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Civilian to Military Rank - FederalPay.org

In the federal government, and particularly in the Department of Defense, interactions between military and civilian employees are common. Additionally, military personal frequently transition into civilian roles within the federal government after their service.

However, military personal and civilian federal employees are on different pay scales. This can make it difficult to determine equivalency between military and civilian ranks.

WARNING: Since publishing this article, we have received hundreds of messages from military personnel telling us that our mapping is incorrect. Unfortunately, almost all the the message we receive are conflicting as well. In truth, there is no universal mapping between military and GS ranks. Age, education level, and time-in-service matters significantly when determining determine proper conduct for social and diplomatic purposes between civilians and military personnel.

One way to mapping between military ranks and civilian GS grades is to look at what each level gets paid. Click here to see military pay and GS pay side-by-side. However, this mapping is imperfect. It is unfair, but civilian employees are paid more than military personal with roughly the same level of education, experience, and responsibility.

In particular, the table below under-represents the responsibility given to senior NCO (E-8 and E-9). However, this is how most official government sources, such as DoD 1000.01, do the mapping.

Despite these limitations, our mapping may be useful in some situations. These ranks are NOT necessarily equivalent in terms of scope of experience, responsibility, or education.

These mappings are rough estimates. Age and experience level are a huge factor and is often more significant than grade alone. These ranks are based several different official government sources. If you see a problem with this information please contact us with your suggestions.

Equivalent Civilian to Military Ranks

Civilian GradeMilitary RankArmy Title
GS-1E-1Private
GS-2E-2Private 2
GS-3, GS-4E-3Private First Class
GS-4E-4Specialist, Corporal
GS-6E-5Sergeant
GS-6, GS-7E-6Staff Sergeant
GS-7E-7Sergeant First Class
GS-7E-8Master Sergeant or First Sergeant
GS-7E-9Sergeant Major or Command Sergeant Major
GS-8W-1Warrant Officer 1
GS-8W-2Chief Warrant Officer 2
GS-8W-3Chief Warrant Officer 3
GS-8W-4Chief Warrant Officer 4
GS-8W-5Master Warrant Officer
GS-9O-1Second Lieutenant
GS-10O-2First Lieutenant
GS-11, GS-12O-3Captain
GS-13O-4Major
GS-14O-5Lieutenant Colonel
GS-15O-6Colonel
SES Level VO-7Brigadier General
SES Level IVO-8Major General
SES Level IIIO-9Lieutenant General
SES Level I & Level IIO-10Army General

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Topics: DepartmentsGS PayLEOMilitarySES
** This Document Provided By www.FederalPay.org - The Civil Employee's Resource **
Source: www.federalpay.org/articles/civilian-to-military-rank