By Allison Kirschbaum

The Air Force's promotion to technical sergeant bounced back to nearly 20% in 2024, a good sign compared to its historically low record from the previous years—one of the department's record-breaking news. Out of the 35,000 eligible staff sergeants, just over 6,900 were selected for the technical sergeant rank. Unlike last year, which only had a 14.5% rate of qualified applicants, that marked the lowest promotion for the rank in almost three decades. The promotions skyrocketed thanks to the service's force management budget and strategy.

Army technical sergeant is not the only rank that has had an upward trend in terms of promotion. Last May, some people were promoted to master sergeants with the highest number of selected personnel, and in March, the department had the highest selection of new senior master sergeants in six years.

Technical Sergeant Rank Promotion

The department's changes are an effort to strengthen its commitment to recognizing excellence and ensuring that the force stays responsive and agile to challenges. A technical sergeant involves handling experts in the field and being a mid-level leader within a given unit. Those chosen to climb up the ladder have spent nearly five years at their current rank and around nine years and months in the Air Force. This is slightly longer than last year's selectees' required number of years.

The efforts to reshape the Air Force's enlisted corps include a plan to reduce the cadre of the Army technical sergeant to 15% of the enlisted force by next year; then, billets will be moved to lower ranks.

Last year, the Air Force warned Airmen that promotion rates might be lower for the next few years. This is specifically true for noncommissioned officers because of the modifications in the enlisted grade structure and increased retention rate. Some higher-ups even added that only a few Airmen were promoted without the necessary experience.

The NCO saw some of their lowest promotions in 2022 and 2023, a massive dip since the early 1990s and the end of the Cold War. Col. James Barger even mentioned that most of the decline was attributed to the departments trying to aim for an enlisted force structure with too many higher grades. Experience levels are also projected to decline unless there is a more major location for junior airmen and less for E5-E7.

While the technical sergeant rank cycle 2024 has improved over the previous two years, it is still at par with 2019. That year, more than 9,000 airmen were selected, and the promotion rate was nearly one-third. Based on other data, this year's number of promoted technical sergeants is still below historical averages.

Officials mentioned that the service could take until 2025 to have a healthier distribution of Airmen across grades. Forecasting that the technical sergeant rank might suffer one year of having fewer promotions. While the Air Force has rolled out promotion statistics for E-6, E-7, and E-8, E-5 is still on hold and will be released later this summer.

What Is a Technical Sergeant?

An Army technical sergeant is a non-commissioned officer in the Air Force. The rank is one of the most challenging promotions to acquire, as you must have a level of 7 or above to be considered to become a technical sergeant. They are skilled at handling highly complex technical duties and can supervise their subordinates. Being in the position means performing at your best and making those you supervise work at their best.

The overall prerequisite to achieving the technical sergeant rank is the points system, also known as the weighted airman promotion system (WAPS); the points include time of service, test scores, performance reports, medals/decorations, and much more. A staff sergeant must also show a keen aptitude for developing skills and leadership.

Further, the rank insignia of a technical sergeant is similar to that of the staff sergeant: three silver, pointing downward chevrons outlined in blue, with an encircled star at the point and a point-curved chevron below the star. However, it has two curved chevrons below the encircled star.

Holding a unique and high rank, such as a technical sergeant, may take a long time. However, if you are focused on the goal, you can quickly achieve this promotion, primarily if you work hard to qualify, earn your years, and have proven yourself worthy.

Related reads:




Get the latest news and military discounts