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United States Air Force - O-3 Captain

Yearly Base Pay

$48,560 - $79,002

Monthly Base Pay

$4,046.70 - $6,583.50

Hourly Base Pay *

$25.29 - $41.15

Air Force Captain - Rank Details


Captain (Capt)

Classification Commissioned Officer
Abbreviation Capt
NATO Code OF-3
Service United States Air Force
Address Captain (last name)
What are a Captain's Responsibilities?

A captain in the U.S. Air Force is the typical rank achieved after four years of being an officer. It is the third lowest officer rank and is equivalent to the rank of lieutenant in the Navy and Coast Guard. Captains are expected to be seasoned officers capable of leading large flights and ready to prepare for more administrative tasks or group-level work.

Unlike the vast differences in responsibilities between the flying and non-flying career fields for lieutenants, those for captain are much more standardized. The responsibilities still marginally vary by group assignments though. In operations groups, senior captains are usually the flight commanders while junior captains only hold minor leadership roles. This is because junior captains are probably flying more than running a flight. Maintenance, logistics, and force support squadrons almost always have captains as flight commanders.

Captains are expected to be the senior leaders that enlisted personnel can approach. They should still be heavily involved in the daily functions and responsibilities of their enlisted personnel. Many captains will also prepare to take on field grade officer (FGO) responsibilities, especially those who are committed in stay in the Air Force longer.

Very few professions also commission their officers as captains. Most of these officers are medical doctors in the Air Force. Due to the amount of schooling and the cost of medical education, doctors are granted a higher rank at commissioning. Some lawyers in the JAG (Judge Advocate General) corps are also commissioned as captains.

What is a Captain's Paygrade?

A Captain is considered a Commissioned Officer, with a paygrade of O-3. The civilian equivalents of this military rank are roughly GS-10, GS-11 under the federal government's General Schedule payscale.

On this page you can learn more about a Captain's payscale, the process of becoming a Captain, and the history of the rank in the United States Air Force.

Seal of the Air Force Air Force Captain Pay Calculator

Starting pay for a Captain is $4,046.70 per month, with raises for experience resulting in a maximum base pay of $6,583.50 per month. You can use the simple calculator below to see basic and drill pay for a Captain, or visit our Air Force pay calculator for a more detailed salary estimate.


Basic Pay:

Drill Pay:

n/a Learn more
For an O-3 Captain with
years of experience.

Use the slider below to calculate the basic pay and drill pay for an O-3 Captain at varying years in his or her military career.

2 or less years

Over 40 years


Equivalent Ranks to an Air Force Captain

A Captain is a Commissioned Officer, with a military paygrade of O-3. The civilian equivalents of this military rank are roughly GS-10, GS-11 under the federal government's General Schedule payscale.

The table below lists the equivalent ranks of an Air Force Captain, and their insignia, in the other four branches of the United States' Armed Services.


** This Document Provided By www.FederalPay.org - The Civil Employee's Resource **
Source: www.federalpay.org/military/air-force/captain