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Master Sergeant

Air Force Senior Master Sergeant

E-8 Noncommissioned Officer, U.S. Air Force
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Chief Master Sergeant

Air Force Ranks » Senior Master Sergeant RankSMSgt PaySMSgt Rank History

Rank badge of a Senior Master Sergeant E-8 Senior Master Sergeant - U.S. Air Force Ranks

Air Force Senior Master Sergeant
Air Force E-8 Senior Master Sergeant Air Force Military Ranks
Class Noncommissioned Officer
Abbr. SMSgt
Title Sergeant (last name)
Paygrade E-8 (DoD Paygrade)
OR-8 (NATO Code)
Basic Pay $5,215/mo

Senior Master Sergeant (SMSgt) is the fourth Non-Commissioned Officer rank in the United States Air Force. It is just above Master Sergeant and below Chief Master Sergeant. Promotion to Senior Master Sergeant is the hardest enlisted promotion to acquire, for less than ten percent of eligible Master Sergeants move up. To be promoted, an airman must have very broad technical skills gained from many assignments, and they typically have a bachelor's degree, or higher, in their specialty. SMSgts are expected to act as mentors and leaders for non-commissioned and junior commissioned officers. At present day, only two perdent of the Air Forces total enlisted force may hold the rank of Senior Master Sergeant.

The rank insignia for Senior Master Sergeant is the same as the Master Sergeant's, three silver, downward pointing chevrons outlined in blue with an encircled star at the point with two curved chevrons below the star, but with two upward pointing chevrons over the downward pointing ones, instead of just one.

Senior Master Sergeant is the 8th rank in the United States Air Force , ranking above Master Sergeant and directly below Chief Master Sergeant. A senior master sergeant is a Noncommissioned Officer at DoD paygrade E-8, with a starting monthly pay of $5,215.

How do you become a Senior Master Sergeant?

A Senior Master Sergeant is most often promoted from Master Sergeant (MSgt), although promotion from lower paygrades may occur with sufficient display of leadership and experience.

Promotion from master sergeant to senior master sergeant is the most difficult enlisted promotion in the Air Force. Instead of a testing or points based system, master sergeants must pass a promotion board in addition to other factors prior to being promoted. Less than ten percent of eligible master sergeants will receive the promotion. Other factors include: education obtained, experiences, technical skills, performance reports, and completion of the Senior Noncommissioned Officer Correspondence Course.

What is the proper way to address a Senior Master Sergeant?

The correct way to address a Senior Master Sergeant named Mr. Weber is "Sergeant Weber", or written as SMSgt Weber. In formal situations, a Senior Master Sergeant should always be addressed by their full rank.

How much does a Senior Master Sergeant earn?

Basic pay for an entry-level Senior Master Sergeant with Over 8 years of experience is $5,214.90 per month.

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

In addition to a monthly basic pay salary, a Air Force Senior Master Sergeant may be eligible for multiple types of allowances and bonus pay including personal money allowance, retirement benefits, clothing allowance, and more.

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

Patch of a Senior Master Sergeant Equivalent Ranks to the Air Force's E-8 Senior Master Sergeant

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 Senior Master Sergeant 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.