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Navy PA Promotion Preparation - Basic

Navy PA Promotion Preparation - Basic

It is very important for Navy PAs to continuously prepare for promotion. So many of us are motivated by the desire to care for our Sailors and Marines and their families, and to serve our country.  We need to promote periodically to enjoy that opportunity.

Of course, the promotion boards will be looking at each officer's record. It is therefore very important that we each take time on a regular basis to update and maintain our officer records.


The promotion board will be looking at your:

  • Fitness Report and Counseling Records (FITREPs)
  • Officer Summary Record (OSR)
  • Performance Summary Report (PSR)

You can view all of these from BUPERS Online (BOL).

To verify they are kept current or to make any updates, I recommend CAPT Joel Schofer's Promotion Prep document, which he regularly adds to.

That document will guide you through updating the systems that feed the OSR/PSR and ODC to ensure that your record properly reflects things such as:

  • FITREPs accurately represented
  • Awards listed in NDAWS
  • Academic degrees listed
  • Additional Qualification Designation Codes (AQDs)
  • Sub-Specialty Codes
  • Service Schools attended
  • ...and more

See also the most recent Officer Record Management brief


Write good excellent FITREPs

 Much information is available about this, and I refer you to this presentation as an excellent example.

Of course, you want your summary trait average to break out above the group, and preferably in a competitive pool (not just one of one).

Also reach for high visibility collateral duties. If the person signing your FITREP doesn't know you, there's a problem somewhere. Ensure that you help your CO facilitate their command initiatives at a level appropriate for your rank and position.

Bear in mind always that:

"Proven and sustained superior performance in command or other leadership positions in difficult and challenging assignments is a definitive measure of fitness for promotion. Furthermore, successful performance and leadership in combat conditions demonstrate exceptional promotion potential and should be given special consideration."

(quotes from the FY20 Staff Corps O4 promotion selection board convening order)


Don't neglect the basics

You will need to ensure there are no breaks in the dates of your FITREPs.

Make sure you take care to avoid costly mistakes.

  • Don't get a legal action (such as a DUI) or NJP
  • Don't fail a body composition or fitness test

Ensure you are seeking out important leadership positions.

  • Division officer
  • Department head
  • Battalion surgeon
  • Senior medical officer
  • etc


Develop your knowledge, skills, and abilities

Seek out and apply for relevant service schools to establish and maintain relevance in operational medicine.

Here is a list of the service schools currently available to officers in Navy medical billets:

Some are more relevant to the Navy PA than others. Look for schools relevant to healthcare leadership, and to operational medicine (operational in the martial or military sense of the word).

More to follow about Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs)

You may also benefit from obtaining Additional Qualifier Designations (AQDs). Please confer the list of AQDs available to MSC officers below (incomplete list):


Plan your career in context

Think about where you want to go with your Navy PA career, and work with your career mentor and your Assistant Specialty Leader (ASL) to get there. Do this in the context of building your capabilities and your career, with the appropriate level of responsibility at the appropriate time. (And, to borrow a line from the Air Force, Aim High)

Navy PA Career Planning Road Map 2014 - Credit: Kishla Askins


As you can see in the theoretical and practical framework represented above, leadership courses and leadership positions figure prominently.

"The Navy requires officers of exceptionally high professional, operational, clinical, and business competence with the intellectual capacity to think analytically and express themselves articulately. They must have the energy to create and communicate the organization's vision, as well as build and motivate teams to accomplish that vision."


Duty Under Instruction (DUINs) Fellowships are also considered valuable, as are continuing education and professional development. The Navy values ongoing graduate education. This is including, but not limited to Joint Professional Military Education (JPME).


Operational tours are increasingly more important, and recent promotion board convening guidance from the Navy has indicated that they may be necessary for promotion.

"Officers best and fully qualified for promotion to commander and below in Navy Medicine are those who have demonstrated tactical mastery of their specialty and demonstrated superior leadership in the clinical, scientific, academic and/or operational settings. Best and fully qualified officers for the rank of commander and below will be those who have demonstrated superior sustained performance in jobs that demonstrate increasing responsibility, scope and complexity across the spectrum of military medicine, inclusive of operational platforms."


The MSC Midgrade Officer Sea-Bag can be a useful document with additional guidance.


As usual, an archive of useful career planning documents is maintained at for logged in users (current and former members can log in), along with full archives of the MSC Rudder newsletter, and other useful information. Please feel free to browse the document repository --- and please contribute some yourself if you have useful documents to share.


What would you like to add to this discussion? Please feel free to comment below, or to continue the discussion in our forums.




Ari Doucette

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