Instead of ranks, the U.S. Navy has "rates," which are a combination of job rating and pay grade. Only the Army, Air Force, and Marines have ranks to denote personnel in various pay grades. For example, Senior Airmen in the Air Force have the rank of Senior Airman and are in the pay grade of E-4. They are addressed as Senior Airman regardless of what their job actually is.
In the Navy, a rate of E-6 depends on the person's job. A person with the rating of Sonar Technician (SG) in the Navy, in the pay grade of E-6, would be a Sonar Technician First Class Petty Officer, or SG1. An E-5 with the rating of Mess Specialist (MS) would have the rate of Mess Specialist Second Class Petty Officer, or MS2.
Navy Requirements for Increasing Pay Grades
Enlisted personnel in the Navy must meet specific requirements to reach higher pay grades. New recruits can enlist at pay grades from E-1 to E-3, depending on their educational background. New recruits enlisting at E-2 or E-3 will be paid at that grade immediately, but they still will wear the E-1 rating until completing basic training. The highest pay grade for enlisted members is E-9. All promotions require the recommendation from a commanding officer based on a performance evaluation. Other considerations include:
- E-1 to E-2: Complete boot camp. Some local testing may be required. As of January 2019, E-1 pay starts $1,554 per month, and E-2 pay is $1,882 per month.
- E-2 to E-3: Serve nine months as E-2 and pass required Naval Education and Training Professional Development Center (NETPDC) exams. Nonresident Career Course and Rate Training Manual (RTM) required. E-3 pay ranges from $1,981.20 to $2,233.50 per month.
- E-3 to E-4: Serve six months as E-3. Complete technical training through class A school. Complete Personnel Advancement Requirements (PARS) and receive Bureau of Naval Personnel (BUPERS) approval. Navy-Wide Advancement Exams are required for all Petty Officer pay grades. If not already done, Nonresident Career Course and Rate Training Manual (RTM) required. E-4 pay ranges from $2,194.50 to $2,664 per month.
- E-4 to E-5: Serve one year as E-4. Naval Justice School required for rating Legalman Second Class (LN2). Complete PARS. Complete Petty Officer Second Class (PO2) training course. E-5 pay ranges from $2,393.40 to $3,396.60 per month.
- E-5 to E-6: Serve three years as E-5. Complete PARS. Complete PO1 training course. E-6 pay ranges from $2,612.70 to $4,046.70 per month.
- E-6 to E-7: Serve three years as E-6. Complete appropriate technical training through class A school for ratings Aerographer's Mate (AGC), Chief Musician (MUC), and Religious Program Specialist (RPC). Complete Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Indoctrination Course. Pass Navy-Wide Advancement Exam and be approved by the Navy-Wide CPO Selection Board. E-7 pay ranges from $3,020.70 to $5.429.10 per month.
- E-7 to E-8: Serve three years as E-7. Complete CPO Leadership Training Course. Be approved by the Navy-Wide CPO Selection Board. E-8 pay ranges from $4,345.50 to $6,197.70 per month.
- E-8 to E-9: Serve three years as E-9. Be approved by the Navy-Wide CPO Selection Board. E-9 pay ranges from $5,308.20 to $8,241.90 per month.
Those in the E-7 to E-9 pay grades need to serve anywhere from 26 to 38 years to reach the maximum amount allowable for their respective pay grades.