The United States military consists of six branches of around 2.4 million people, both active duty and in the reserves. For these people, serving their country is a full-time job, one that pays a firm salary and benefits.
Of course, the sum is dependent on rank. From an entry-level cadet to an O-4 major in the Army, here are the salaries of those serving in the United States military.
Enlisted Members Get $386.50/Month For Groceries And Food
No matter the branch or rank, a vast majority of military personnel receive allowances for supplies such as food and other various groceries they might need. As of 2020, enlisted members of the military are given $386.50 per month.
On the other hand, officers receive a $266.18 allowance per month.
Cadets And Midshipmen: $1,186/Month
As a cadet or midshipman, a student at one of the five service academies, they are on the lowest end of the pay scale. Even so, they are still paid a monthly sum, something that other college students can’t say!
Each month, students receive $1,186 per month for an annual sum of $14,232.
E-1s With Less Than Four Months Experience: $1,650/Month
Privates in the Marines and Army, Airman Basics in the Air Force and Space Force, and Seaman Recruits in the Navy and Coast Guard are the lowest ranks an enlisted service member can be, an E-1 (enlisted-1).
But even with less than four months of active duty under their belts, E-1 service members receive $1,650 per month.
E-2 Service Members: $2,000.70/Month
An E-2 is the next tier in military ranking. This rank goes to private first class in the Marines, seaman apprentice in the Navy and Coast guard, an airman in the Air Force and Space Force, and a private second class in the Army.
Their monthly allowance shoots up to $2,000.70 per month for an annual salary of $24,008.40.
E-3s With Less Than Two Years Experience: $2,103.90/Month
When a service member makes it to the rank of E-3, their salary is based on how many years they have been enlisted. The ranking of E-3 includes Marine lance corporals, Army privates first class, Air Force and Space Force airmen first class, and Navy and Coast Guard seamen.
These servicemen and women with less than two years of experience will make $2,103.90 per month, while those with at least three years under their belts will earn $2,371.80 per month.
E-4: $2,330.40/Month – $2,829/Month
E-4 servicemen and women hold the rankings of Army specialists and corporals, Navy and Coast Guard petty officers third class, Marine corporals, and Air Force and Space Force senior airmen.
With at least six years of experience, this rank will make around $2,829/month, a solid $500 more than those of equal rank but less than two years in service.
E-5: $2,541.60/Month – $3,606.90/Month
Those servicemen and women who reach E-5 status had a long journey, climbing their way up the ranks from an E-1. But it’s well worth it.
From petty officers second class in the Navy and Coast Guard to sergeants in the Army and Marines and staff sergeants in the Air Force and Space Force, service members who reach an E-5 pay grade have spent at least 12 years in service, giving them a chance to make up to $43,282.80/year.
E-6: $2,774.40/Month – $4,297.20/Month
Petty officers first class in the Navy and Coast Guard, technical sergeants in the Air Force and Space Force, and staff sergeants in the Army and Marines have the privilege of an E-6 rank in the military.
This not only means they’ve served for at least 18 years but that they receive a monthly salary of between $2,774.40 and $4,297.20 for an annual salary of around $51,566.40.
E-7: $3,207.60/Month – $5,765.40/Month
The pay gap between E-7 servicemen and women is quite something. This ranking includes Marine gunnery sergeants, Navy and Coast Guard chief petty officers, Army sergeants first class, Air Force and Space Force master sergeants.
If an E-7 has served for less than two years, their annual salary is only $38,491.20. At the same time, E-7 servicemen and women with at least 26 years of experience can earn an annual salary of $69,184.80.
E-8: $4,614.60/Month – $6,581.40/Month
Only service members with at least eight years of experience can hop into the E-8 pay scale. This rank includes senior master sergeants in the Air Force and Space Force, first sergeants in the Army, master sergeants in the Army and Marines, and senior chief petty officers in the Navy and Coast Guard.
These servicemen and women can make anywhere between $55,375.20 and $78,976.80 per year.
E-9: $5,637/Month – $8,752.50/Month
When servicemembers hit the rank of an E-9, their monthly paycheck goes up substantially. Navy and Coast Guard master chief petty officers, Army sergeant majors, Air Force and Space Force chief master sergeants, and Marine master gunnery sergeants and sergeant majors earn between $5,637 and $8,752.50 per month.
E-9s with at least 38 years of experience can make up to a six-figure salary, earning around $105,030 annually.
W-1: $3,309.30/Month – $5,718.60/Month
W-1s or warrant officer 1s have their ranks approved by Congress and are experts in a specific skill. While they technically have a higher ranking than enlisted members of the military, they don’t necessarily have as much experience, bringing their monthly income lower.
Besides the Air Force and Space Force, all branches have warrant office 1s, paying the rank between $3,309.30 – $5,718.60 per month.
W-2: $3,770.40/Month – $6,293.10/Month
The next tier is a Chief Warrant Officer, a W-2, a rank only available in the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, and the Marines. Depending on how many years served in these branches, servicemen and women will have varying pay grades.
Those who have served less than two years will receive an annual salary of $45,244.80. At the same time, W-2s who have served for at least 24 years can make up to $75,517.20 per year.
W-3: $4,261.20/Month – $7,474.50/Month
A serviceman or woman who has worked their way up the W-3 ladder has immense skills and brings invaluable expertise and resources to their team. A W-3 Chief Warrant Officer is found in several branches of the United States military, including the Army, Marines, Coast Guard, and Navy.
W-3 officers can expect to make at least $51,134.40 per year or, with at least 26 years under their belt, $89,694 per year.
W-4: $4,665.90/Month – $8,691/Month
While people in the Army, Marines, and Navy shoot up to a W-5 pay grade, those in the Coast Guard become a Chief Warrant Officer 4, or a W-4. And these servicemen and women are paid a nice chunk of change for their time.
In 2021, W-4s with less than two years of experience are making $55,990.80 per year, while those with at least 30 years of experience make $104,292 per year.
W-5: $8,296.20/Month – $10,856.40/Month
The rank of W-5 is given to those in the Army, Marines, and Navy, and it is the highest paygrade they’ll be able to receive. Even though chief warrant officers are capped out, they are very well compensated for their service.
Servicemen and women who have at least 20 years of experience will earn $99,554.40 per year, while those with at least 38 years of experience will make $130,276.80 per year.
If a serviceman or woman is lucky enough to reach the ranking of general in the Army, Marines, Air Force, or Space Force, or admiral in the Coast Guard or Navy, they’ve reached the tier of O-10, and their salary has been capped.
Not that it matters, since this prestigious ranking comes with a solid base pay of $199,299.60 per year.
O-9: $16,012.50/Month – $16,608.30/Month
The pay scale for an O-9 doesn’t even start until the service member has been in the military for at least 20 years. A lieutenant general in the Army, Marines, Air Force, and Space Force, and a vice admiral in the Coast Guard and Navy, those who make it to these ranks are very well compensated.
The base pay starts at $192,150 per year while those with at least 26 years of experience earn up to $199,299.60 per year.
O-8: $11,329.50/Month – $16,333.20/Month
Due to the number of responsibilities on the shoulders of O-8s, they’ve earned their enormous salary. This tier includes the ranking of major generals of the Army, Marines, Air Force, and Space Force, and rear admirals of the Coast Guard and Navy.
While the base pay for this tier starts at $135,954 per year, it can be as much as $195,998.40 for those with at least 34 years of experience.
O-7: $9,414.30/Month – $14,065.80/Month
O-7 is an elite ranking that not many people see. It includes a brigadier general of the Army, Marines, Air Force, and Space Force, and a rear admiral lower half in the Coast Guard and Navy.
Even the servicemen and women with the least experience can expect to make a six-figure salary, with the base pay starting at $112,971.60 per year. Those with at least 30 years of experience make $168,789.60 per year!
O-6: $7,139.10/Month – $12,638.40/Month
The tier of O-6 includes colonels in the Army, Marines, Air Force, and Space Force, and captains in the Coast Guard and Navy. Getting to this level is no easy feat, and those who do are well compensated for their service.
The base pay for an O-6 is $85,669.20 per year, while those with 30 years of service can make up to $151,660.80.
O-5: $5,951.40/Month – $10,111.20/Month
O-5s are the next in line of commissioned officers. This tier is reserved for the ranking of lieutenant colonels in the Army, Marines, Air Force, and Space Force, while they’re called commanders in the Coast Guard and Navy. No matter their actual title, O-5s are paid a generous sum depending on their experience.
Those with little to no experience can expect to make $71,416.80 per year, while those with at least 22 years under their belt can make $121,334.40.
O-4: $5,135.10/Month – $8,573.70/Month
Next on the tier are O-4s, a major in the Army, Marines, Air Force, and Space Force, and a lieutenant commander in the Coast guard and Navy. While it is rare, some people move up to an O-4 rank quickly, with no experience.
These servicemen and women can expect to make around $61,621.20 per year. Those who have at least 18 years of experience are pushing past six figures, though, earning $102,884.40 per year.
O-3E: $6,022.80/Month – $7,839/Month
An O-3E captain or lieutenant will expect to make a nice annual sum, even without years of experience under their belts. Right out the gate, service members at this rank can earn up to $72,273.60 per year.
And that’s nothing compared to those people with experience. For those with at least 18 years of experience, their annual salary can reach up to $94,068 per year!
O-3: $4,514.70/Month – $7,345.20/Month
The next tier is an O-3, a rank of captain in the Army, Marines, Air Force, and Space Force, and a rank of lieutenant in the Coast Guard and Navy. It is possible to achieve this rank without experience, but the pay is a bit lower.
Those with no experience can expect to earn around $54,176.40 per year, while those O-3s with at least 14 years of experience can earn up to $88,142.40 per year.
O-2E: $5,289.90/Month – $6,251.70/Month
While an O-2E is technically in the same rank as an O-2, their pay grade is a bit higher. Before becoming eligible for O-2E status, a person first must have at least four years of service as a warrant officer or enlisted member under their belts.
If a person reaches O-2E status, they’ll start with a yearly salary of $64,782. But those with at least 14 years of experience can expect to earn up to $75,020.40.
O-2: $3,901.20/Month – $5,398.50/Month
A first lieutenant in the Army, Marines, Air Force, and Space Force and lieutenant junior grade in the Navy and Coast Guard are all under the ranking of an O-2. And, like other military rankings, an O-2s pay is dependent on their experience.
Those with less than two years of experience will earn $46,814.40 per year, while those with at least six years will earn $64,782 per year.
O-1E: $4,260.60/Month – $5,289.90/Month
An O-1E makes just a little bit more than an O-1 officer. Again, it all has to do with years of experience. While O-1s are typically just out of the academy or an ROTC program, O-1Es have some time in service under their belts.
They need to serve for at least four years before earning their commission and O-1E status. These service members can earn up to $51,127.20 per year, while those with at least 14 years of experience can make up to $63,478.80 per year.
O-1: $3,385.80/Month -$4,260.60/Month
Even though Officer 1s (O-1) outrank W-5s, they’re paid significantly less. This is because O-1s are typically very young without the experience of a W-5, having most likely graduated from one of the academies of an ROTC program.
O-1 second lieutenants and ensigns are still paid a nice sum, though. They earn anywhere between $40,629.60 and $51,127.20 per year.
Air Traffic Control Managers: $97,360
According to My Future, “Air traffic control managers oversee the operations of airfields and control centers that direct the tactical employment of aircraft during combat or non-combat missions.” Throughout the various branches of the military, there are 9,112 with this high-paying job title.
Air traffic control managers average a solid salary of $97,360.
Supply And Warehouse Manager: $98,878
Around 14,982 military members work as supply and warehouse managers throughout the various branches of the United States military. A high-paying job, this title requires people to be highly organized and able to facilitate the various needs of a massive warehouse.
The pay for this position is very generous, too, averaging $98,878.
Training Specialist: $124,193
Currently, there are 228 training specialists throughout every branch of the military. This job is critical, as people who hold the title plan out curriculums that educate, train and improve the knowledge and skills of military personnel.
For an officer, a college degree is required for a training specialist position. It’s worth it, though, since the salary is an average of $124,193.
The Coast Guard, Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps are all in need of pharmacists. Responsible for medication dispersal amongst the military, side effect discussion, as well as consulting with doctors on proper dosages, the job of a pharmacist is no small task.
As of 2021, there are 676 pharmacists in the military, each making an average of $137,992.
Epidemiologist/Infectious Disease Physician: $117,456
On the front lines of global health issues, military epidemiologists/infectious disease physicians are responsible for researching the patterns, causes, and effects of various diseases.
Currently, there is 1,487 military personnel who hold this job title throughout the five branches of the United States military, earning an average salary of $117,456.
When it comes to being a military chaplain, around 66% of people hold a master’s degree in theology, phycology, pastoral studies, or counseling, to name a few. As a chaplain, people are responsible for providing a wide variety of religious needs amongst the military branches, including religious accommodation and counseling.
On average, military chaplains make $118,154.
Physicists are utilized in every branch of the military, from the Navy to the Air Force, with 437 total people taking up the title. These scientists are responsible for conducting experiments and analyzing results, especially in relation to matter and living organisms.
On average, military physicists earn a salary of $130,580.
Computer Programmer And Developer: $118,839
According to My Future, “Computer programmers and developers write, analyze, design, and develop programs that are critical to war-fighting capabilities and allow computer applications and software programs to function properly.”
Currently, there are around 1,226 people throughout every branch of the United State military who hold this job title, making an average of $118,839.
Social Worker: $120,752
Military social workers provide essential mental health services, clinical counseling, substance abuse interventions, and more to not only other military personnel but their families. Needed in every branch of the military, there are currently 290 social workers spread throughout the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Coast Guard, and Air Force.
On average, social workers make $120,752.
Music Composer And Arranger: $126,026
While music composers and arrangers are in each branch of the military, there are only a total of 27 with the job title. Responsible for transcribing musical scores and composing original musical arrangements for various events, this job is only offered to those with extensive knowledge of music theory.
On average, military music composers and arrangers earn $126,026.
A job as a chemist is available in each branch of the military. Even so, there are only 68 people currently holding the title, as it is a lot of responsibility with a required college degree.
According to My Future, military chemists “conduct and advise on research having military and/or medical application, such as protection of personnel from chemical, biological, and radiological agents…” Their average salary is around $124,495.
Dental Laboratory Technician: $158,901
One of the highest-paying jobs in the United States Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Navy is a dental laboratory technician. In total, there are only 70 technicians in the military, making it a hard-earned job that requires a lot of dedication and knowledge of all things dentistry.
Of course, it’s worth it since the salary is an average of $158,901.
Nuclear Engineer: $116,097
The job of a nuclear engineer is no small task. They’re responsible for developing and then capitalizing on the energy released during a nuclear reaction. Because of the high level of critical thinking, problem-solving, math, science, and technology design that goes into this job, only 726 military members currently hold this title.
They’re all well compensated, with an average salary of $116,097.
The Judge Advocate General selected each of the current 1,671 military judges throughout the branches of the United States military. With 66% of people holding a doctoral degree, 23% holding a first professional, and 9% going through post-doctoral training, it is a very prestigious and difficult job to earn.
A military judge’s compensation averages $14,779.
Helicopter Pilots: $77,487
Helicopter pilots are needed in every branch of the military. They are skilled and trained in how to spot and observe enemy positions, transport troops, perform combat maneuvers, and evacuate the wounded.
In total, there are currently 1,068 servicemen and women who hold this title, earning an average salary of $77,487.
Feet, ankles, and the surrounding bones and ligaments holding everything together are pretty important. Military podiatrists are responsible for examining and taking care of any issues or abnormalities that may arise in that area.
In the military, a lot of podiatrists will see cases relating to combat. Their compensation is an average salary of $113,428.
Healthcare Administrators: $110,826
Healthcare administrators have an important job, managing clinics, hospitals, and other military care facilities. Needed throughout every branch of the United States military, there are currently 3,591 with this high-paying job title.
For this job, people tend to need high levels of social skills, leadership, math, science, critical thinking, problem-solving, and technology design in order to earn the average salary of $110,826.
Human Resource Managers: $84,121
Even the military needs human resource managers! Responsible for “coordinating policies and programs that support service members,” as stated by My Future, this position is important for keeping the whole of the United States military organized and compliant.
From disciplinary action to giving out awards, HR managers pretty much do it all and are well compensated for their efforts with an average salary of $84,121.
Military recruiters are those men and women who kids see at their high school career fairs, asking students what their plans are for the future and if they’ve ever considering joining the military. Responsible for virtually every aspect of the recruitment process, this job is necessary for all military branches.
They’re well-compensated, with an average salary of $79,773.
Artillery And Missile Officers: $79,188
According to My Future, “Artillery and missile officers manage personnel and weapons operations to destroy enemy positions, aircraft, and vessels. They direct artillery crew members as they position, maintain, and fire guns, cannons, howitzers, and rockets.”
This stressful and leadership-driven position makes an average salary of $79,188 since 28,297 people hold the title.