It’s an up-or-out Navy. And most sailors want to know when they can expect their next advancement.

With the Navy set to release the fall advancement results before Thanksgiving, the hard fact is that nearly three-quarters of all sailors passing their tests won’t be advanced, meaning these sailors must set their sights on next March, when the cycle starts all over again.

Many factors go into a sailor’s advancement. Among them: Performance evaluations, test score, awards, time in grade and even the number of times you’ve passed your exam but failed to meet the cutoff for advancement.

But the biggest factor that sailors have no control of is simply the number of vacancies open in a particular rating.

The Navy calls this “statistic “opportunity,” meaning the number of open slots, and it directly affects the percentage of eligible sailors who passed their advancement exams who are ultimately tapped for advancement.

There is a big difference among the Navy’s ratings, as some jobs allow sailors to advance quickly while others much less so.

Navy Times has been tracking advancement data for years. Over time, many communities and ratings have proven to be traditionally strong performers, while others are not.

For example, making first-class petty officer will, on average, take about five and a half years for a gas turbine systems technician or nuclear trained machinist mate. But reaching the same E-6 paygrade will take about 10 years for a utilitiesman, equipment operator or construction mechanic.

Source: Naval Education and Training Command. (Graphic by Devan Feeney)
Source: Naval Education and Training Command. (Graphic by Devan Feeney)

Navy Times recently obtained five years of advancement data from Naval Education and Training Command, offering a detailed look at every rating and paygrade across the fleet.

We crunched this data to offer a five-year average, a snapshot showing both advancement opportunity — the percent of sailors who move up — and the average time in service and time in grade for those sailors who step up in rank.