Army Ranks

A Soldier Proudly Holds His Medals richard_mcmunn_entrepreneurLike most of the Royal Military Services the Army has commissioned and non-commissioned ranks. Any individual entering the Army will be a cadet upon entry. The cadet ranking is the lowest possible option and not commissioned unless it is the officer cadet which is the ranking one receives upon training at the Royal Military Academy. Pay for cadets are £13,000 to £18,000.

Commissioned Ranks

Running from highest position to lowest, these commissioned ranks are for officers in a variety of specialty positions.

  • General– the highest ranking and 4 star position in which positions can include Chief of Defence, Chief of General Staff, Vice Chief of Defence, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, or Commander of Land Forces. £100,000 plus is the annual salary based on years in the Army and experience. It can be much higher than the stated amount, but that is the starting number.
  • Lieutenant-General– 3 star position that commands corps size, UK and overseas corps, and helps in the Ministry of Defence or other location headquarters. Annual salary begins at £90,000 and increases based on years in and experience.
  • Major-General– a 2 star ranking the commands division size for the Military Academy, works as senior staff for ministry of Defence and other headquarters. Pay is above the £90,000 annual rate and determined by experience and years in the Army.
  • Brigadier- this is a 1 star position in the field officer rank in which the person commands the brigade or is a director of operational capacity for groups. Pay is £99,000 to £103,000.
  • Colonel– usually this position is not a field command unless the officer is in the medical corps. Colonels are staff officers that help field commands communicate with brigadier ranks. It is the lowest staff ranking, but they are operational advisors for senior staff. Pay scale is between £83,000 and £91,000.
  • Lieutenant-Colonel– commands up to 650 men and women in the soldier rank with four or five sub-units. Responsibilities include operational and military capability for the welfare and discipline of the unit. Usually candidates are in this position for 2 years before gaining the ranking of colonel. £68,000 to £79,000 is the pay range for this officer.
  • Major– Once a commissioned officer has been in service for 8 to 10 years it is possible to gain the Major ranking. The major is still a sub unit of 120 soldiers in which welfare, administration both in operations and camp is conducted. Equipment management is part of the duties too. Pay is £48,000 to £58,000.
  • Captain– a much larger scale of responsibility for personnel at 120 soldiers under the captain’s command. Planning, decision making, tactical operations, maintenance, manpower, and logistical support are part of a Captain’s duties. Pay scale is £38,000 to £46,000.
  • Lieutenant– this is a 3 year position with a command of 30 soldiers, but responsibilities increase over Second Lt and specialised skills can b e obtained. Pay is £16,000 to £35,000 based on ranking held.
  • Second Lieutenant– this is the first rank a candidate can hold in a commissioned status. It is held for 2 years before gaining promotion or specialty placement. A Second Lieutenant can lead 20 soldiers in training and operations. The rank held determines the pay rate between £16,000 and £35,000.


Non Commissioned

  • Warrant Officer Class 1- this is a title reached after 18 years in with an exemplary record. They are senior advisors to commanding officers that have 650 officers and soldiers in their command along with equipment. It is the most senior of titles for soldiers. Pay is between £35,500 and £45,200.
  • Warrant Officer Class 2– a senior management role with 120 soldiers under command for welfare and discipline procedures, as well as on field command. A warrant officer may be chosen for a commission and can help advise Majors. Pay per year is £34,000 to £40,000.
  • Staff Sergeant- is a rank for command of up to 120 soldiers, with resource management as part of the responsibilities. Annual pay is £30,000 to £34,000.
  • Sergeant– this is a senior role attained after 12 years in and based on ability. Up to 35 soldiers can be under the command of a sergeant, but also assisting and advising junior officers is possible. Pay typically ranges between £30,000 and £34,000.
  • Corporal- after 6 t0 8 years in the Army it is possible to reach this lead position in which more command of equipment and soldiers is given, like handling tanks and guns. Annual pay is £27,000 to £30,000.
  • Lance Corporal- 3 years after being a private there is potential to reach this position. It also requires phase 2 of training to be complete. Lance Corporals can supervise four soldiers or less. There is also potential for specialised training. Pay is between £17,000 and £24,000.
  • Private– the lowest ranking after cadet training. All soldiers start out as privates although they may have a title such as gunner or trooper based on placement. Usually on the lower scale pay is in a range of £17,000 to £24,000.

Notes on Pay

It is important to note that the above pay for each position is on the low end. There are two tiers that are considered when it comes to pay for different rankings. They are known as the high and low spine. The high spine is generally £10,000 to £20,000 times higher than the low spine for starting and ending ranges. Pay is also based on experience in terms of position, ranking, and years in the Army. Generals can easily earn well over £200,000 per year especially as they work through the ranks. Education will always be a factor as well as if one is a reservist, Special Forces, or in a specialised position. Given the differences of pay scale it is best to use the numbers provided as a starting amount and potential earnings, wherein there is a possibility of earning much more as the ranks are increased while enlisted.