In the Army, you have to meet several criteria if you want to be promoted. The first is a minimum amount of time in service, then a minimum amount of time in the grade (or rank) you hold now. Once you've met the minimum time requirements, you get selected to go before a promotion board. Then your promotion points are added up and if you meet the minimum amount of points that were set forth that month for your military occupational specialty (MOS), you are promoted. To calculate your promotion points, you need to look at all your achievements.
Print a copy of your Enlisted Record Brief (ERB). This can be done by accessing your Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) through the Human Resources Command iPERMS website, or you can pay a visit to your S1 to ask for a copy. Your ERB is a snapshot of all your military achievements and your civilian college credits, and it contains all the necessary information you'll need to calculate most of your promotion points.
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Check out your ERB. It's divided into several sections. One of the first things to look for is your weapon qualification score. Your score should reflect the most recent time you went to the range, and it can't be older than two years ago. If you shot 40 out of 40 with your M-16 or M-4, you have 50 promotion points. For every shot you missed, you get fewer points. Some soldiers will be assigned a main weapon other than one of these, and scores will vary accordingly. For a complete list of weapon qualification scores and corresponding promotion points, look at chart 3-19 on page 48 of Army Regulation 600-8-19 (see Resources).
Look for the score from your last Physical Training (PT) test. If you got the maximum 300 points, you have 50 promotion points. If you scored lower than 300, you have fewer promotion points. For a complete list of the promotion points you got for your score, look at table 3-20 on page 48 of Army Regulation 600-8-19.
Add up promotion points for each of your awards. Most ribbons you have on the ribbon rack for your Class A uniform will be an award or achievement worth anywhere between 5 and 35 promotion points, depending on what award it is. You also earn promotion points for any tabs you were awarded (like Special Forces or Sapper), and any badges you earned (like Airborne or Combat Medic). For a complete list of promotion points awarded for military awards and achievements, consult page 49 in Army Regulation 600-8-19.
Look at your education. You have two sections for this, one for military education and one for college education. You are awarded promotion points for both. Pages 50 through 52 of Army Regulation 600-8-19 break down the points you earn based on the number of completed hours or credits you've earned toward your education.
Tell your leaders you want to be selected to go before the promotion board. If they select you, your commander will give you up to 200 administrative points based on his evaluation of your overall duty performance. Then the board members will each give you points based on your performance at the board. After the board, your points will be officially entered on a DA 3355 form and you will wait for Army-wide promotion point requirements to come out for the following month. If you meet the minimum point requirements for your MOS, your S1 will inform the command and a promotion ceremony will be held for you on or around the 1st of that month. If you do not meet minimum points, you will either have to earn more or hope that the Army drops the points in the next couple of months. Your points don't expire, so you can end up waiting a long time if points don't come down.