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Things to Consider When Deciding Whether to Join The Navy

Promotions

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DUBLIN, IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 01: A member of the US Navy salutes during the Irish National Anthem prior to the Notre Dame vs Navy game at Aviva Stadium on September 1, 2012 in Dublin, Ireland.
Barry Cronin / Getty Images

Individuals enlisting in the Navy can receive advanced promotion, up to the rank (rate) of Seaman (E-3), for such things as college credits, JROTC, Eagle Scout, Civil Air Patrol, etc. Additonally, the Navy offers accelerated promotions to the paygrade of E-4 for enlistment in certain fields such as the Nuclear Field, or SEAL, and enlistment in the AEF/ATF programs. Navy Enlisted Promotions to E-2 and E-3 are based on a combination of time-in-service and time-in-grade. Sailors are promoted to E-4 through E-7, based on a combination of promotion points, and results of a 200 question written test. Generally, about one-half of the questions are about general Navy subjects, and the other half covers the specific rating (job). Those considered for promotion to E-7 must also be selected by a Navy-wide promotion selection board. Navy enlisted promotions to E-8 and E-9 are also made by a Navy-wide promotion board.

Actual promotion rates depend on your Navy job. It's a lot easier to get promoted in a job in which the Navy is experiencing a significant shortage of manpower than in a job that doesn't have a shortage. Additionally, it's often almost impossible to get promoted if you are in a job that is significantly overmanned, unless you volunteer to re-train into a shortage job. On the other hand, there are a handful of Navy jobs, at any given time, that are so undermanned that the Navy has established a 100 percent promotion rate for everyone within that job.

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