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What Is a Tech Sergeant?

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Technical sergeant is a rank unique to the U.S. Air Force, writes Absolute Astronomy. The Air Force promotes its NCOs on a 12-month promotion cycle, so that those who are eligible for promotion are promoted in groups throughout the year. The staff sergeant with the highest amount of time in grade receives a “line number” of 001. As the Air Force announces a new wave of promotions, those staff sergeants holding the next set of line numbers are promoted to technical sergeant.

Within Enlisted Ranks

A technical sergeant is an E-6, meaning he has had to advance through five ranks before being promoted. In the line of promotion, a technical sergeant (tech sergeant) is immediately above a staff sergeant (E-5) and below a master sergeant (E-7). The technical sergeant rank is considered to be a noncommissioned officer’s ranking, states the My Armed Forces website.

For a staff sergeant to be considered for promotion to TSgt (official abbreviation of this rank), he must have at least five years time in service in the U.S. Air Force and at least 23 months time in grade (as a staff sergeant). It is normal for a staff sergeant to serve for an average of 10 to 12 years before promotion to TSgt.

U.S. Air Force Rank

The rank of TSgt is unique to the U.S. Air Force; neither the U.S. Army nor the Marine Corps has this rank in their forces. This rank is one of the most difficult for an NCO (noncommissioned officer) to achieve. According to the My Armed Forces website, the only other rank that is more difficult to achieve is that of senior master sergeant.

The TSgt mentors lower ranking airmen, giving them leadership and oversight in technical areas, as these junior enlisted airmen prepare for promotion into the senior noncommissioned officer ranks.

Promotion Process to Technical Sergeant

To be eligible for promotion to TSgt, a staff sergeant must serve the required years of time in service and time in grade, in addition to achieving a 7-skill level, which equates to a supervisory level, writes the website.

All Air Force airmen, enlisted and NCO, are required to achieve Weighted Airman Promotion System (WAPS) points. The staff sergeants with the most WAPS points in their Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC) are the most likely to be promoted. The following areas contribute to the WAPS points for each staff sergeant working to be promoted to TSgt: promotion fitness examination, specialty knowledge test, medals and awards won, time in grade and enlisted performance reports (EPR).

Responsibilities of a Technical Sergeant

The technical sergeant is expected to carry out highly technical duties, along with supervising lower-ranking NCOs and airmen. The TSgt is also expected to mentor and help his subordinates to develop their careers and work toward their own promotions.

The TSgt has to ensure that all enlisted personnel under his command have the tools necessary to carry out their jobs. He is also required to provide training and support to his junior NCOs and airmen so they can perform at the highest level possible and contribute to mission effectiveness, writes the website.


Genevieve Van Wyden began writing in 2007. She has written for “Tu Revista Latina” and owns three blogs. She has worked as a CPS social worker, gaining experience in the mental-health system. Van Wyden earned her Bachelor of Arts in journalism from New Mexico State University in 2006.