Here is still another area where you can stand out and be different. Most soldiers overlook this opportunity bucket and are late to the party and delay starting college coursework.
Civilian Education offers a Kings ransom of up to 135- points for SGT E-5 and 160-points for SSG E-6. This represents about 17% and 20% of the total 800-points available, respectively.
I recommend that all soldiers, immediately upon arriving at their first duty station, enroll in their first college course. This allows for the process to begin, even if super slow, so that you wake up as an E-4 or E-5 and have this bucket well under control.
If you have already started college courses or have earned a degree, congratulations! You are already ahead of the curve and have a distinct advantage as you get into the widow for promotion to SGT E-5 or SSG E-6.
Here are some specific ways to earn Civilian Education promotion points:
Each Semester Hour Completed = 2-points
Degree Completion on Active Duty = 20-points
CLEP Tests = 2-points per credit hour
Technical Certifications = 10-points each (Max 50)
All in all, there are many ways for you to build a portfolio of promotions points that will be the envy of your buddies.