Officer vs Enlisted: Difference and Comparison

The military is one of the most 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 the same purpose for the country, both have different functions to fulfil.

Key Takeaways

  1. Officers hold a position of authority in the military, while Enlisted personnel serve in the military but do not hold a position of authority.
  2. Officers are responsible for making important decisions and giving orders, while Enlisted personnel carry out those orders.
  3. Officers have more education and training than Enlisted personnel.

Officer vs Enlisted

In the military, an officer is a highly reputed and well-paying job responsible for commanding troop units and executing successful missions. Officers are in a position of high-rank qualified in training from an Army educational institute. Enlisted is the lowest rank in the military who follows the orders of an officer. An enlisted is qualified with a high school degree.

Officer vs Enlisted

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, and Brigadier General.

Enlisted people in the military have specialities 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

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 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.

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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 in the idea of the approach of tactics preparation.

At one time, the most effective route to becoming a commissioned officer was to become a graduate of 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 addressed as the only Lieutenant.

This position was achieved after serving as a second lieutenant for around 2 years. Because of their higher rank, they are 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 labour work 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 learners and doers under training.

The enlisted members have to pass tests like physical examination and the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery and clear the process of becoming a soldier.

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They have to fulfil 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.

To become an Enlisted member, the process is completed 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 enlisted, and Enlisted is a lower position in the military
  2. Officers are highly paid for they have major responsibilities, while Enlisted are paid less as their work is to only follow the commands of an officer.
  3. The officer is responsible for the success or failure of the mission, whereas the 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, and manage and carry execute the missions, while the work of the enlisted is to follow officers’ commands and sometimes train other lower enlisted.
Difference Between Officer and Enlisted

Last Updated : 29 August, 2023

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9 thoughts on “Officer vs Enlisted: Difference and Comparison”

  1. This article is very exhaustive but provides detailed information about the roles of officers and enlisted personnel. However, it may be more beneficial to include the cultural and social impact of joining the military.

  2. I also think the article could be more interesting, perhaps the author should include more stories of real officers and enlisted

  3. This article provides very descriptive detail on the roles and responsibilities of Officers and Enlisted women and men in the military.


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