Air Force Staff SergeantE-5 Noncommissioned Officer, U.S. Air Force
E-5 Staff Sergeant - Noncommissioned Officer - U.S. Air Force Ranks
Staff Sergeant (SSgt) is the lowest Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) rank in the US Air Force. It is the rank just above Senior Airman and just below Technical Sergeant. Staff Sergeant is the first rank that promotion is done competitively; all lower ranks have automatic promotions based on the individual's time in service. The responsibilities of a SSgt are to maintain and improve their technical abilities and to supervise the work of their subordinates.
The Staff Sergeant's rank insignia is the same as the Senior Airman's, three silver, downward pointing chevrons outlined in blue with an encircled star at the point, but the SSgt's insignia has an additional curved chevron below the encircled star.
Staff Sergeant is the 5th rank in the United States Air Force , ranking above Senior Airman and directly below Technical Sergeant. A staff sergeant is a Noncommissioned Officer at DoD paygrade E-5, with a starting monthly pay of $2,610.
How do you become a Staff Sergeant?
A Staff Sergeant is most often promoted from Senior Airman (SrA), although promotion from lower paygrades may occur with sufficient display of leadership and experience. Click here to learn more about promotion to Staff Sergeant.
What is the proper way to address a Staff Sergeant?
The correct way to address a Staff Sergeant named Mr. Johnson is "Sergeant Johnson", or written as SSgt Johnson. In formal situations, a Staff Sergeant should always be addressed by their full rank.
How much does a Staff Sergeant earn?
Basic pay for an entry-level Staff Sergeant with 2 or less years of experience is $2,610.30 per month.
A Staff Sergeant receives an automatic raise to their basic pay every one to two years. Basic pay is only a small percentage of a Staff Sergeant's final compensation package.
In addition to a monthly basic pay salary, a Air Force Staff Sergeant may be eligible for multiple types of allowances and bonus pay including housing allowance, food allowance, education allowance, retirement benefits, and more.
For full details on the Air Force's Staff Sergeant compensation and retirement plan, visit the 2023 Air Force Staff Sergeant Pay Chart. A full table of the Air Force's current paygrades are available at the Air Force Pay Chart.
Equivalent Ranks to the Air Force's E-5 Staff 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 Staff 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.