What are the Ranks in the Air Force?

What are the Ranks in the Air Force?

Ranks are a big deal in any branch of military service. Yet, you will find that each service has a different ranking system and different titles overall. It makes sense then that the Air Force is no different in this regard. For instance, there is no First Sergeant rank within the Air Force like how the Army or Marines have. Rather the equivalent of that rank is treated more as a job title. This is demonstrated by having a diamond within the insignia that denotes who has this duty.

The first ranks we will look at will be the E Grade.

E Grade means “Enlisted”. If you enlist with the Air Force, you will start off at an E-something. The further your number next to the E goes up, the higher pay you will have. Also, with that higher pay usually will bring larger job responsibilities as is typical with any kind of increased pay.

After the E segment, we will explore the other ranks for people starting off or graduating to the officer ranks (also known as O)

Let us dive in, shall we?

Enlisted Grades:

  • E-1 Title – Airman Basic
  • E-2 Title – Airman
  • E-3 Title – Airman First Class
  • E-4 Title – Senior Airman
  • E-5 Title – Staff Sergeant
  • E-6 Title – Technical Sergeant
  • E-7 Master Sergeant
  • E-8 Title – Senior Master Sergeant
  • E-9 Title  – Chief Master Sergeant
  • E-9 Title – Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force

Below is the list of ranks that officers travel through during their time in the Air Force. You can join the Air Force as an officer, but in order to do so you first will need a degree of some kind to qualify to serve as such. Do not lost hope if you decide that college is not the route you want to take. You can eventually graduate into being an officer from the enlisted grade. Many people who enlist with the Air Force also attend college course work during that time to speed up the time until they can graduate into an officer rank.

Officer Grades:

  • O-1 Title – Second Lieutenant
  • O-2 Title – first Lieutenant
  • O-3 Title – Captain
  • O-4 Title –  Major
  • O-5 Title – Lieutenant Colonel
  • O-6 Title – Colonel
  • O-7 Title Brigadier General
  • O-8 Title – Major General
  • O-9 Title – Lieutenant General
  • O-10 Title – General Air Force Chief of Staff
  • Special Title – General of the Air Force

As you can see, there is a lot of progression that can be achieved from within the Air Force. Maybe one day once you become officer, you will even stand a shot of rising up to being the General of the Air Force – a very prestigious position that directly commands and moves the Air Force as an entirety.

First of course, you will need to get that degree either by enlisting at the E grade or by getting a college education to start right off the bat as an officer. Whichever route you go, the military can often be an incredibly exciting career with lucrative benefits, a solid retirement plan and full of interesting work and places you can end up traveling to.

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