In the Army, your rank not only indicates your pay grade, but also the amount of responsibility you hold. Corporals, for example, may be responsible for a small team of Soldiers, while a major general could hold command of anywhere between 10,000-15,000 Soldiers. Learn about the ranks of each Soldier type by clicking on the tabs below.

While the amount of time spent in each rank is based on averages, you can often accelerate the promotion process by taking advantage of additional training and schooling opportunities.

  • Enlisted Soldier
  • Warrant Officer
  • Officer


PRIVATE (PVT)

Private is the lowest rank. Most Soldiers receive this rank during Basic Combat Training. This rank does not carry an insignia.

Private (PV2)

 

PRIVATE SECOND CLASS (PV2)

Enlisted Soldiers generally receive this rank after either completion of Basic Combat Training, or six months of Army service.

Private First Class (PFC)

PRIVATE FIRST CLASS (PFC)

Soldiers are generally promoted to this level within a year by request of a supervisor. Soldiers serving at this rank make up the backbone of the Army. Their primary role is to carry out orders and complete missions.

Specialist (SPC)

SPECIALIST (SPC)

A specialist can manage other lower-ranked enlisted Soldiers. A Soldier can be promoted to this rank after serving a minimum of two years and attending a training class. Recruits with a four-year degree may enter Basic Combat Training as a specialist.

Corporal (CPL)

CORPORAL (CPL)

Corporal is the base level of the noncommissioned officer (NCO) ranks. Corporals serve as team leader of the smallest Army units. Like sergeants, they are responsible for individual training, personal appearance and cleanliness of Soldiers.

Sergeant (SGT)

SERGEANT (SGT)

Sergeants typically command a fire team of around five Soldiers. Sergeants oversee Soldiers in their daily tasks, and are expected to set a standard for lower-ranked Soldiers to live up to.

Staff Sergeant (SSG)

STAFF SERGEANT (SSG)

A staff sergeant commands a squad (nine to 10 Soldiers). Often, a staff sergeant will have one or more sergeants under his or her leadership. They are responsible for developing, maintaining and utilizing the full range of a Soldier's potential.

Sergeant First Class (SFC)

SERGEANT FIRST CLASS (SFC)

As the key assistant and advisor to the platoon leader, the sergeant first class generally has 15 to 18 years of Army experience.

Master Sergeant (MSG)

MASTER SERGEANT (MSG)

The master sergeant is the principal noncommissioned officer at the battalion level and higher.

First Sergeant (1SG)

FIRST SERGEANT (1SG)

The first sergeant is the principal NCO and life-blood of a company. He is the disciplinarian and counselor. He instructs other sergeants, advises the commander and helps train all enlisted Soldiers. He assists officers at the company level (62 to 190 Soldiers).

Sergeant Major (SGM)

SERGEANT MAJOR (SGM)

Sergeants major serve as the chief administrative assistants for an Army headquarters, but their sphere of influence regarding leadership is generally limited to those directly under their charge. They are key enlisted members of staff elements at battalion level or higher.

Command Sergeant Major (CSM)

COMMAND SERGEANT MAJOR (CSM)

Command sergeants major are the senior enlisted advisors to the commanding officer. They carry out policies and standards and advise the commander on the performance, training, appearance and conduct of enlisted Soldiers. A command sergeant major is assignable to battalion level or higher.

Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA)

SERGEANT MAJOR OF THE ARMY

There's only one Sergeant Major of the Army. The SMA oversees all noncommissioned officers. He serves as the senior enlisted advisor and consultant to the Chief of Staff of the Army.

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Ranks