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Your Career


5 Tips for Striking a Rate

Jason LeMay is a Corpsman diver, one of the more unique jobs in the Navy. But, he didn't start that way. Like many Sailors, he started his career undesignated. Through the PACT program, Sailors can find the rates that suit them best.

Standing in line at a new restaurant staring at the menu board can create fear and tension in the best of times.

Fortunately, any single decision made while looking at a food menu isn't normally a decision that will determine your whole career.

The Big Honkin' Burger sounds tasty but I couldn't live with myself if I didn't at least try the Turkey Brie melt. What if I never come back to this restaurant and get to order the Crab Cake Hoagie? Will I be able to live with myself?

Imagine sitting in the Navy recruiter's office forced to pick a job you'll spend the next four-plus years of your life doing; A job you know nothing about. The Navy's Professional Apprenticeship Career Tracks program, or PACT, enables even the most indecisive recruit the option to explore different ratings while still enlisting and protecting our country. Through the apprenticeship program, new undesignated Seamen can learn about the different Navy jobs without rogering up for one and getting stuck with a job they may not be suited for.

Perhaps you're already in the fleet mastering the needle gun, painting the side of the ship on three-section duty or chipping paint for a living. It's easy to feel defeated and just resign yourself to the daily undesignated seaman grind for the rest of your career. Keep your head up and remember that no one cares more about your career than you do.

Here are the five things Career Counselors want you to know about enlisting in the PACT program.

1. Stay involved with you chain of command and Command Career Counselor
PACT Sailors should meet with their chain of command and career counselors often to discuss their personal and professional goals, navigate the Career Waypoint system (or C-WAY), conduct Career Development Boards (CDBs), go over PACT designation quotas, and study for exams. Going through the PACT program for a year and 11 months, then finally informing your chain of tour intentions to join a certain rate is asking for the Navy to choose a job for you based upon available quotas, amongst other things.
"The most important thing is being engaged from the individual Sailor all the way up through the Chain of Command to the Commanding Officer," Said Senior Chief Career Counselor Harold "Butch" Gibbs, the USS George Washington(CVN-73) CCC."
Click here for the PACT Program Requirements

Link to PACT Program Requirements

2. Three different tracks to choose from
Prior to leaving for their first duty station, PACT Sailors pick a specific track to narrow their focus to Aviation, Engineering or Surface. There are a wide variety of jobs within each specific track to choose from.

"PACT places the Sailor in a better position to choose from a variety of ratings and gives them a chance to see a rating in its entirety," said Chief Navy Counselor (SW/EXW/AW) Jesse Reed, Navy Personnel Command Force career counselor. "The Sailor is provided an opportunity to learn more about a particular rate in order to better make a decision about what path they would like to follow."
Click here to go to the PACT Website

Link to PACT Website

3. Be aware of the timelines
PACT Sailors who are not designated into a specific rating within 12-months on board their first duty station may apply for an available Navy "A" school quota provided that they have maintained PACT program and "A" school eligibility. If a Sailor has not received a quota into a new rating within the original 24-month window, their projected rotation date will extend to their end of active obligated service. If they don't pick up a rating by their EAOS, they will be separated.

4. Know your Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB)
It is imperative to take the opportunity to retake the ASVAB if you score is lower than the rate you are looking at. There are many resources available through the Command Career Counselors (CCC) office to study and prepare to get a better score on the ASVAB.
"Know early what you're qualified for so you know right away if you need to retake the ASVAB instead of waiting until you are already eligible to select a rate but limited to low scores," Gibbs said.
  • Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Jason LeMay rides his bicycle in Key West, Florida.

    Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Jason LeMay rides his bicycle in Key West, Florida.

  • Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Jason LeMay waits on the dock at night in Key West, Florida.

    Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Jason LeMay waits on the dock at night in Key West, Florida.

5. Know your requirements
PACT guaranteed Sailors must maintain the eligibility requirements:
- Maintain job eligibility
- Have no non-judicial punishment with 12 months of attending "A" school
- Have passed the most recent physical readiness test and be within body composition standards
- Have no marks on performance evaluations below 3.0
- Maintain World-Wide assignment eligibility
- Meet service time obligation after "A" technical school for a follow on job assignment.
Click here to go to the PACT Detailing Website

Link to the PACT Detailing Website