Everyone in the Air Cadets (and the RAF) can be identified by the badges of rank that they wear. This list of basic adult and cadet ranks will help you identify them. The list starts with adults (instructors and senior staff) followed by cadet ranks, with the most senior in each group at the top.

Officer Ranks

  • Marshal of the Royal Air Force
  • Air Chief Marshal
  • Air Marshal
  • Air Vice-Marshal
  • Air Commodore
  • Group Captain
  • Wing Commander
  • Squadron Leader
  • Flight Lieutenant
  • Flying Officer
  • Pilot Officer

Non-commissioned Officer ranks

  • Warrant Officer
  • Flight Sergeant
  • Sergeant

Cadet Non-commissioned Officer (NCO) ranks

  • Cadet Warrant Officer
  • Cadet Flight Sergeant
  • Cadet Sergeant
  • Cadet Corporal

Every cadet will work his/her way through the various stages of classification training and, hopefully, all cadets will eventually reach the level of Master Air Cadet. It is not the same, however, with the Cadet rank structure.  Promotion to a Cadet Non Commissioned Officer (Cdt NCO) role is only awarded as a result of selection by the Squadron SNCOs and Unit Commander, and the number of cadets that can be promoted is limited.  For example a typical Squadron of 30-40 Cadets has established posts for just 10 NCOs.  It is therefore considered a great honour to be selected for promotion, and competition can be intense.