There are four Ranks in the American Rangers. Each Ranger's Hat/Cover identifies his rank. Similar to the belt structure in many martial arts and symbolic of a transformational journey, the Ranger hat/cover starts out light and gets darker as a boy progresses through the rank structure – Khaki Hat (3rd Class Rangers); Red Hat (2nd Class Rangers); Blue Hat (1st Class Rangers); Black Hat (Adult Guides and Chief Rangers having passed the Gauntlet).
Progression to each Rank requires Rangers to regularly participate in Ranger events, and meet the criteria defined below.
Ranger – 3rd Class: To receive the Tan cover, a boy must be entering or in the 1st – 4th Grades, be at least 6 years of age and complete the RIP within one year of entry. Focus is on learning the American Rangers Oath, the Key Traits and Level I ("Know the Skill") of each Core Skill.
Ranger – 2nd Class: To receive the Red cover, a boy must be entering or in the 5th – 8th Grades, and be at least 10 years of age. He must be able to recite the Rangers Oath, name the Core Skills, and identify the Key Traits. Focus is on Level II ("Show the Skill") of each Core Skill.
Ranger – 1st Class: To receive the Blue Cover, a boy must be at least 14 years of age (OR in High school and at least 13 years of age), and not yet 19 years of age. He must be able to recite the Rangers Oath, name and describe the Core Skills, identify the Key Traits, and identify the Guiding Principles. 1st Class Rangers should demonstrate mastery of Core Skill Levels I – II, and focus on Level III ("Teach the Skill"). They are responsible for planning and leading Rangers events under the guidance of Chief Rangers and Guides. Their primary focus is on learning the Rangers Creed, and preparing mentally and physically for the Gauntlet.
Chief Ranger: A young man who has successfully completed the Gauntlet and demonstrated mastery of all three levels of the Core Skills, will be awarded the rank of Chief Ranger. Chief Rangers occupy the senior Ranger Leader positions and are authorized to wear the black hat.