Air Force First LieutenantO-2 1st L (Previous)
First Lieutenant

Air Force Captain

O-3 Commissioned Officer, U.S. Air Force
(Next) O-4 MajAir Force Major

Air Force Ranks » Captain RankCapt PayCapt Rank History

Rank badge of a Captain O-3 Captain - U.S. Air Force Ranks

Air Force Captain
Air Force O-3 Captain Air Force Military Ranks
Class Commissioned Officer
Abbr. Capt
Title Captain (last name)
Paygrade O-3 (DoD Paygrade)
OF-3 (NATO Code)
Basic Pay $5,102/mo

Captain (Capt) is the third Commissioned Officer rank in the United States Air Force. It ranks just above First Lieutenant and below a Major. Captain is the entry rank for new Commissioned Officers with a doctorate in a healthcare profession. Captains are responsible for commanding whatever company they are assigned too, and are referred to as Company Commander when in command of a company. They are also sometimes flight commanders, and instructors at Air Force schools, and they are responsible for the men who serve under them.

The rank insignia for a Captain is the same as the First Lieutenant's, except that it has two silver bars instead of one.

Captain is the 19th rank in the United States Air Force , ranking above First Lieutenant and directly below Major. A captain is a Commissioned Officer at DoD paygrade O-3, with a starting monthly pay of $5,102.

How do you become a Captain?

A Captain is most often promoted from First Lieutenant (1st L), although promotion from lower paygrades may occur with sufficient display of leadership and experience.

The Defense Officer Personnel Management Act of 1980 recommends that 95% of all first lieutenants be promoted to captain after two years as a first lieutenant. In general, most officers will reach captain after four years of commissioned service except those who were commissioned as captains. Frankly speaking, any lieutenant with a reliable career progression and no major delinquencies can be promoted to captain.

What is the proper way to address a Captain?

The correct way to address a Captain named Mr. Gutierrez is "Captain Gutierrez", or written as Capt Gutierrez. In formal situations, a Captain should always be addressed by their full rank.

How much does a Captain earn?

Basic pay for an entry-level Captain with 2 or less years of experience is $5,102.10 per month.

A Captain receives an automatic raise to their basic pay every one to two years. Basic pay is only a small percentage of a Captain's final compensation package.

In addition to a monthly basic pay salary, a Air Force Captain may be eligible for multiple types of allowances and bonus pay including hostile fire pay, retirement benefits, clothing allowance, hazard pay, and more.

For full details on the Air Force's Captain compensation and retirement plan, visit the 2024 Air Force Captain Pay Chart. A full table of the Air Force's current paygrades are available at the Air Force Pay Chart.

Patch of a Captain Equivalent Ranks to the Air Force's O-3 Captain

Coast Guard Lieutenant - Equivalent to Captain
Coast Guard
Marine Corps Captain - Equivalent to Captain
Marine Corps

To learn more about the Air Force's rank structure, see our complete list of Air Force ranks.

The Government civilian-employee equivalent of a Captain is paid under the General Schedule payscale. For more details, see this Air Force rank to GS grade conversion table .

To see a list of military medals and decorations that can be earned by servicemembers in the Air Force and other branches of the military, see our list of military decorations and medals.