Enlist : Army Pay & Benefits
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Basic Pay is the fundamental component of military pay. All members receive it and typically it is the largest component of a member's pay. A member's grade (usually the same as rank) and years of service determines the amount of basic pay received.

Active duty servicemembers are paid twice per month, on the 1st and the 15th of each month. The charts below show MONTHLY pay, therefore, you would receive 1/2 of this on each payday.

Active Duty - FY 2009
(effective January 1, 2009) - Pay Overview

Active Duty - FY 2008
(effective January 1, 2008)

Active Duty - FY 2007
(effective January 1, 2007)

In addition to salary and bonuses, the Army provides many benefits that new recruits are not familiar with, such as:

  • Money for College, College Credits Earned thru MOS or Tuition Assistance
  • Salary / Cash Bonuses
  • Job (Full-Time or Part-Time Soldier)
  • Learn Job Skills/Training
  • Global Assignments
  • Housing / Transportation
  • Uniforms & Equipment
  • Medical Benefits (Tricare, Dental)
  • Retirement Benefits / TSP
  • Annual Leave (30 days)

Soldiers who live on an Army base receive their housing and meals for free.

If your situation calls for you to live off base, the Army gives money for specific needs like housing, meals, clothing or official travel.

Below are some of the allowances the Army gives its members:

Basic Allowance for Substanance
Used to pay for food for Soldiers authorized to eat off base.

Basic Allowance for Housing
Used to pay for housing for Soldiers who don't live on base.

Clothing Allowance
Used to replace uniforms and uniform decorations.

Cost of Living Allowance
Used for Soldiers assigned to high-cost locations in the continental U.S.

Enlistment Bonuses

The Army offers enlistment bonuses as a monetary incentive offered to qualified individuals who enlist in the active Army. Your eligibility is based on your selected Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), civilian education or technical skills, length of enlistment and any previous military service. Enlistment bonuses range from $1,000 to $20,000 for active Army enlistments of two or more years.

  • Qualified applicants who enlist for three or more years in any MOS are eligible for at least $5,000.
  • Qualified applicants who enlist for four or more years in the active Army may receive combined bonuses up to $20,000.
  • Qualified applicants who enlist for three or more years in a high-priority MOS may receive combined bonuses up to $20,000.
  • Qualified applicants who enlist for three or more years in a priority MOS may receive combined bonuses up to $10,000.
  • Qualified applicants who enlist for two years may receive combined bonuses up to $6,000.


Some jobs in high demand with bonuses may include:

  • Fire Support Specialist (13F)
  • Explosive Ordnance Disposal Specialist (89D)
  • Petroleum Supply Specialist (92F)
  • Cannon Crewmember (13B)
  • Field Artillery Tactical Data Systems Specialist (13D)
  • Multiple Launch Rocket System Crewmember (13M)
  • Crypto Linguist-Analyst (98X)
  • Food Service Operations (92G)
  • Motor Transport Operator (88M)
  • Field Artillery Firefinder Radar Operator (13R)
  • Cavalry Scout (19D)
  • Satellite Communications Systems Operator-Maintainer (25S)
  • Special Forces Candidate (18X)
  • Infantryman (11X)
  • Air Defense Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence Tactical Operations Center Operator/Maintainer (14J)

Education Bonus
Qualified applicants who enlist for two or more years in any active Army Military Occupational Specialty may receive one of the following bonuses for civilian education:

  • Bachelor's degree - $8,000
  • Associate or two-year degree - $7,000
  • High school graduates with 60 or more college semester hours - $6,000
  • High school graduates with 30 to 59 college semester hours - $3,000

Civilian Skills Bonus
Qualified applicants who already have civilian skills that the Army needs, such as certain foreign languages, may be eligible for a $3,000 bonus.

Airborne Bonus
Qualified applicants who enlist for airborne training and a guaranteed airborne assignment may be eligible for a $3,000 bonus.

As a active duty soldier you can take advantage of the Montgomery GI Bill and the Army College Fund to help pay for a college education.

You can get up to $70,000 (depending on how long you enlist). All you have to do is give $100 a month during your first year of service.

Student Loan Payment

Paying off your student loans can be made easier with the Army’s College Loan Repayment Program. To take advantage of this program you must enlist full time in the Army for three years. Soldiers on Active Duty can get up to $65,000 for college loans.

The Servicemembers' Opportunity Colleges (SOC) are a network of 1,400 colleges and universities whose programs are designed especially to help meet the higher education needs of service members.

The US Army has created one of the most innovative programs of higher education in the world – Army University Access Online (known as eArmyU). eArmyU provides access to quality education for enlisted soldiers across the globe, helping them further their professional and personal goals and providing the Army with top preparation for its forces. eArmyU supports the goal of transforming the military into an Objective Force capable of responding to the diverse and complex demands of the 21st century.

Health Care
As an Active Duty Soldier, you and your family are eligible to receive medical and dental care at little or no cost. You can receive treatment within the Army’s network of hospitals and clinics.

The official military health insurance provider is called Tricare. It is available for all Active Duty Enlisted and Officers.

Soldiers on Active Duty receive:

  • 30 days vacation earned annually
  • Weekends free
  • National holidays
  • Sick days as needed

Soldiers on Active Duty have 30 days vacation earned annually. Depending on your job, weekends and national holidays are considered paid leave.


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