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Master Sergeant

Marine Corps First Sergeant

E-8 Senior Enlisted Advisor, U.S. Marine Corps
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Marine Corps Ranks » First Sergeant Rank1stSg Pay1stSg Rank HistoryPromotion Information

How to get promoted to First Sergeant Marine Corps Promotion to E-8 First Sergeant

A First Sergeant is a Senior Enlisted Advisor in the United States Marine Corps at DoD paygrade E-8. This page describes how the Marine Corps determines who is eligible for the promotion list to First Sergeant.

Promotion to E-8 marks a significant decision point for Marines, whether they choose First Sergeant or Master Sergeant. Once the promotion to First Sergeant is made, their MOS changes, and it is impossible to switch back. For most MOSs, promotion to First Sergeant is more selective.

To promote to First Sergeant, a Marine must have spent a minimum of 4 years as an E-7 and 8 years overall in the Corps, and have completed a certain level of Enlisted Professional Military Education. Once a year, eligible Marines must submit a package to a review board for promotion. Marines are ranked similarly to their earlier composite scores, but duties, awards, and evaluations are weighed much more previously than before. Special preference is given to Drill Instructors, Recruiters, and Embassy Security Guards.

There is a fixed number of slots for each rank of each MOS. Promotion depends on availability of these slots. Technical MOSs sometimes promote slightly faster than non-technical MOSs. If a Marine repeatedly fails to promote, they are presented with the options of separation or switching MOSs.

Truly exceptional Marines have an opportunity to be meritoriously promoted by their Commanding Officer, if there is a vacancy within the unit. Only Drill Instructors and top-ranked Recruiters are eligible for meritorious promotion to First Sergeant.

Want to learn more? Read about the Marine Corps' First Sergeant rank on