How to Make Staff Sergeant in the Air Force

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One of the major steps in a successful Air Force career is promotion to staff sergeant. The promotion signifies inclusion into the ranks of the non-commissioned officer corps, as well as the chance to supervise and lead airmen. Making the rank is not a given and achieving this goal requires work and dedication.

Work with your supervisor to ensure your Enlisted Performance Report score is as high as possible. Enlisted Performance Reports, or EPRs, make up 135 points for promotion selection. The average score for staff sergeant was 275.81 among promotees and EPR scores will account for nearly half of your total score.

Score well on the Professional Development Guide (PDG) Test. Your PDG score will account for a maximum of 100 points towards promotion. Establishing a pattern of study that lasts throughout the year will increase the chance of recalling information at test time. Cramming for an exam the night before is not a good strategy.

Score well on the Specialty Knowledge Test (SKT). The SKT is also worth 100 points towards promotion and is based on the 5-level requirements of the career field in which an airman is currently enrolled. Job qualification and completion of 5-level CDCs will provide significant training, but continued study is required to maximize score potential for test day.

Earn medals. Earning medals just for promotion is not generally looked favorably upon, but performing a task well is always respected. Continued exceptional performance is often recognized in medal packages, and medals like the Air Force Achievement Medal add points towards promotion.


Additional points are awarded for time in grade and time in service, but airmen cannot actively change these for additional points. For promotion to staff sergeant, test scores are the most significant contributor to determining eligibility.


Do not study with others while preparing for promotion. Group study is a violation of Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, failure to obey a lawful written order.