The Navy pays sailors comparable to other military branches with wages determined by rank and years of service.
Therefore, Navy SEAL salary is based on the same factors with a few opportunities for bonus pay.
How much can you expect to earn each month serving the military as a Navy SEAL?
Read the article to learn more about how Navy SEAL salaries work and the additional benefits of enlistment.
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Navy SEAL Salary
The U.S. Armed Forces have always been fair and unilateral when it comes to compensation.
All the major branches (Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, etc.) follow the same pay structure.
The U.S. military compensates soldiers based on two primary factors: A) military rank and B) years of service.
The longer you serve, and the higher your Navy rank, the more you can expect to earn each month.
Consequently, your Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) has very little, if anything to do with your monthly wage.
Elite special-ops like Navy SEALs do not earn from a different pay scale than the regular Navy.
The only difference is that SEALs usually receive hazardous duty pay which means higher earnings.
SEALs also get rewarded with two substantial pay bonuses once they A) qualify for Navy SEAL training and B) successfully complete the training program.
Here is a general idea as to what you would earn in the U.S. Navy based on military rank:
|Insignia||Pay Grade||Rank||Abbreviation||2021 Minimum Monthly Pay|
|E-4||Petty Officer Third Class||PO3||$2,330.40|
|E-5||Petty Officer Second Class||PO2||$2,541.60|
|E-6||Petty Officer First Class||PO1||$2,774.40|
|E-7||Chief Petty Officer||CPO||$3,207.60|
|E-8||Senior Chief Petty Officer||SCPO||$4,614.60|
|E-9||Master Chief Petty Officer||MCPO||$5,637.00|
|E-9||Command Master Chief Petty Officer||CMDCM||$5,637.00|
|E-9||Master Chief Petty Officer Of The Navy||MCPON||$5,637.00|
Another table which gives you an idea of how much you would earn as an officer in the U.S. Navy:
|Insignia||Pay Grade||Rank||Abbreviation||2021 Minimum Monthly Pay|
|O-2||Lieutenant Junior Grade||LTJG||$3,901.20|
|O-7||Rear Admiral Lower Half||RDML||$9,414.30|
Here are a few examples of what you might earn in the U.S. Navy based on rank and years of service:
- Seamen (E-3) w/ 4 years of service: $2,303
- Petty Officer First Class (E-6) w/ 10 years of service: $3,770
- Senior Chief Petty Officer (E-8) w/ 22 years of service: $5,788
- Lieutenant Junior Grade (O-2) w/ 3 years of service: $5,363
- Lieutenant Commander (O-4) w/ 8 years of service: $6,983
- Rear Admiral (O-8) w/ 20 years of service: $14,730
NOTE: You can get a more detailed look at what you expect to earn in the Navy based on both military rank AND years of service by reading our Navy Ranks And Basic Pay For 2020 article.
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Additional Pay and Benefits
While the pay is enough for many people to join the military, there are plenty of service members that also value the excellent benefits included with a monthly salary.
The U.S. Navy has an outstanding benefits package that most people joining the military (particularly those fresh out of high school or college) have never enjoyed before through a job:
- Health Insurance
- Dental & Vision Insurance
- Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)
- Long Term Care Insurance
- Life Insurance
- Retirement (FERS Account)
- Thrift Savings Plan
- Paid Time Off (PTO)
- Military Leave & Holidays
Additionally, the U.S. Navy has many added perks or programs you can join that are included as part of your service:
- Basic Allowance For Housing (BAH)
- Food Allowance
- Clothing Allowance
- Transportation Subsidies
- Tuition Reimbursement
- Employee Assistance Programs
Finally, Navy SEALs receive several added bonuses for being part of an elite special-ops force:
- Qualifying Pay Bonus
- Training Completion Bonus
- Hazardous Duty Pay
- Imminent Danger Pay
- Dive Pay
- Parachute/Demolition Pay
- Retention Bonuses
While it may seem like at face value Navy SEALs don’t earn more than regular Navy sailors it is actually not true when you factor in all the bonuses.
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7 Types of Navy SEAL Bonuses
Now that you have a good idea regarding the bonuses you are entitled to earn as a Navy SEAL, let’s examine them in more detail:
1. Navy SEAL Qualifying Bonus: The U.S. Navy offers you an initial bonus just for qualifying for SEAL training.
2. Training Completion Bonus: Navy SEAL training is largely considered the most demanding training on earth. If you manage to survive, you get a handsome financial reward.
3. Hazardous Duty Pay: Pay for non-aircrew members is an additional $150 per month for performing dangerous job duties associated with Navy SEALs.
4. Parachute/Demolition Pay: Parachuting and handling demolitions fall under the extra $150 you earn each month for hazardous duty pay.
5. Dive Pay: SEALs that perform work as divers (every special-op is trained in diving) receive an added bonus of up to $240 per month.
6. Imminent Danger Pay: SEALs earn an additional $225 per month for working outside the country and being linked to imminent danger such as wartime conditions, terrorism, or civil war.
7. Retention Bonus: The U.S. Navy rewards soldiers that return for another tour of service. Your retention bonus varies based on a few factors.
Navy SEAL bonuses can potentially earn you $150 to $615 more a month, which is substantial.
And that doesn’t include initial bonuses for qualifying and passing SEAL training, or retention bonuses.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Here are some commonly asked questions about Navy SEAL salary:
How much does a Navy SEAL make per year?
The amount of Navy SEAL salary for a year is determined by A) military rank, B) years of service, and C) any applicable pay bonuses.
Navy SEALs at the lowest possible rank (E-3) receive a little over $2,000 per month (not factoring in bonuses).
Therefore, the minimum yearly salary for a Navy SEAL is $24,000 though you’ll likely receive far higher earnings.
Most SEALs are ranked higher and therefore earn better pay.
In fact, the average Navy SEAL earns $54,000 per year.
Some special operatives, particularly those with additional skills and serving in dangerous areas, can earn close to six figures a year.
Why do SEALs get extra pay?
Navy SEALs are the elite division of the U.S. Navy.
Operatives specialize in direct action small-scale warfare, counter-terrorism, combat reconnaissance, and foreign internal defense.
For example, Navy SEALs were responsible for taking down the most wanted man in the world – Osama bin Laden.
Therefore, SEALs get rewarded for serving high risk and dangerous missions.
Specialized training like parachuting and diving also reward SEALs with extra pay for all the training and dangers associated with it.
Keep in mind that Navy SEALs only make up 1% of all Navy personnel (2,450 active-duty operatives).
Consequently, it is not easy to become a SEAL and it only makes sense for operatives to earn more than regular service members of the Navy.
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What are some other benefits of being a SEAL?
There are a ton of added incentives to joining Navy SEALs.
The most obvious is pay bonuses which range from simply completing training to signing back up for another tour.
SEALs also receive the same benefits as other members of the U.S. Navy.
It includes very good health insurance, life insurance, retirement, paid time off, and holidays.
Some of the programs associated with the military are top-notch like tuition reimbursement.
For example, many people join the military primarily as a means to afford higher education for something they want to do after leaving the military.
Soldiers also get other perks like housing, food, and clothing while serving on a military base.
How much do Navy SEALs make when they retire?
Your retirement pay in the military is based on what you were earning each year prior to leaving.
So, for example, say you were a Navy SEAL making the average yearly salary of $54,000.
Your retirement pay would start at approximately $27,000 per year, yet different factors may influence the final sum.
Navy jobs in Special Operations generally get a higher salary at retirement because of the increased levels of specialized training, skills, and exclusive assignments associated with the job.
Any Navy SEAL is eligible for retirement after serving at least 20 years and getting honorably discharged.
SEALs with 20 years of experience are eligible for 50% of their average base salary.
If you make it to 30 years or more, you can receive up to 75% of your average base pay in yearly increments.
Navy SEAL salary is something that is important to consider not only if you want to join special-ops, but also if you want to secure the highest amount of wages.
SEALs generally receive higher pay (even though compensation is based on the same Navy pay scale) because of added bonuses.
Hazardous Pay, Imminent Danger Pay, and Dive Pay are just a few examples of how you can earn several $100 more each month compared to regular service members of the Navy.
The average Navy SEAL salary is $54,000 per year, and you can earn close to six figures in certain roles and especially dangerous places.
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