Marine Corps Gunnery SergeantE-7 GySgt (Previous)
Gunnery Sergeant

Marine Corps Master Sergeant

E-8 Staff Noncommissioned Officer, U.S. Marine Corps
(Next) E-8 1stSgMarine Corps First Sergeant
First Sergeant

Marine Corps Ranks » Master Sergeant RankMSgt PayMSgt Rank HistoryPromotion Information

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

Marine Corps Master Sergeant
Marine Corps E-8 Master Sergeant Marine Corps Military Ranks
Class Staff Noncommissioned Officer
Abbr. MSgt
Title Master Sergeant (last name) Informal: Top
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.

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

How do you become a Master Sergeant?

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

What is the proper way to address a Master Sergeant?

The correct way to address a Master Sergeant named Mr. Jones is "Master Sergeant Jones Informal: Top", or written as MSgt Jones. In formal situations, a Master Sergeant should always be addressed by their full rank.

How much does a Master Sergeant earn?

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

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

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

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

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