Leader's Tab

Career Path Counseling: "Connecting the Dots"

We've mentioned about Career Path Counseling in the last article.  In this article we will go into more depth on the mechanics of it.  Career Path Counseling applies to all soldiers.  The only difference between a Commissioned Officer and an enlisted person is that the enlisted person is on a 3 year timeframe.

Specifically we will be discussing the metrics of the first term non-prior soldier.  When we refer to the term "connecting the dots" we are talking about the requirements needed to be completed by the soldier in the allotted timeframe by the end of their first term.

"Where do we begin?"

We begin with the new soldier's initial interview with his/her 1SG or CSM.  As the 1SG sits down with the new soldier together they lay out the course of action that the new soldier needs to follow in their first term (3 years).  Together they should put a chronological plan on paper setting up timeframes and deadlines for completion.  Timing is of importance throughout this process.  The new soldier needs to complete Basic Training in the first six months of their enlistment to be eligible for PFC.  They will also need to focus on completing the Basic MEMS requirement.  This is not only a requirement for the IGR but this is also a requirement for eligibility to promotion to SGT (E-5).

Once the soldier becomes a PFC his 1SG or CSM should be getting the soldier prepped and enrolled into the Basic NCO course.  The Basic NCO course is a requirement for promotion to SGT (E-5).  The soldier needs 12 months time-in-grade (TIG) as a PFC to be eligible for promotion to Corporal (E-4).  These two promotions should take up one half of the soldiers first term (18 months).

The last step in the process is that the soldier needs 18 months TIG as a Corporal to be eligible for promotion to SGT E-5.  This last step consumes the remaining half of the soldiers first term.  Soldiers should understand that meeting these requirements only makes you eligible for promotion.   Attendance and active participation at drills is also part of the requirement for promotion.  Commanders, CSMs and 1SGs make the final determination on promotions.

To sum this all up, the new soldier needs to have completed Basic Training, Basic MEMS and Basic NCO course by the end of their first term of enlistment.  They also should have attained the rank of Corporal and either be a newly promoted SGT or about to be.

As you read this it may appear as though the whole course of action is to get the individual promoted.  Attaining a certain amount of rank will definitely help retain the soldier.  The ultimate motive behind this career path plan is that we are training the soldier to be a Leader in the IGR.  And as I've said before this is where the "rubber meets the road."

(Previous Leader's Tab articles)