Whether you consider Army as an honorary service, a career choice, or just a stepping stone, understanding how much you will get paid from the army is crucial to your long-term planning and your financial health. Good news is, your army pay is more than just the meager income stated on military pay chart. Depending on the tasks and skills you have, you may be able to earn special pays and bonus in addition to your monthly basic pay.
The army pay is structured into 3 parts—The Basic Pay, Special & Incentive Pay, and Bonuses.
The Basic Pay is your base salary determined by your rank(also called as pay-grade) and length of services. The rate of Basic pay is predetermined by the Department of Defense annually to accommodate the rising cost of living.
The lowest basic pay for an enlisted Army service member is “Enlisted -1,” which is commonly referred to as “E-1”. The highest basic pay for an enlisted Army service member is “Enlisted – 9,” which is commonly referred to as “E-9.”
Below is a table outlining E-1 through E-9’s basic pay structure.
Commissioned Officers in the Army are paid more than enlisted service members. The lowest basic pay for an Army commissioned officer is Second Lieutenant, which is commonly referred to as “O -1”, “O” standing for Officer. The highest basic pay for an Army commissioned officer is a four-star general, also known as an “O-10”
Below is a table outlining O-1 through O-10’s basic pay structure.
Besides the Enlisted and the Officer, the Army also has a third type of rank called Warrant Officers who are usually the technical experts in their field. The warrant officer is ranked higher than the highest Enlisted rank E9 but below the lowest rank of a second Lieutenant O1. Therefore, the basic pay for an army warrant officer is higher than a typical enlisted service member but lower than the officer, if they all had the same years of service.
Special and Incentive Pay
Besides Basic Pay, service members in the Army get different kinds of Special Incentive Pay. These incentive pay are either required by the nature of your duty and assignment as compensation, or as options that incentivize people to sign up for certain task or develop critical skills.
Below is a snapshot of the list of different types of Special and Incentive Pay. For full list please click here.
In addition to Special and Incentive Pay, Army service members may be able to get one time bonuses at enlistment up to $40,000. Bonus amount may vary depending on your skill set, contract length, specialty job or training. Some bonuses may even be combined with other bonuses. Check if any of the following programs potentially applies to you and earn some extra cash from day one.
If any enlisted army service members complete the Ranger Assessment and Selection grueling Program (RASP) and join the 75th Ranger Regiment, they may receive up to $10,000.
This bonus is given to people who speak other foreign languages besides English. An army service member who gets the placement in either of the following two MOS may receive a bonus up to $40,000.
35M Human Intelligence Collector Bonus
Arabic Modern Standard, Arabic Egyptian, Arabic Levantine, Arabic Iraqi, Chinese Mandarin, French, Korean, Spanish, Indonesian, Persian Farsi, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Persian Dari, and Russian.
35P Cryptologic Linguist Bonus
Spanish, Indonesian, and Tagalog
Quick Shipping Bonus
If you quick ship to training within 30 days or less after enlistment, you can earn $16,000, whereas within 31–60 days you can earn $8000.
If you are a qualified former army service members with a ranking E4 or below when re-enlisting, you may be able to earn $20,000.
Two Year Option 26 Bonus
If you can commit to two years of active duty followed by two years of army reserves, then you may receive $5,000. In addition, you may be eligible for a quick ship bonus up to $4000.
Here is a comprehensive list of MOS( Military Occupational Specialty) on the GoArmy website that may earn you a one time bonus at enlistment.
Horizontal Construction Engineer (12N)
Cannon Crewmember (13B)
Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS/HIMARS) Crewmember (13M)
Field Artillery Firefinder RADAR Operator (13R)
PATRIOT Fire Control Enhanced Operator/Maintainer (14E)
Air Defense Battle Management System Operator (14G)
Air Defense Enhanced Early Warning System Operator (14H)
Air and Missile Defense (AMD) Crewmember (14P)
PATRIOT Launching Station Enhanced Operator/Maintainer (14T)
Nodal Network Systems Operator-Maintainer (25N)
Microwave Systems Operator-Maintainer (25P)
Multichannel Transmission Systems Operator-Maintainer (25Q)
Satellite Communication Systems Operator-Maintainer (25S)
Signal Support Systems Specialist (25U)
Geospatial Intelligence Imagery Analyst (35G)
Human Intelligence Collector (35M)
Signals Intelligence Analyst (35N)
Cryptologic Cyberspace Intelligence Collector/Analyst (35Q)
Cryptologic Linguist (35P)
Military Intelligence (MI) Systems Maintainer/Integrator (35T)
Medical Laboratory Specialist (68K)
Veterinary Food Inspection Specialist (68R)
Preventive Medicine Specialist (68S)
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Specialist (74D)
Motor Transport Operator (88M)
Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Specialist (89D)
Quartermaster and Chemical Equipment Repairer (91J)
Bradley Fighting Vehicle System Maintainer (91M)
Automated Logistical Specialist (92A)
Petroleum Supply Specialist (92F)
Culinary Specialist (92G)
Parachute Rigger (92R)
Air Traffic Control Equipment Repairer (94D)
Radio and Communications Security Repairer (94E)
Computer/Detection Systems Repairer (94F)
Test Measurement and Diagnostic Equipment Maintenance Support Specialist (94H)
RADAR Repairer (94M)
Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) Repairer (94P)
Short Range Air Defense System Repairer (94T)
PATRIOT System Repairer (94S)