FORT KNOX, Ky. — Soldiers interested in moving to a specialty with good promotion and career prospects may do well to check out a menu of 14 priority MOSs that meet those requirements, but that have some demanding application criteria.

These priority jobs, most of which require a secret or top secret clearance and above-average vocational aptitude scores, are called "by application" military occupational specialties.

That is because applicants must be cleared by the specialty's proponent agency, such as a branch service school or center of excellence, before getting a final nod of approval from Human Resources Command.

As of late-September, there were 14 by-application career fields and MOSs open to reclassification in the Regular Army.

Included are the specialties :

• CMF 18 (Special Forces).

• 12D (diver), an engineer specialty.

• 12P (prime power production specialist), another engineer specialty.

• 17C (cyber operations specialist), the Army's newest MOS.

• 25D (cyber network defender), a signal specialty.

• 31D (CID special agent), a military police specialty.

• 35L (counterintelligence agent), a military intelligence specialty.

• 37F (psychological operations), a special operations MOS.

• 38B (civil affairs), a special operations MOS.

• 46Q (public affairs specialist).

• 46R (broadcast specialist), another public affairs MOS.

• 51C (contracting NCO), an Army Acquisition Corps specialty.

• 79R (recruiter), a career specialty for soldiers who have successfully served as detailed recruiters.

• 89D (explosive ordnance disposal), a special operations MOS.

Soldiers who are interested in a possible transfer to one of these specialties can conduct their own research, but eventually should contact their local career counselor, according to Jim Bragg, chief of the enlisted reclassification and retention branch here at Human Resources Command.

"Career counselors not only can tell prospective applicants if they meet the minimum criteria, but they can assist soldiers in putting together an application packet," Bragg said.

If the application is approved by the proponent, HRC will then process the soldier for final approval and reclassification.

Another good place to research possible reclassification candidates is the Special MOS Alignment Promotion Program.

Specialties in the SMAPP program allow soldiers in an overstrength MOS to move to a specialty with good career prospects, and upon re-enlistment and completion of training are promoted to sergeant or staff sergeant.

The target specialties include:

• 31D (CID special Agent).

• 35L (counterintelligence agent).

• 29E (electronic warfare specialist).

• 12P (prime power specialist).

• 51C (contracting NCO).

• 25D (cyber network defender).

• 25E (electromagnetic spectrum manager).

While soldiers do not need to be in promotable status, they must meet time-in-service and time-in-grade requirements for advancement to the next higher grade.

For specific criteria and application procedures, soldiers should contact their local career counselor.

Bragg said it is important for soldiers who are interested in changing their MOS to consult the latest version of reclassification In/Out calls, which will indicate the relative strength status of the various specialties.For the latest in/out calls click here.

"If a soldier's MOS is overstrength at the current grade, that's an indicator he or she may want to reclassify," he said.

When researching possible candidates for reclassification, soldiers should look at the strength status of an MOS one grade above their current rank. If it is overstrength, promotion prospects in that specialty are not very good.

"That is really what it comes down to," Bragg said. "With the retention control point for specialists now at eight years, they will have to get promoted after their first re-enlistment if they want to stay in the Army. Soldiers need to look for specialties that have a viable career path."

As part of the ongoing reduction in the size of the active component, personnel managers are using the Qualitative Service Program to align the MOS structure of the force to meet future manning requirements.

Under QSP, soldiers in the ranks of staff sergeant and above are subject to possible involuntary separation or early retirement if their MOS is overstrength or has poor promotion prospects or the future.

"If we do this right, soldiers only will be given a QSP screening once," Bragg said. "After an MOS is (screened under QSP), promotions should continue, and back to normal."

Soldiers who are interested in reclassifying should not ignore an MOS just because it was looked at for QSP, he said.

"That seems to be the mindset of the Army, but once an MOS is screened, the career track and promotions should return to normal.

Another good indicator of long-term prospects of the various enlisted MOS, are the selection statistics generated by this year's sergeant first class board.

The average select rate for that board was 25 percent, with rates for specific career fields ranging from 3 percent to nearly 100 percent for some of the high-speed, priority MOS, such as Special Forces.

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