OK, so you think you may have found your passion in life – becoming an enlisted member of the U.S. Armed Forces.

However, the million-dollar question is…

How much will I earn per month as an enlisted Armed Forces member?


Basic pay in the Armed Forces is based on rank and time in service. The pay structure for military personnel is shown in the table below. Pay bands are the same for all branches. Members of the Armed Forces may receive additional pay based on their job assignment or qualifications. For example, they receive additional pay for foreign, hazardous, submarine, or flight duty, or for being medical or dental officers. Retirement pay is generally available after 20 years of service.

Table: Monthly pay by military rank and years of service of enlisted personnel, January 2018 (in US$)

Source: U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Finance and Accounting Services


In addition to receiving basic pay, members of the military are either housed free of charge on base or they receive a housing allowance.

Members who serve for a certain number of years may receive other benefits. These benefits may include educational benefits through the Montgomery GI Bill, which pays for a portion of educational costs at accredited institutions; medical care at military or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals; and guaranteed home loans.

Military personnel on active duty typically work full time. However, hours vary with the person’s occupational specialty, rank, and branch of service, as well as with the needs of the military. Personnel must be prepared to work additional hours to fulfill missions.

Career ranking

Apart from the monetary and many other perks you get as a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, a military career also ranks very high in terms of respect from the general public.

According to statista.com, a military career is the 4th most prestigious profession across all jobs in the U.S., with only doctors, scientists, and firefighters ranking higher.

The bottom line: Becoming an enlisted U.S. Armed Forces member does not just earn you many perks but also offers you the satisfaction of serving your country and winning widespread respect from all American citizens.