Marine Corps Master SergeantE-8 MSgt (Previous)
Master Sergeant

Marine Corps First Sergeant

E-8 Senior Enlisted Advisor, U.S. Marine Corps
(Next) E-9 MGySgMarine Corps Master Gunnery Sergeant
Master Gunnery Sergeant

Marine Corps Ranks » First Sergeant Rank1stSg Pay1stSg Rank HistoryPromotion Information

Rank badge of a First Sergeant E-8 First Sergeant - U.S. Marine Corps Ranks

Marine Corps First Sergeant
Marine Corps E-8 First Sergeant Marine Corps Military Ranks
Class Senior Enlisted Advisor
Abbr. 1stSg
Title First Sergeant (last name)
Paygrade E-8 (DoD Paygrade)
OR-8 (NATO Code)
Basic Pay $5,215/mo

First Sergeant is a senior non-commissioned officer's rank in the United States Marine Corps. A First Sergeant shares the E-8 paygrade with Master Sergeant, although the two ranks have separate spheres of responsibility.

A First Sergeant serves as the senior enlisted advisor to the commander of a medium-to-large unit of Marines, such as a platoon or a company. As the senior enlisted advisor, First Sergeants hold the responsiobility of being the main bridge between enlisted Marines and their company commander. In this position, they serve as advocates for their Marines to the command hierarchy and assist in leading tactical and training operations.

To get promoted to First Sergeant, a Marine (generally holding the rank of Gunnery Sergeant) must receive an outstanding Fitrep (fitness report) from their commanding officer and successfully meet a series of experience and leadership requirements. Before beginning the promotion qualification rounds, the candidate will choose their desired track for promotion - First Sergeant for Marines interested in command responsibility, and Master Sergeant for those interested in technical and operations management.

For First Sergeants continuing on the command track, the next promotable rank is Sergeant Major. The equivalent rank to First Sergeant was established by the Marine Corps back in 1833, and given its modern title in 1872.

First Sergeant is the 9th rank in the United States Marine Corps , ranking above Master Sergeant and directly below Master Gunnery Sergeant. A first sergeant is a Senior Enlisted Advisor at DoD paygrade E-8, with a starting monthly pay of $5,215.

How do you become a First Sergeant?

A First Sergeant is most often promoted from Master Sergeant (MSgt), although promotion from lower paygrades may occur with sufficient display of leadership and experience. Click here to learn more about promotion to First Sergeant.

What is the proper way to address a First Sergeant?

The correct way to address a First Sergeant named Mr. Smith is "First Sergeant Smith", or written as 1stSg Smith. In formal situations, a First Sergeant should always be addressed by their full rank.

How much does a First Sergeant earn?

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

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

In addition to a monthly basic pay salary, a Marine Corps First Sergeant may be eligible for multiple types of allowances and bonus pay including hostile fire pay, clothing allowance, personal money allowance, and more.

For full details on the Marine Corps' First Sergeant compensation and retirement plan, visit the 2024 Marine Corps First Sergeant Pay Chart. A full table of the Marine Corps' current paygrades are available at the Marine Corps Pay Chart.

Patch of a First Sergeant Equivalent Ranks to the Marine Corps' E-8 First Sergeant

To learn more about the Marine Corps' rank structure, see our complete list of Marine Corps ranks.

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

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