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U.S. Navy Ranks & Insignia

In the U.S. Navy, ranks are comprised of three groups: Enlisted (E-1 through E-9), Warrant Officer (CWO-1 through CWO-5), and Commissioned Officers (CO-1 through CO-5), and Admiral ranks (CO-6 through CO-10; FADM.) The letter and number represent the rank title and paygrade of the Seaman. It’s important to note rank is different from the paygrade and signifies the level of job duties and leadership responsibilities, designated by the insignia shown on the Seaman uniform. Seaman can further advance their careers by continuing education and through command and specialty opportunities.

Learn about the ranks and insignia below:

Navy Ranks and Insignias

Enlisted Sailors

Enlisted sailors are separated into three categories: Apprenticeships (E-1 through E-3), non-commissioned Petty Officers (E-4 through E-6), and senior non-commissioned Chief Petty Officers (E-7 through E-9).

Seaman Recruit (SR/E-1)

SR is the first enlisted rank upon entering the Navy and is considered an “apprentice in training.” In basic training, the SR immerses themselves in the military culture, learning fundamental skills needed for their future career in the Navy. The SR should expect to obtain an occupational field, otherwise known as a rate, which falls under five main categories: Seamen, Firemen, Constructionmen, Airmen, or Hospitalmen. The rate assignment further breaks down into specialty subcategories, such as Machinist’s Mate (MM), Sonar Technician (ST), or Hospital Corpsman (HN). These roles are defined as the SA pursues their studies.

Army Private E-1 (PV1)

Seaman Apprentice (SA/E-2)

Once a rate is assigned, a recruit becomes a Seaman Apprentice. SA is still considered a junior-enlisted rank, and the role is similar to that of the SR. The SR must begin studying at an A-School within their rating. Common labor duties continue. Promotion occurs when the sailor has completed six months of service (determined by job performance and standing record of exemplary service.)

Navy E2 Seaman Apprentice

Seaman (SN/E-3)

Seaman is the third-lowest enlisted rank before promotable Petty Officer. All basic qualifications are met. Their competency around the ship means more job responsibilities which include essential maintenance and watchstanding.

Navy E3 Seaman

Petty Officer 3rd Class (PO3/E-4)

Sailors who reach junior Petty Officer have made it to the Fleet. The PO3 maintains regular job duties, but much of what is learned in training now shifts into leadership roles. PO3’s should be self-sufficient leaders and begin mentoring junior sailors. Qualifying for extra-duty assignments above the standard job specifications, called Collateral Duties, are key to progressing in their career. Collateral Duties can either be service-related or specialized-duties (e.g., command career counselor, command equal opportunity coordinator.)

Navy E4 Petty Officer Third Class

Petty Officer 2nd Class (PO2/E-5)

The PO2 is considered a mid-grade Petty Officer. They are proven to be self-reliant leaders and do not need much oversight from their seniors. 2nd Class Petty Officers mentor junior Seamen to ensure work performance, professional development, and training. Leadership skills improve with years of experience, and those who are selected for C-School obtain technical expertise in their rate, much like studying for certification.

Navy E5 Petty Officer Second Class

Petty Officer 1st Class (PO1/E-6)

Petty Officer 1st Class is considered a high-grade Petty Officer. The PO1 has a leadership part in a Division team, a smaller group within a Department that consists of 5-50 sailors (e.g., Work Center Supervisor.) They delegate tasks and handle the most complex tasks. Some responsibilities include managing more significant resources, such as expensive technical equipment, repair shop personnel, and large duty sections.

Navy E6 Petty Officer First Class

Chief Petty Officer (CPO/E-7)

The Chief Petty Officer is considered the “ground level” leadership of the Navy. Sailors hold the same regard to Chiefs as they do with Officers. According to the Master Chief of the Navy (MCPON), the Chief Petty Officer utilizes skills to direct sailors towards accomplishing the Navy’s mission. They work in conjunction with the Division Officer, taking care of personnel and equipment issues.

Navy E7 Chief Petty Officer

Senior Chief Petty Officer (SCPO/E-8)

At this rank, the Senior Chief commands with a higher level of technical and managerial expertise. They are considered the senior technical supervisor within a rating. An SCPO has more influence within the Chiefs’ Mess (a group of Petty Officers that work closely together), and are responsible for training new Chiefs.

Navy E8 Senior Chief Petty Officer

Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO/E-9)

Master Chief is the most distinguished Petty Officer. They are also known as “Department Chief.” MCPO is highly credentialed in their expertise and holds the most authority in large Departments. As Master Chief, they must maintain unity, communication, and cooperation in the Chiefs’ Mess.

Navy E9C Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy

Command Master Chief Petty Officer (CMC/E-9)

A Senior Enlisted Advisor rank. CMC is the leading Chief aboard ships or shore-based units, and act as a bridge between enlisted officers and the commanding officer. As the principal enlisted advisor to the commanding officer, the CMC is expected to create and enact operational and human resource policies.

Navy E9b Fleet Command Master Chief Petty Officer

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON/E-9) 

The MCPON is appointed by the Chief of Naval Operations and is considered the most senior Enlisted Senior Advisor. By and large, the MCPON serves as a representative to all enlisted members and their families in the U.S. Navy. Their duties adapt according to the needs of the Chief of Naval Operations and Chief of Naval Personnel. Over the course of their two-year term, the MCPON travels to meet with service members and their families to address the concerns and issues of the fleet.

Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/ SEAC

The Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the main advisor to the chairman and plays a pivotal role in decision-making for the enlisted joint force. The role was originally created in 2005.

Warrant Officers

Warrant Officers 


Warrant Officers are highly-skilled specialists who are knowledgeable in their technical expertise. There are currently 27 designated specialties (e.g., electronic techs, software experts, pilots.) A Senior Navy Enlisted with the paygrade of E-6 and above is qualified to apply for the Navy’s Warrant Officer program. Service members have at least 14 years of considerable leadership and technical experience prior to applying for the program.

While deployed at sea, they supervise the maintenance of equipment and ensure communication throughout the chain of command. Other roles Naval Warrant Officers take part as an executive, Division and commanding officers.

Chief Warrant Officer (CWO-1)

The CWO1 rank was retired in 1975 but reinstated in 2018 to establish the new cyber warrant officer position. A warrant is the only way a candidate can receive this rank. Once appointed, the service member commits to at least six years of service as CWO1.

Chief Warrant Officer (CWO-2 through CWO-5) 

This is the first rank newly appointed to a Chief Warrant Officer by commission from the President. A CWO2 must have a minimum of 12 years of active duty experience and 3 years in grade to be eligible. Enlisted rank determines the CWO pay grade. Generally, the SCPO will be appointed to CWO2. Master Chief Petty Officers will be appointed the pay grade CWO3.

Once accepted, the CWO attends an Officer Development School to ensure a smooth transition in their role. Advancement is dependent on vacancies and grade seniority or years of experience.

Navy W2 Chief Warrant Officer 2Navy W3 Chief Warrant Officer 3Navy W4 Chief Warrant Officer 4Navy W5 Chief Warrant Officer 5


Commissioned Officers (CO)

Ensign (ENS/O-1)

Ensign is the first commissioned officer rank. Candidates receive this rank after completing their commissioning through the United States Naval Academy (USNA), Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) or Officer Candidate School (OCS). Majority of Ensigns attend schools to learn their jobs; others serve in the Fleet as Divisions Officers. Promotion can take anywhere from weeks to two years depending upon the ability to lead Division.

Navy O1 Ensign

Lieutenant, Junior Grade (LTJG/O-2)

Lieutenant, Junior Grade is the second-lowest officer rank. An LTJG may be in training for their specialty or serve in the Fleet as Division Officers. The LTJG maintains their role for two years before promotion.

Navy O2 Lieutenant Junior Grade

Lieutenant (LT/O-3)

Lieutenant is considered a third rank officer and may serve as Division Officer. They have substantial responsibilities such as tactical watch teams and casualty situations. The LT may assume charge of smaller ships, aircraft squadrons, submarines or ships. Some commands require the LT to act as Department Heads.

Navy O3 Lieutenant

Lieutenant Commander (LCDR/O-4)

Lieutenant Commanders is considered a fourth rank junior officer.The LCDR serves as a Department Head or Executive Officer on a ship, aircraft squadron or submarine. LCDR’s on SEAL Teams serve as Executive Officers. Other potential assignments include Commanding Officer of a Minesweeper or Patrol Craft.

Navy O4 Lieutenant Commander

Commander (CDR/O-5)

Commander is the fifth rank Senior Officer. Individuals of this rank may potentially command a Frigate, Destroyer, Fast Attack Submarine, Smaller Amphibious Ship, Aviation Squadron, SEAL Team, or shore installation.

Navy O5 Commander

Captain (CAPT/O-6)

CAPTs serve as Commanding Officers of Major Commands. Such commands include Aircraft Carriers, Amphibious Assault Ships, Cruisers, Destroyer Squadrons, Ballistic Missile Submarines, Carrier Air Wings, Submarine Squadrons, SEAL groups, and shore installations.

Navy O6 Captain

Navy Admirals

Rear Admiral Lower Half (RDML/O-7)

A Rear Admiral Lower Half holds one-star and is the first of the Flag ranks. While at sea, the RDML commands an Amphibious Group, Carrier-Cruiser Group, Carrier or Expeditionary Strike Group. Other assignments include serving as deputies to larger commands.

Navy O7 Rear Admiral Lower Half

Rear Admiral Upper Half (RADM/O-8)

A Rear Admiral Upper Half holds two stars. The RADM is responsible for commanding an Amphibious Group, Carrier-Cruiser Group, Carrier or Expeditionary Strike Group. They may also work as deputies to larger commands.

Navy O8 Rear Admiral

Vice Admiral (VADM/O-9)

A Vice Admiral holds three stars. The VADM commands fleets and may act as deputy for regional commands.

Navy O9 Vice Admiral

Admiral (ADM/O-10)

An Admiral holds four-stars and is the most senior Flag Rank. An Admiral can serve as Commander of Regional Commands, Joint Commands, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Staff and Chief of Naval Operations.

Navy O10 Admiral

Fleet Admiral (FADM)

Fleet Admiral is the only rank appointed during a time of war. The last FADM to serve in the U.S. Navy was William D. Leahy. He retired in 1949 after World War II and was the last to achieve this rank.

Navy O11 Fleet Admiral

Navy Petty Officer Third ClassE-4 PO3(Previous)
Petty Officer Third Class
E-5 Noncommissioned Officer, U.S. Navy
(Next)E-6 PO1Navy Petty Officer First Class
Petty Officer First Class

Navy Ranks » Petty Officer Second Class Rank • PO2 Pay • PO2 Rank History • Promotion Information

Rank badge of a Petty Officer Second ClassE-5 Petty Officer Second Class - Noncommissioned Officer - U.S. Navy Ranks

Navy Petty Officer Second Class

Navy Petty Officer Second Class

Navy E-5Petty Officer Second Class Navy Military Ranks
ClassNoncommissioned Officer
TitlePetty Officer (last name)
Paygrade E-5 (DoD Paygrade)
OR-5 (NATO Code)
Basic Pay$2,468/mo

Petty Officer Second Class is the second of the Navy's Petty Officer grades, and serve as a junior non-commissioned officer. A Petty Officer Second Class serves both as a leader and as a technical expert, and all Petty Officers have a specified rating, or job. The exact title with which a petty officer is addressed depends on their specialty; a Petty Officer Second Class serving as a Gunner's Mate, for example, would have the full title of Gunner's Mate Second Class.

Like advancement from Seaman to Petty Officer Third Class, to receive a promotion from Petty Officer Third Class to Petty Officer Second Class, sailors must complete a specialty test for their particular rating and apply for advancement every six months. Only a certain number of Petty Officer Second Class billets are available to be filled every year, and competition for promotion is extremely fierce among qualified applicants.

Petty Officer Second Class is the 5th rank in the United States Navy , ranking above Petty Officer Third Class and directly below Petty Officer First Class. A petty officer second class is a Noncommissioned Officer at DoD paygrade E-5, with a starting monthly pay of $2,468.

How do you become a Petty Officer Second Class?

A Petty Officer Second Class is most often promoted from Petty Officer Third Class (PO3), although promotion from lower paygrades may occur with sufficient display of leadership and experience. Click here to learn more about promotion to Petty Officer Second Class.

What is the proper way to address a Petty Officer Second Class?

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The correct way to address a Petty Officer Second Class named Mr. Smith is "Petty Officer Smith", or written as PO2 Smith.
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In addition to their rank, all Navy noncommissioned officers have a rating (job) such as Hospital Corpsman. This job is included in their full rank title. In formal situations, a Petty Officer Second Class should always be addressed by their full rank.

How much does a Petty Officer Second Class earn?

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Basic pay for an entry-level Petty Officer Second Class with 2 or less years of experience is $2,467.50 per month.

A Petty Officer Second Class receives an automatic raise to their basic pay every one to two years. Basic pay is only a small percentage of a Petty Officer Second Class' final compensation package.

In addition to a monthly basic pay salary, a Navy Petty Officer Second Class may be eligible for multiple types of allowances and bonus pay including food allowance, housing allowance, clothing allowance, hostile fire pay, and more.

For full details on the Navy's Petty Officer Second Class compensation and retirement plan, visit the 2021 Navy Petty Officer Second Class Pay Chart. A full table of the Navy's current paygrades are available at the Navy Pay Chart.

Patch of a Petty Officer Second Class Equivalent Ranks to the Navy's E-5 Petty Officer Second Class

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

The Government civilian-employee equivalent of a Petty Officer Second Class is paid under the General Schedule payscale. For more details, see this Navy rank to GS grade conversion table .

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

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Petty officer second class

This article is about the United States Navy rate. For the rank in the Royal Canadian Navy, see petty officer 2nd class.

USN PO2 cap and collar insignia

USCG PO2 collar insignia

Petty officer second class is the fifth enlisted rank in the U.S. Navy[1] and the U.S. Coast Guard, just above petty officer third class and below petty officer first class, and is a non-commissioned officer. It is equivalent to the rank of sergeant in the Army and Marine Corps, and staff sergeant in the Air Force.


Similar to petty officer third class, advancement to petty officer second class is dependent on time in service, performance evaluations by superiors, and rate (technical specialty) examinations. The advancement cycle is currently every 6 months. Only a certain number of billets (job openings for this rate) open up biannually and all third-class petty officers compete. The top scorers are chosen for advancement, but only in sufficient quantities to fill the billets available.

Job description[edit]

Petty officers serve a dual role as both technical experts and as leaders. Unlike the sailors below them, there is no such thing as an "undesignated petty officer." Every petty officer has both a rate (rank) and rating (job, similar to an MOS in other branches). A petty officer's full title is a combination of the two. Thus, a petty officer second class, who has the rating of interior communications electrician would properly be called an interior communications electrician second class. The term petty officer is, then, only used in abstract, the general sense, when referring to a group of petty officers of different ratings, or when the petty officer's rating is unknown. Often, the petty officer is just referred to by the shorthand designation, without using the surname. Thus EM2 Reyes would just be called EM2. A petty officer second class may be generically referred to as PO2 when the sailor's rating is not known, although some prefer to be called simply "Petty Officer (Martinez)." To address a petty officer, one would say, "Petty Officer Meyer", "Meyer", or "Sailor" (the latter two forms being acceptable for use by those equal or greater in rate than the Petty Officer unless in a familiar setting, such as by those who work closely with the Petty Officer). It is uncommon to address a petty officer as simply "Petty Officer", the way one might address an NCO in the Marine Corps as "Sergeant". Also acceptable, but archaic, would be to address a petty officer or chief petty officer of any grade as "Mister Meyer" or "Ms. Meyer". The use of "Ms." or "Mister" is commonly only in reference to junior commissioned officers or warrant officers.

Short form naming[edit]

Each rating has an official abbreviation, such as GM for gunner's mate, BU for builder, or BM for boatswain's mate. When combined with the petty officer level, this gives the shorthand for the petty officer's rate, such as IT2 for "information systems technician second class". It is common practice to refer to the petty officer by this shorthand in all but the most formal correspondence (such as printing and inscription on awards). Unlike most rates, the Aircrew survival equipmentman rate uses their former title of parachute rigger for abbreviation and are still referred as PRs and parachute riggers in the military community after undergoing a rating name change in 1986.

Promotion system[edit]

The Navy uses promotion points that they call "final multiple score" system, which considers the whole person by calculating a candidate's performance, experience, and knowledge into the individual's final multiple score. To advance a candidate must meet the time in rate eligibility, pass the advancement test, and have a final multiple higher than the minimum required to advance.

Among enlisted sailors, 12 consecutive years of good conduct (categorized as no court-martial convictions and no non-judicial punishments) entitles the sailor to wear a good conduct variation of their rate insignia: the chevrons which are normally red are replaced with gold. The perched eagle remains silver. However, the high year tenure initiative mandates that a petty officer second class may only have 16 years of service. If a PO2 fails to make petty officer first class within that time, the petty officer is involuntarily separated for not meeting advancement requirements. However, this may be waived in the event the sailor holds a critical rate, Navy Enlisted Classification or security clearance.


All U.S. Coast Guard petty officers wear red chevrons and red service stripes, until the rate of chief petty officer, where both chevrons and service stripes are gold.

In the US Navy, all petty officers wear red stripes and chevrons until they reach 12 consecutive years of service with good conduct (as determined by eligibility for the Navy Good Conduct Medal as its criteria).

See also[edit]


What is a Naval Rating? - History of Naval Ratings (Structure)

Additional Pay & Allowances for an E-5

In addition to Basic Pay, a Petty Officer Second Class may be eligible to receive several types of allowances and incentive pay.

Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH)

Basic Allowance for Housing is a monthly payment meant to subsidize a servicemember's housing while deployed. The amount of BAH received each month depends on the location in which they live.

The average Basic Housing Allowance for a Petty Officer Second Class with dependants is $1,654.25, or $1,370.73 with no dependants.

Basic Allowance for Subsistance (BAS)

All enlisted members of the Navy receive a monthly allowance for food and drink of $
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Enlisted members' BAS is higher than officers' BAS, as enlisted members are generally responsible for buying their own food.

Hazard Pay / Hostile Fire Pay

A Petty Officer Second Class may receive hazard pay of $190.00 / mo while serving in an active combat zone or subject to hostile fire or other hazards.


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