Enlisted Ranks

Enlisted Ranks (grade E-1 to E-9) in the Army are the lower of the 3 Total Army Ranks. Enlisted Soldiers make up the majority of the US Army and are ranked from Private (E-1) to Sergeant Major of the Army (E-9). The roles of each enlisted rank past Private First Class (E-3) entitle you more and more responsibility.

When first entering the Army, you will be under the enlisted ranks between E-1 and E-4 (Specialist). Your rank when entering the Army is determined on things such as if you’ve completed an APFT for your recruiter, referred someone, or have college credits. E-4 is the highest among the enlisted rank that you may enter the US Army and Basic Training.

Enlisted Ranks E-5 and above are referred to as NCOs, short for non-commissioned officers. Corporals are also considered to be non-commisioned officers, and serve as the base of the non-commissioned Officer (NCO) ranks.

Address sergeants, staff sergeants, and sergeants first class as “Sergeant (last name).” Address higher ranking sergeants by their full Army ranks in conjunction with their names.


Private (PVT)

Grade: E1

Private (PV2)

Grade: E2

Private First Class (PFC)

Grade: E3


Specialist (SPC)

Grade: E4

Corporal (CPL)

Grade: E4
When a SPC is placed in a leadership position, they are usually laterally promoted to Corporal.


Sergeant (SGT)

Grade: E5
This is the first Army rank as a non-commissioned officer (NCO). Usually in charge of a Team.

Staff Sergeant (SSG)

Grade: E6
Usually in charge of a Squad.

Sergeant First Class (SFC)

Grade: E7
Usually in charge of a Platoon.


Master Sergeant (MSG)

Grade: E8

First Sergeant (1SG)

Grade: E8
More common for leadership-related roles. Usually in charge of a Company.


Sergeant Major (SGM)

Grade: E9
Usually in charge of a Battalion.

Command Sergeant Major (CSM)

Grade: E9
Usually in charge of a Brigade.

Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA)

Grade: E9

How much money do Enlisted Soldiers make?

Enlisted soldiers in the Army are paid based on their Pay Grade (E-1 to E-9) and Time in Service. They also benefit from Annual Pay Raises (the annual raise varies every year).