Air Cadet Logo

Rank Structure

Much like the Royal Air Force, Air Cadets have a rank structure in place. This structure applies to the Staff as well as the Cadets. It is important to distinguish between Rank and Classification. Classifications show the level of training a cadet has attained, rank shows what ability the cadet possesses.

Cadet Ranks

The first rank is Cadet, this is the starting point and all cadets begin here.  After this cadets advance up the rank system based upon merit, leadership ability, communication skills and many other skills they show or possess.  There are no formal examinations taken as promotion is determined by the squadron Commanding Officer, up to the rank of Cadet Sergeant.  For promotion to Cadet Flight Sergeant, a Wing Staff Officer will normally interview the candidate, to determine their knowledge of the ATC, their Wing, Squadron and assess their ability to become a Flight Sergeant.

Cadet Corporal

Cadet Sergeant

Cadet Flight Sergeant

For those cadets who are 18 or over, the rank badge also includes the words "Staff Cadet" to show that they are older cadets.  Also cadets over 18 years old are eligible for promotion to Staff Cadet Warrant Officer, the highest rank a cadet can obtain.  This is a Wing appointment and is only granted after an interview with the cadets Wing Commander, following a formal recommendation by their Commanding Officer.


Staff Cadet

Staff Cadet Corporal

Staff Cadet Sergeant

Staff Cadet Flight Sergeant

Staff Cadet Warrant Officer

Staff Ranks

There are 2 distinct branches of staff Rank, Uniformed and non-Uniformed. Each play an important part in the running of the Air Training Corps. The uniformed ranks are then further divided down into Officer and Non Commissioned Officers.  Officers are commissioned into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve Training Branch, and wear VRT pins on their rank slides to show this.  NCO's are members of the Air Training Corps and wear ATC pins on their rank slides to show this.  The non-Uniformed members of staff comprise Civilian Instructors, Civilian Committee Members and the Squadron Padre.  While these members do not wear uniform the Civilian Instructors and Padre's are issued with gilt badges they can wear, to distinguish who they are.

Officer Ranks

Officer Cadet

Pilot Officer

Flying Officer

Flight Lieutenant

Squadron Leader

Wing Commander

Group Captain

Air Commodore

NCO Ranks

Sergeant (ATC)

Flight Sergeant (ATC)

Warrant Officer (ATC)

Civilian Ranks

Civilian Instructor

Civilian Instructor Arm Band

Civilian Instructor T-Shirt and Polo Shirt