The enlisted airmen in the Air Force are like the engine that drives the aircraft. Without them, there would be no pilots, navigators, or anyone else to fly planes.

As a result, the enlisted members of the Air Force are just as crucial as officers. This article will cover all you need to know about the enlisted ranks in the Air Force and how you can move up in your career and become a noncommissioned officer.

Understandably, many people think of enlisting in the military as a way to advance their careers without getting a college degree. That is not entirely untrue for some branches but not for others, such as the Air Force. The enlisted ranks in this branch of service require experience and education before becoming an NCO. But if you’re intrigued by what these roles involve and want to see whether or not it’s right for you, read on.

What Are the Roles in the Air Force Enlisted?

Enlisted members come in all shapes, sizes, and specialties. For example, some are transport specialists, others are trained as mechanics, and others are responsible for intelligence gathering and computer operations.

The requirements for each group will vary depending on what the position requires. Some groups may have a minimum requirement for education, years of service, or specific technical certifications.

The Air Force encompasses nine categories: General, Aircraft Maintenance, Cyber, Education, Medical, Military Skills, Remotely Piloted Aircraft, and Technical.

These categories are further broken down into enabler codes, which are three-digit numbers representing each job’s specific duties and responsibilities.


US Air Force Enlisted Rank Insignia. Title: Airman (Source: Unknown author/Wikimedia)

The Airman (non-commissioned officer) is the first non-entry-level rank in the Air Force. It is the equivalent of “Private” in the Army and Marines, “Seaman Apprentice” for the Navy, and “Airman Basic” for the Coast Guard.