Ranks of the U.S. Air Force are General, Lieutenant, Brigadier, Colonel, Lieutenant Colonel, Major, Captain, First Lieutenant and Second Lieutenant. Sergeants in order are Chief Master of the Air Force, Command Chief Master, Chief Master, Senior Master, Master, Technical and Staff. Airman ranks are Senior, First Class, Airman, and Basic.
All included, there are 20 ranks in the U.S. Air Force, according to Military Factory. The ranks are divided into enlisted ranks, non-commissioned officers and commissioned officers. The lowest four Airman ranks are enlisted ranks; the Sergeant ranks are non-commissioned officers and the officer ranks from second Lieutenant and above are officers.
Enlisted service personnel are those whose role in the Air Force is focused on the performance of a specific task. Non-commissioned officers have a more general command responsibility, but have that responsibility as a result of seniority. Commissioned officers have received a commission from the President of the United States to serve as a leader in the military.
Increased rank in the military is associated with duration of service, higher compensation, greater experience and responsibilities. A commission is a prerequisite for taking on certain jobs including serving as a pilot, commanding a company or independent unit, or serving in some technical positions.