CAP Grade

Grade is an indicator of achievement and responsibility in CAP. Grade is represented by an insignia worn the uniform.


Grade has many purposes in CAP. One of the primary purposes of grade is to represent a level of achievement a member holds. No grade is simply given; all grades must in some way be worked for and earned, even if that work is only to sign up with CAP. Most grades require a great deal more work, however, involving academic tests, performance evaluations, and mandatory attendance to certain training activities.

The other primary responsibility is to dictate the expected responsibility the member should be capable of handling. That is not to say that any grade guarantees a certain position in CAP. Rather, grade can provide others with an indication of the potential of a member. For instance, a Cadet Airman is expected to hold very little responsibility at all, while a Cadet Captain should be capable of commanding multiple flights at a time.

Grade and Rank

The difference between grade and rank is outlined in the Leadership 2000 and Beyond series, and the difference is generally accepted to be the rule of thumb by most members of CAP. According to the text, a member's grade is represented by the insignia worn, while the rank of the member is the time the member has held the grade in relation to other members. For instance, Member A and Member B can both be Majors, but if Member A has been a Major for a year, and Member B has been a Major for a month, then Major A is considered to be a higher rank than Major B.

While these definitions are generally accepted by the CAP membership, the words "rank" and "grade" are sometimes used interchangeably in informal conversation. Some argue that the US military uses different definitions of "rank" and "grade" that can confuse some CAP members. In addition, rank by CAP's definition seems to be only rarely considered in any situation, and for some seems far too underutilized to warrant the separate definition.

List of Cadet Grades

List of Senior Member Grades

*NOTE: All cadet grades are subordinate to all senior member grades, regardless of the age of the member, time in the program, or any other factors. For instance, a senior member who holds the grade of 2d Lt still is superior in grade to a Cadet Captain.

See Also

Rank Abbreviations

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