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What is fastest way to increase rank when starting out?

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John’s Answer

The system is designed to not allow you to increase rank too fast. The reason for this is that they have a number of requirements in the military some like time in grade can be waved but only so many times and only so much. Also, each job has its own requirements. In the U.S. Army, there is a point system once you make the rank of Specialist and are going for Sergeant. The reason for this is to slow down promotions so you do not have too many people in the highest ranks.

Now how do you get promoted as quickly as possible? Once you are in be the best. It is that easy. Be the best in your schools. Be the best for the physical fitness test. Go get some college done (every base has an academic center that will help you sign up for classes), Become the subject matter expert with the equipment you use on the job. Don't forget your basic skills. They need to be as perfect as you can get them as well.

Much like the civilian world, the military wants you to be the best at what you do but unlike the civilian world you have to also be morally and mentally strong. Stay out of trouble!

Oh, and while you're doing all this. Try to make friends otherwise, it really isn't worth it.

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Derek’s Answer

Some military occupational specialties (MOS) allow for faster advancement through a written contract with the recruiter. For enlisted, those Marines are referred to as "contract" PFC (E2), LCPL (E3), or CPL (E4). In those instances, a Marine is appointed a PFC upon initial entry on active duty (graduates from Boot Camp). Advancement to Lance Corporal (LCPL) or Corporal (CPL) are then set on a timeline, given you don't get into any trouble along the way. If you don't negotiate promotions via contract, your advancement will depend on your performance and the MOS you are performing in.

Derek recommends the following next steps:

Talk with the recruiter to understand what options you have, given the MOS you quality for.
Remember, depending on the MOS you choose, there may be limited rank advancement opportunities.

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Tim’s Answer

Before you join if you take some college classes would help. A college degree would help jumping you up to an officer or an O-1. If you are in High School, then Boy scouts, Civil Air Patrol, JR ROTC, or college credits.

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John’s Answer


I posted the below response to another question. I hope this helps.

Enlisted or commissioned? Which branch? Which Rate/MOS? These things matter.

Myself for instance:

I am an Enlisted Navy Sailor ad have been in for 14 years. To get where I am now, I have had to diversify my billet background by taking tough jobs in different areas of the Navy to show my versatility. It has been [reached since I joined to take full advantage of educational benefits, volunteer opportunities, and leaderships positions. I believe that these things have professionally and personally developed me, leading me into the direction to be ready to handle the stresses of being promoted.