Promotion from private first class (E3) to specialist or corporal (E4) is usually automatic. When a soldier meets time in grade (TIG) and time in service (TIS) requirements, he is eligible for promotion; soldiers must ordinarily have four months time in grade as a private first class and have served in the Army for a minimum of two years to earn an E4 position. With a waiver, however, a private first class can be promoted to specialist or corporal with three months TIG and 18 months TIS.

Generally, a private first class (E3) must have served in her current rank for a minimum of four months; however, an E3 with three months time in grade (TIG) is eligible for promotion to specialist (E4) if she is granted a waiver from her company first sergeant.

An E3 must have served in the Army for a minimum of 24 months to be considered eligible for promotion to E4. However, if a soldier has been granted a waiver by his company first sergeant, he may be eligible for promotion after 18 months time in service (TIS).

In order to obtain a TIG waiver, a soldier must not have any record of misbehavior or have been punished under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). A set number of waivers is available to each company every month, and company first sergeants may require soldiers to compete for them by attending Soldier of the Month Boards.


  • E3s who have demonstrated leadership ability and motivation levels greater than those of their peers are more likely to be granted waivers for promotion.

    Soldiers who are late to formation, show little to no leadership ability and who are simply "followers" are not granted waivers for promotion.

    When an E3 wishes to be promoted to E4, she must make her chain of command aware by telling her team leader.

    If a soldier's company first sergeant requires soldiers to attend a Soldier of the Month Board to earn a promotion waiver, the winner is generally the one who gets promoted. Military boards include questions on military and unit history, weapon systems, the Geneva Convention and other subjects from the Soldier's Manual of Common Tasks. Soldiers are also required to demonstrate competency in drill and ceremony and military customs and courtesies.


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