View Full Version : Off Duty Education...important or not?

08-10-2013, 11:25 PM
Let me make one point clear before I ask my question, I am AF and don't know much about Army life.

With that being said, a few weeks ago, I was on the plane coming back to Europe when I met a new female private going to her first post overseas. I striked up a conversation with her and wanted to see what kind of basic training she went through as well as how AIT (Tech school for me) was like.
When I mentioned that off duty education was really important ( especially in the AF if you want to promote) and I adviced her that she should get as much of it while she's in the Army. However, she gave me a confused look and then asked me "Why should I be concern about education? Shouldn't I be more concern about my doing well at my job?" Before I can explain more, another more experience soldier started talking to her about Army life.
So, is off duty education important in the Army? Is it considered for promotion?

08-11-2013, 12:23 AM
The rule of thumb is that starting early will set you up for success later. The party line is that when considered for E7 one should have completed an associates degree. E7 is when the Army begins promoting using centralized boards - the smoke filled room type when senior NCOs pour over records and those considered for promotion are not present.

If one has an associate degree at this point, they are considered a success. So naturally those that have a bachelors degree will exceed the standard. Civilian education is but one area in which a soldier must excel. Considering there is tuition assistance and the GI Bill, most senior NCOs look at it as a "gimme". No reason not to have an associates degree as an E6 seeking promotion to E7. Can a soldier get selected for E7 without the associates? Sure. But with a shrinking Army only those that appear to want to be there will get promoted. I'm not saying it is the right way to look at it, but that is how it is looked at. An exception to this rule would be the E6 that has 9 years in the Army with 5 combat deployments. Obvious to anyone this NCO did have many opportunities to get to the education center.

A masters degree will pretty much be all that is needed for E8 and E9. A doctorate can send a mixed message: you spent so much time on civilian education you can't possibly know your job or you neglected your leadership responsibilities.

08-11-2013, 12:42 AM
When Soldiers are E-4 and getting ready for a promotion board (no board if in the National Guard); civilian education are a part of their overall points. Also, when Soldiers in-process, they need to make a pass and get signed off at the Ed Center. Point is that off-duty education is stressed for every Soldier. I keep re-enforcing it all the times for my troops and I am a Chief Warrant Officer with a master's degree and I earned mine while on active duty. I started it when I was stationed in Germany and finished while deployed and then stationed stateside.

Here are some good links.



08-11-2013, 01:21 AM
Who's to really define the value of a degree? Teresa King, the commandant of the Army's Drill Sergeant school has a "doctor of divinity" degree from the American Institute of Holistic Theology; this outfit is unaccredited and sells diplomas for money. I'd guess that her degree was probably the LAST thing considered on her rise to be command ant, but who knows?

I suspect that ultimately, she was the best, most qualified candidate for the job and all others (to include ANY combat veteran) just couldn't make the cut. She avoided combat zones for over ten years, but hey: best to train the trainers, you know!

So, anyway, get a degree. It probably won't help, but it can't hurt.

08-11-2013, 01:46 AM
In regards to Teresa King... a quick glance at some of the "demographics" may she some light on how that selection was made.

08-11-2013, 09:48 PM
Thanks for the responses, it seems that the AF and Army are similar when it comes to off duty education. Of course I'm assuming there are some MOSs that might ease off on the off duty education then others. Please tell me if I am wrong or not?

One thing I did learn from this forum is that the Army is using boards for E7 promotion whereas the AF only uses boards for E8 and E9. Promotion to E5-E7 is done through testing only and then E8/E9 is a combination of testing and board score.