Army Careers & Wages

Written by jason gillikin
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Army Careers & Wages
Army careers and wages are competitive with civilian employment. (army truck image by Tomasz Pawlowski from

Many young people choose the military as a career. Wages and benefits are competitive with the civilian workforce, and the military offers incentives, including educational benefits, travel and training. The military features dozens of lines of work that can set the stage for a successful career in a high-paying industry after leaving the service. The Army, in particular, offers a diversity of career options.

Basic Wages

Active-duty soldiers' salaries are set by Congress. Soldiers and officers are paid in a matrix by their grade (rank) and years of service. For example, a Private First Class with four years' experience will earn more than £14,300 in base wages, whereas a Staff Sergeant with six years' experience will earn more than £21,125. For officers, the salary structure is higher--a Second Lieutenant with two years' experience earns more than £20,670 and a Captain with six years' experience earns almost £39,000.

Special Pay And Bonuses

In addition to base pay, Army personnel receive monthly special pay for service in dangerous mission areas or for working in certain jobs that require special effort or attention. For example, a soldier who maintains proficiency in a foreign language that the military deems critical can earn £650 or more per month in bonuses, whereas a parachute instructor or flight controller can earn monthly bonuses of £48 to £292.


The Army includes benefits, such as housing subsidies, food allowances and comprehensive health care as part of the overall financial package offered to active-duty personnel. This total compensation package can push the overall annual dollar value of work in the Army to comparable or higher levels than a similar position would earn in the civilian world.

Career Categories

The Army offers 10 basic career categories for most personnel. These categories include: Administrative support, arts and media, combat, computers and technology, construction and engineering, intelligence and combat support, legal and law enforcement, mechanics, medical and emergency, and transportation and aviation. Each category contains between seven and 35 distinct jobs.

Career Selection

To help incoming soldiers find a career that is compatible with their skills, interests and experiences, the Army offers comprehensive skills testing. Although a new officer or soldier is assigned according to the Army's need, any proficiencies that incoming personnel demonstrate will help narrow that person's job assignments.

Enlisted Vs. Officer Status

Most new soldiers join the Army as enlisted personnel. These positions are the backbone of the military, and enlistment is the normal mode that young soldiers join the military. However, for candidates with military experience or who possess a college degree, an officer career can be an attractive choice. The Army expects officers to demonstrate leadership on the field and discharge a greater array of responsibilities than enlisted personnel. Some careers, such as lawyers and doctors, are reserved exclusively for officers.

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