There are four Ranks in the American Rangers. Progression to each Rank requires regular participation in Ranger events, mastery of Critical Objectives for Ranger Excellence (CORE)©, and demonstration of the Key Traits.
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).
Ranger – 3rd Class: A boy must be entering or in the 1st – 4th Grades, and be at least 6 years of age. Focus is on learning the American Rangers Oath, Creed, Drill and Ceremony, and Level I of each CORE Skill.
Ranger – 2nd Class: A boy must be entering or in the 5th – 8th Grades, and be at least 10 years of age. Focus is on learning and demonstrating Drill and Ceremony, Level II of each CORE Skill and filling initial leadership roles.
Ranger – 1st Class: 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. 1st Class Rangers should demonstrate mastery of all CORE Skills (Levels I – III), be able to conduct Drill and Ceremony for the Troop, are responsible for leading and training the 3rd and 2nd Class Rangers, and are focused on preparing mentally and physically for the Gauntlet.
Chief Ranger: A boy who has successfully completed the Gauntlet will be awarded the rank of Chief Ranger. Chief Rangers occupy the Patrol’s senior Ranger Leader positions and are authorized to wear the black hat.