Before considering cross rating in the Navy, there are two terms often used to describe the status of an enlisted member in the Navy you should know.
These terms are rate and rating.
In the Navy, the rate is the pay grade (or rank) of the sailor, which is related to how long a Sailor has been in the service.
However, the rating is the occupation the sailor has while serving in the Navy.
There are many reasons why a Sailor may want to change their rating after enlistment.
The reasons may be related to a lack of personal fulfillment in the current field.
Other times it is due to advancement opportunities.
Either way, the process of changing your rating is simple.
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How to Qualify for Cross Rating in the Navy
The first step to changing your rating is to ensure you meet the requirements to apply for a change.
First, you must have a minimum of 24 months (2 years) in your current rating.
Furthermore, you need less than 12 years in the Navy either as active duty or in the Navy Reserves.
Also, you must not have any non-judicial punishments (NJP) on your record.
Your rank cannot be above a Petty Officer 1st class.
Also, you must visit with your commanding officer regarding the request and gain their support and recommendation.
Now that the basic requirements are out of the way and you have the support of your commander, you may visit with the Command Career Counselor.
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How the Command Career Counselor Can Help with Cross Rating
The goal of the Navy Career Counselor is to make sure Sailors have enough career information so they can make long-term career planning decisions.
The counselor will verify you meet the requirements for a rating change and help to ensure your decision helps serve your long-term career goals.
Also, you must complete the Enlisted Personnel Action Request Form 1306/7.
This form is your official and formal request for the rating change.
The request is forwarded to the Navy Personnel Command, Enlisted Distribution and Readiness Branch through your chain of command.
Once approved, it is time to complete training related to your new Navy rating.
Training usually consists of A school to gain the technical skills of your new occupation, which is then followed by on-the-job training to complete your training.
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Reasons to Consider a Rating Change
For some, cross rating in the Navy is related to realizing the occupation they are currently in is not enjoyable or suitable.
Just like in the civilian world, people often realize their goals and aspirations lead somewhere other than they initially expected.
Other times Sailors never had the opportunity to take the rating they preferred when they first enlisted.
Sometimes ratings are not available at the right time.
Therefore, Sailors will wait for their opportunity to cross-train and develop new skills.
Also, there are times a rating change will create an opportunity for faster promotions.
Some careers do not have as many available open slots in the higher ranks, which leads to slower promotions.
Therefore, there are fewer opportunities for advancement.
On the other hand, other ratings allow for quicker advancements, making them attractive to Sailors.
A career counselor is skilled at helping Sailors find a balance between overall career goals and related promotion opportunities.
There are many reasons a Sailor may want to cross rate in the Navy.
Sometimes there is not enough satisfaction with the current rating.
Other times it is due to the desire to promote quicker.
Either way, the first step is to ensure you meet all the necessary requirements.
After verifying those requirements are met, it is time to gain the support of your commanding officer.
After talking to a career counselor, you are ready to submit your request form and prepare for training in your new career.