Difference Between Officer And Enlisted (With Table)

The military is one of the very highly respected professions as it serves the country. Every year on average 1000000 people join the military all around the globe in Officer or enlisted ranks. While both of the position serves for the same purpose for the country, both have different functions to fulfill.

Officer vs Enlisted

The difference between Officer and Enlisted is that officers are the commanders and they pass commands to Enlisted, so the responsibility of the Officer is more than that of the Enlisted. The enlisters do all the labor works, where the general work of the officer is the management of all works.

Officers are highly paid because their work is of much more responsibility. If any command results in failure even for the fault of the Enlisted, the officer in charge will be responsible for it legally and officially. There are several ranks in the officer position, like the Lieutenant, Captain, Major, Lieutenant Colonel, Brigadier General.

Enlisted people in the military have specialties as they have to complete specific jobs and functions and to do that they should be equipped with task-related knowledge. Their work is of the utmost importance for the success of a mission, and all the Enlisted candidates work under a respected officer whose commands they have to carry out.

Comparison Table Between Officer And Enlisted

Parameters of ComparisonOfficerEnlisted
FunctionAn officer is the person who commands a unit troop, plan missions, manage and carry execute the missions The enlisted members are the labor force, fulfilling the missions and sometimes training other lower enlisted.
PositionOfficers rank higher than enlisted.Enlisted rank the lowest.
QualificationOne needs training from an army educational institute for becoming an officer.One requires a high school degree to become an enlisted.
SalaryOfficers are generally highly paid.Enlisted are paid low.
ResponsibilityAn officer is responsible for the success or failure of the mission.An enlisted is not responsible for the success or failure of a mission.

What is an Officer?

An officer is a better legitimate character in the army who passes command and carries out the missions that are planned by them. Officers get growing rank/obligation and commiserate pay. Officers in all offerings are taken into consideration to be expert specialists in the army or naval technology who’ve selected the army as their credibility and knowledge. Officers have to go through a training procedure so that they specialize inside the idea of the approach of tactics preparation. At one time the most effective route to turning into a commissioned officer is to become a graduate from and a Military educational institute.

There are various ranks of an Officer. The entry-level rank for majority officers is the position of Second Lieutenant. The position of First Lieutenant is often addressed as the only Lieutenant. This position is achieved after serving as a second lieutenant for around 2 years. Because of their higher rank, they are often considered to be the executive officer of a company-sized unit. This is followed by the position of Captain who is in charge of Commanding and controlling company-sized units. A major’s work is to serve as a primary staff officer for brigade and task force command regarding logistical and operational missions

What is an Enlisted?

Enlisted members have to do the labor works in the military, but they can also be given a wide range of duties like leading other enlisted members, being their superintendents, and advising on the command of their officer in charge. There are various levels of the enlisted members too, as the grade E-4, enlisted members are generally learners and doers under training. The enlisted members have to pass the test like physical examination and the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery and clear the process of becoming a soldier. They have to fulfill the required height and weight measurements, clear hearing and vision examinations, drug and alcohol tests, and other additional tests too. After which, they are allocated their specific unit. For becoming an Enlisted member and the process completes by taking an Oath of Enlistment.

After this, they are allocated their specific unit. For becoming an Enlisted member, the minimum educational qualification required is a High school passing degree. Enlisted below the rank of commissioned officers and hence they can be alternatively known as non-commissioned officers. they are regularly placed into leadership positions over lower-ranking enlisted members.

Main Differences Between Officer and Enlisted

  1. Officers rank much higher than that enlisted, Enlisted is a lower position in the military
  2. Officers are generally highly paid for they have major responsibilities while Enlisted are paid low as their work is to only follow commands of an officer.
  3. The officer is responsible for the success or failure of the mission where enlisted are not officially responsible for the success or failure of a mission.
  4. One needs training from an army educational institute for becoming an officer. One requires a high school degree to become an enlisted
  5. The main function of the officer Is to command a unit troop, plan missions, management and carry execute the missions while the work of the enlisted is to follow officers’ commands and sometimes training other lower enlisted.


Officers and Enlisters are both a vital part of the military. In simple words, the work of the officers in the management and the Enlisted are the laboring force. The process of passing and clearing the criteria of being an officer is much tougher than the position of Enlisted. This is because the main credibility of any mission solely depends on the officer ,his or her planning, managing, and execution of the mission.

But however, both positions have certain similar criteria to fulfill. Like the person has to be a citizen of the certain country he or she wants to join the military in, between the age of 18 to 30, should have a good physique and good mental health, have good vision and hearing power.


  1. https://www.heritage.org/defense/report/who-serves-the-us-military-the-demographics-enlisted-troops-and-officers
  2. https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/220033
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