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Where are you now? Are you ready to take the next step?

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Recently I was in my office trying to think of a topic for Team Talk. As I looked around and pondered different subjects to write about there was a chart titled "Promotion Requirements," staring back at me that prompted me to start writing.

Where are you? Are you ready to take the next step? "Promotion Requirements" should be burned in every servicemember's permanent long term memory. It is the enlisted servicemember's roadmap to a long and successful military career. The chart has the breakdown on Air Force requirements for promotion from Airman to Chief Master Sgt. As a first sergeant, one of my duties is to keep you informed on this information. I also want to make sure the section supervisors are monitoring their subordinates career progression and giving them feedback and direction. All of us were introduced to a quick overview of this by our instructors in basic military training and tech school, but we now need to really understand this process to be productive Airmen.

I am 28 years into this process and my advice is to always be prepared for the next rank. There were some stagnant times in my career progression, but I always completed my Career Development Courses and Professional Military Education, even when there were no slots available for the next promotion. You should complete all of your CDCs in a timely manner in order to be upgraded to your next skill level. Timely progression from the one, three, five, seven and nine skill levels is essential for your career advancement. You must complete your PME to be promoted, which includes the Airman Leadership School, the Non-Commissioned Officer Academy and the Senior Non-Commissioned Officer Academy.

Being ready and qualified before the slots become available is the key to getting promoted. ANG-36 -2502 has all of the criteria for being promoted in addition to other key attributes. These attributes include your work ethic, work attitude and willingness to be a leader and lead by example. Also, there are Air Force Pamphlets such as The Enlisted Force Structure AFI 36-2618, the little brown book, which defines the roles and responsibilities of each rank in a tier format. The first tier is the Junior Enlisted Airman Tier (E1-E4), the NCO Tier (E5- E6) and the SNCO Tier (E7-E9).

The Airmen in the 117th Air Refueling Wing need to meet both with their section supervisors and their section training managers to set up career action plans.

Are you ready to take the next step? Your answer should be "Yes." If your answer is "No," I hope I have given you some vital information to get on the right track.
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