are being set up for failure when they do not know exactly what the points will be for the following month. Is there a way to figure out what the points will be for the month that a soldier wants to get promoted?
Backbone on September 23, 2016:
This says it was updated this year but it is completely inaccurate. Points for NCOES now max out at 40. Points for Correspondence courses max out at 80. Points for Civilian Ed max out at 135. These are just a few of the inaccuracies.
strong on July 12, 2016:
promotion point system has changed
RM on April 25, 2016:
I got a career-high expert score in early February and my BN decided to drag out the two-minute process of adding it to my record for over a month, putting it on just after the 8th of the following month, so last month I actually made points but it didn't count. This month points are back to sky-high and I may never get promoted now. Lesson learned. Next time I have points to add, refuse to leave S1 until they show me that it's added, and NEVER rely on harassing my first line again.
eli on January 14, 2016:
This is not up to date with the new promotion system.
Nguta elizabeth on September 06, 2015:
Am just a pv2 and need to know if i have to let my nco know before i begin any classes.
Jd10mtn on March 30, 2015:
Do any of you know if jKo is still a valid way of completing correspondence hrs. If so which ones are valid.
Katrina91 on January 09, 2015:
I became promotable 30 Dec 2014. When will my points become effective and when can I get pinned?
SGT Airborne on January 01, 2015:
I have maxed my hours for correspondent course online. is there any way I can get a few more points in before the 8th? I have maxed PT and shot 37, just need some quick points fast, thanks.
Sassysweet10 on December 23, 2014:
Can you make your 800 points in a year?
angry bird on November 26, 2014:
I apologize, my support channel never allowed me to utilize the opportunities presented (denied my requests for air assault, GAFPB, combatives, had to beg and plead for CLS, etc. because I was too important at my job, yet never recognized me there either, no CoA's AAM's nothing and my end of tour award was bumped down to a JSAM, equivalent to an AAM just on the joint service side, because I am an E-4)
How do I make sergeant when my new leadership is telling me I deserve it yet I can't seem to make the points because when the do drop from 798 its to pick up one person
angry bird on November 26, 2014:
my points have been ridiculously high for a star MOS for about 3 years now, when I got to my first duty station they were 39, my support channel failed me and never gave me opportunities.... been promotable for over a year, have decent points for someone who wasn't in a deployable unit and again had a support channel that failed me so everything I did that deserved an award got denied or looked over, now im watching people who've been in less time and honestly don't deserve it get picked up because somehow in their 2 to 3 years of service they've accumulated over 550 promotion points.... I got another 3 years on my contract still an e-4 cant reclass that I know of and don't think I can go officer either (don't really wanna put in another 6 years if this is how it is to get promoted) watch sh*t bags get picked up and others are stuck as their subordinates
jaylivestrong on February 25, 2014:
I have been unable to find theses three courses
•Disk Operating System Course
•Word Processing Course
•Database Management Course
Can anyone help?
Cloncs on January 24, 2014:
My husband met the points for 63j #634 -everything turned in & was updated on PPW but the ERB never populated & his name wasn't on the E-5 list? What happened & what can he do?
Spc/p munoz on January 23, 2014:
My ppw just dropped my recommended E-5 yesterday the 22 of jan. My weapons and pt are up to date. I'm not flagged for anything. What happened???
Kathleen Cochran from Atlanta, Georgia on January 13, 2014:
Thank all y'all for your service. HOOAH
recruiterjim on December 27, 2013:
same as the last guy, I know information assurance is worth 40 hrs and so is environmental compliance officer.
Please post me any more courses you may have found... thank you
Redfalkon22 on December 19, 2013:
Hope you can help. I need what army called residential course. I am maxed out on Correspondence course I am stuck out here on recruiting trail and they don't allow you to go to army schools I have alc done already I just need online army school I have looked at the list that has the school you are supposed to go too but I don't know which one will give any points.. Please help
Megan Garcia (author) from Florida on November 22, 2013:
If you turned in your points today you would have to wait for the cutoff scores to be posted for January because they may change. But, if you have that many more points than the cutoff scores were this month, you should make it next month.
frustrated on November 22, 2013:
what do you do when you have done all there is to do and have 126 more promotion points than you need to be picked up but didn't because the intelligent adults working in S1 fails to integrate you?
armydude1985 on November 21, 2013:
So the cutoff scores came out today, if I turn in my points today and have enough to make Sgt, should I get promoted on jan. 1?
armyguy1805 on August 01, 2013:
I had points to make my E-5 but my unit didn't believe in automatic promotions and with them working me 80+ hours a week I didn't have time to go the the promotion board so i got out of the army. Its bad when you're being held from progressing in a career because they didn't have many signal soldiers and decided to work me the most.
Megan Garcia (author) from Florida on July 24, 2013:
The only way ait would count is if you went through the process of getting your aarts evaluated for college credit.
SGT Z on July 24, 2013:
I am E5 and will get in to my secondary zone in September. I had 450 promotional points and was doing correspondence courses to get more points. I got to 504 and suddenly it dropped all way back to 442. My AIT promotional points just disappeared. Should AIT be part of PP list or not?
Richard Bivins from Charleston, SC on May 15, 2013:
Great hub here for Army enlisted. I wish this were available when I was in the Army in the late 80's. I was lucky enough to befriend a young E-5 during my Medical training that confided in me about the Army correspondence courses. Also, I didn't take the advice of my uncle who told me to never volunteer for anything. I volunteered for everything and in doing so, I earned 2 ArComs, an EFMB, and several Army Achievement awards, plus all the extra training I received went on my permanent record. I became E-4 promotable in just 28 months after going in front of the Board with a total of 745 promotion points.
Ahhh the good old days.
Megan Garcia (author) from Florida on April 21, 2013:
If this nco isn't doing what he or she should be, take it to the next level in your chain of command. Just make sure you tell them you want to talk to the next higher rank.
Trying... on April 21, 2013:
So I've been in for over 10 yrs of active service, had to reclass so I could even stay in the Army...and still can't catch a break. The Army is all I know and want to do, Unfortunately the individual, who I won't name, does not like my new MOS and he hinmself has stateted, "every person has an MOS they don't like, and mine happens to be this particular MOS." Now for someone like me who has a lot of time in and even changed my job to stay in...how am I supposed to take that!? I think the situation is completely messed up, and reguardless if you don't like a particular MOS, being in that high of a job position, and someone who every soldier should be looking up too, they should want to look after soldiers and get them promoted. Am I right or am I just over thinking the process?? So here I am, qulified...meet all the critieria, can lead soldiers, know the BE, Know & Do that our CSM of the Army wants us to know, know and understand how the NCO Creed works! Being as professional as I can be. Trying to be a part of a time honor corp. I guess Im looking for some outside guidence so I can talk to someone about this, its not only effecting me and a few of my fellow soldiers, its making my troops think...hell if he can't get promoted...then why should i even try!? Looking for answers, I hope someone is out there??? Thanks
Megan Garcia (author) from Florida on March 30, 2013:
The points will usually show up on your ERB in about 3 weekdays.
SGT W on March 30, 2013:
So I did a whole lot of the Desktop Curriculum courses and the points were good to go. The only ones that seem to work are the ones that have the number of minutes its worth in the details, the ones with hours listed don't seem to be worth points. Also, I just completed several hours worth of courses listed under "army curriculum" (might have remembered that wrong, but its close) and then under ACE College credits. I only did courses with minutes in the details, it has been just a day or two and they have not posted, just wondering if they are worth points at all or if I wasted my time. I could just wait a week and find out but I thought Id ask here too. Thanks.
Megan Garcia (author) from Florida on March 24, 2013:
The Promotion Points Submission deadline is the date you need to have the documents turned in to your S1. This is on the 8th of the months. So if you turn in documents now to your S1 that are worth points, they would only be in effect for promotion on May 1st since it is before April 8th. I hope that makes sense.
To get your points put on your ERB, you just need to turn them in to your S1. For example, if you have awards of college transcripts, just make a copy and turn that into S1. Make sure you bring the original with you to let them look at and verify it is legit. If you have already done that and the information is listed on your ERB, then you are set. You just have to look for your name on the by name promotion list or check the cutoff scores to see if you made it.
I hope that answers your question but if not, please reply and I will be happy to help more.
CPL Snuffy on March 24, 2013:
Promotion Point Submission Deadline....?
i don't understand and im not getting any help from anyone....
i have points, i might be a couple shy or a couple over....so how do i submit points that are on my ERB?
im confused, and i need to get it done like time now.