Military Salary

Career as a Military



By Diane Turner

The United States military is made up of the Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy, Army, Reserves, National Guard, Homeland Security and Coast Guard. Each of these branches will have its own average military salary, policies, titles and career opportunities that will need to be considered when choosing to join the service. The duties for these branches largely falls onto two lines, the enlisted personnel and officers. Enlisted personnel will maintain and repair equipment, act as technicians in the field, serve in the front lines as supervisors of junior personnel and participate in any combat missions. Officers are responsible for leading troops in these combat missions, operating ships, aircraft or armored vehicles, act as managers toward enlisted personnel and act in a legal, engineering or other major field on behalf of the military.

Members of the military will work in a variety of locations based on the branch of the military you have joined and the responsibilities your rank is expected to take on. The average salary of a military will be adjusted to address the level of risk these individuals have when fulfilling their duties. Those in active duty may be deployed to dangerous areas and are expected to engage in combat. In these circumstances the threat of injury or death is more likely than those participating in homeland security or in the reserves, and they will be rewarded as such. Most military personnel will be expected to work full time or very long hours. It is common for these individuals to be stationed away from their families or overseas depending on the needs of the military at the time.

Those that are hoping to join the military will need to follow through with examinations that will address their aptitude for different tasks, their education levels and character requirements. You must be at least 18 years of age with a high school diploma or equivalent to join the military. Any vocational training or former military training will be considered when determining the average salary for a military serviceman. Those that have more training or skills will not need to be trained on the job, and can therefore start at a higher rank than those who will enter with lower scores that will require additional training. Anyone who wishes to join the military will need to take the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery placement exam to determine which area of service would be best for them.

Those that are interested in joining the military can sign a delayed contract while they finish their final year of high school. You can also opt to sign this contract if you need time to settle personal affairs before leaving for training. Everyone who joins the military must sign on for a specific length of time in order to be considered for service.

Military Average Salary

The military average salary is $32,490. However, there are many benefits that help to supplement the salary. Those in the military can expect to earn additional benefits when moving into active duty, rising in the rankings within the military or working within a specific branch of the military.

Military Salary Factors and Influences

The average military salary is difficult to calculate because it is based on such a wide variety of factors. Each branch of the military has its own pay scale as well as different contracts that their personnel are expected to fulfill. Branches like the reserves that have a lower level of commitment will often offer a lower pay grade than those that sing on for long-term contracts. In particular, those that are willing to enter active duty will expect to see a much higher pay level than those that are in the reserves, Coast Guard or Homeland Security branches.

The salary for various military personnel is also largely based on the rank these individuals have achieved. In general, those with a higher education level and those that have contributed more time to their military service can expect to earn more than those just entering the military. Those with more education and experience are also more likely to be promoted to a higher rank, which offers a higher base pay than those that are lower down on the scale. Each branch of the military has its own pay scales based on these needs. A recruitment officer will have plenty of information available on what each member of the military can expect to earn based on how long they plan to serve and what they plan to do with their service time.

Those with specific skills that they can contribute to their military service can also expect to see a higher salary for a militarystaff. Those who participated in an ROTC program through their university will already be trained in the basics that are necessary to move into the field. Similarly, those that scored well on their entrance exams or have worked in an industry that has relatable skills to the military can expect to earn more up front than those that will require extensive training. Those that know another language, particularly a language that is spoken in an area where the military is active, can expect to be moved into a specialized position and earn a more competitive wage.

In addition to your basic pay check, the military offers many supplementary benefits that are intended to compensate for the high level of service required in this position. Those that are out on active duty will have housing, rations and any basic gear provided as part of their service. Due to the high risk of injury that active duty personnel are expected to take on, the military offers a very competitive health care and insurance program to better address these needs. Many who join the military are eligible for educational benefits once their service contract is completed. Housing and insurance benefits, and some educational offerings are extended to the families of military personnel as well. While these benefits do not have a specific monetary value, they do decrease the out of pocket costs those in these positions would need to take on, which increases the value of their contract.

Bonuses are also available to further increase the average salary for a military. Most receive an enlistment bonus should they be qualified. This can be work up to $40,000 based on the educational benefits available to these personnel. Those that are willing to work in a specialized career path such as the rangers may be able to earn an additional bonus. The military is also currently offering a bonus for those that are able to work as translators, particularly those that can translate Middle Eastern languages that can be worth up to $20,000 based on the individual’s skill level.

Military Salary Compared To Related Fields

Military personnel can expect to earn a very competitive salary compared to similar industries throughout the country.

Average salary for a military: $32,490

Average salary for correctional officers: $30,360

Average salary for private detectives or investigators: $42,870

Average salary for firefighters: $45,250

Average salary for security guards or gaming surveillance officers: $47,200

The average salary of a military is very similar to that of industries that would perform similar duties within the country. However, it is important to note that the military tends to offer more advancement opportunities and a better retirement or health care package than many of these other industries, further increasing the value of their salary beyond this average.

Military Salary by State

Because of the nature of the service, there are no figures for military salary by state. Those that are employed in the military will be asked to serve in a variety of locations, many of which are not located within the confines of the United States boarders. Individuals with like rankings and responsibilities in the military can expect to earn a similar wage regardless of where they are serving.

Military Types of Salaries

Please note that specific titles may vary based on the branch of the military where the individual serves. Terms below refer to those used in the U.S. Army.

Military Recruit:

Basic recruits in the military are encouraged to earn a high school diploma or the equivalent, though their education can be advanced on the job when necessary. There is no prior experience required to join the military. In order to move into the military and earn a rank within the organization these individuals will have to complete a boot camp program. They will also need to perform within the guidelines established by the organization and work well with their supervising officers.

Military Private:

Those that have completed their basic training will move to this rank. They will be asked to operate weapons or complete special missions or act within combat situations. This may include addressing the needs of special forces, infantry, artillery. These individuals are encouraged to earn a high school diploma or its equivalent and spend at least nine months as a recruit. They will need to follow the guidelines of the organization and follow orders from their supervising officers.

Military Private First Class:

First class privates or their equivalent in other branches of the military will have finished their basic training and are now capable of taking on a variety of roles within the organization. They will be assigned based on previous experience, areas where they excel as well as the needs of the military at the time. They must have spent at least nine months as a private before they may advance. These individuals are encouraged to earn a high school diploma or a training equivalent.

Military Corporal/Specialist:

Those that have moved into a corporal or specialist position within the military will be trained to take on duties in a specific aspect of the military. They must spend at least six months as a private first class or military equivalent in other branches before they may move into this position. Those that apply for these positions will require a high school diploma or its equivalent. These individuals will work under direct supervision of their officers but may also be asked to direct others in the field.

Military Sergeant:

Servants or their equivalent in other branched in the military will be specifically trained to manage a specific discipline within the organization. They must spend at least a year as a specialist before they may move into this position. They will need to follow the specific guidelines of their position and work directly with their supervisors. They may also be asked to supervise or direct others. These individuals should earn a high school diploma or equivalent before earning this position.

History of the Military

The United States military was founded in 1775 with George Washington as its first commander. This army was used to protect and defend the country during the Revolutionary War, which was settled in 1781. After this point, the Constitution established a new military in 1789 that would report directly to the President of the United States. The military has defended the United States in a variety of situations during this time, including the War of 1812, World War I and II, the Korean War or the Vietnam War. In addition to acting in an active war situation, the U.S. military is constantly in active duty around the world defending United States interests or defending the democratic process.

Military Salary Outlook – Conclusion

The average salary of a military will vary in coming years based on the fiscal budget. In general these tend to remain steady from year to year. The United States will always require military personnel so there is no risk that jobs will not be available in this field. However, as of 2010, the United States has decreased the number of members in active duty, which can limit the number of people that will be able to take on these positions. The number of positions available in these areas will be highly dependent on the number of military personnel that are promoted, choose to end their service or retire. Around 165,000 people are needed each year to address these open spaces.

One of the key benefits to seeking a career in the military is the high amount of room for advancement. Those that are willing to dedicate many years of service to the industry can see a great deal of advancement in their rank as well as the salary for a military member. Those that use the military as a means to get more education can also see a higher benefit over time because they will become more and more valuable to the military. Recruitment levels are often higher for those that already have a college education in a career path such as engineering or medical science that can help fulfill the needs of the military on the ground.