US service members
US service members across all branches conduct state funeral services for former President George H. W. Bush.Spc. James Harvey/US Army
  • The average military pay is from entry-level Army privates to Air Force generals.

  • The base pay for a new recruit is $20,340 per year, but they will earn more as they gain experience.

  • Many of the allowances that service members receive are not taxed.

US troops are paid a lot.

Their rank, time in service, location of duty station, family members, and job specialty are just a few of the factors that affect the answer to that question.

Government healthcare and tax-free portions of their pay help service members stretch their earnings a bit more than civilians.

We broke down their base pay for each rank. Some service members spend more time in each rank than we have calculated, while others spend less time and promote more quickly.

Factors like housing allowance are often a large portion of their compensation. warrant officers' years of service can vary a lot.

Rules for promotions and an "up or out" policy dictate how long a service member can remain in the military.

You can find the military pay chart here.

Base pay for each rank is shown here.

The E-1 cost $20,340.

Marine boot camp
A drill instructor shows Marine recruits proper techniques during martial arts training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California. While they are in boot camp, service members are paid minimally — but their paychecks will increase incrementally as they gain experience.Cpl. Christian Garcia/US Marine Corps

E-1 is the lowest enlisted rank in the military. After six months of service, service members are promoted to the next rank.

Base pay begins at $1,695 per month at this rank. Pay will go up to $1,833 per month after four months of service.

This rank can be demoted as punishment.

There is an E-2.

From the right, the insignia on these sailors' uniforms indicate a seaman apprentice, petty officer 3rd class, and seaman.Mass Communications Specialist Seaman Apprentice Ignacio Perez/US Navy

After six months of service, service members are promoted to the E-2 pay grade.

They make $2,054 per month.

There is an E-3.

A Marine Lance Cpl. strums his guitar on the USS Kearsarge during a deployment.Lance Cpl. Antonio Garcia/US Marine Corps

After a year of service, promotion to the E-3 occurs. Airman 1st Class, Private 1st Class, Lance Corporal, Seaman are all in the Air Force.

The basic pay is $2,160.

The E-4 is worth $30,180.

Senior Airmen conduct a flag folding presentation during a retirement ceremony in 2019.Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes/US Air Force

Service members who are promoted to E-4 usually have at least two years of service. A senior airman, a soldier, a marine, and a naval officer are listed.

If an E3 doesn't advance in pay grade after two years, their pay will go up to $2,296.

The pay will go up to $2,515 per month for those who make E-4 with two years. After just one year at this pay grade, some service members will be promoted to the next rank, while others will get a pay raise after three years of service.

The E-5 cost $35,040.

Audie Murphy holds his son on the set of the autobiographical film "To Hell and Back," wearing an Army Sergeant's uniform.Bettmann/Getty Images

With as little as three years in service, troops can get promoted to E-5. Staff Sergeant, Sergeant, and 2nd Class are the ranks.

The troops will get a new paycheck of $2,920 per month.

Service members will usually spend three years at this pay grade. During that time, they don't advance in rank, but their pay and time in service will increase.

The E-5 will make $3,058 a month after four years. Even if they don't promote, their pay will go up again, even if they don't.

$42,576 is the price for E 6.

First class petty officers from USS Dwight D. Eisenhower participate in a community relations project. The logo on their t-shirts is an alteration of the Navy's E-6 insignia, which shows an eagle perched on top of three inverted chevrons and the sailor's job specialty badge.Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class Patrick Grieco/US Navy

It is rare for a service member to achieve the rank of E 6.

A "E6 with six" earns $3,548 per month.

After two more years in the service, the monthly salary will increase to $3,864, equating to $46,368 annually.

It is possible to achieve the next higher pay grade before serving for 10 years. If an E6 doesn't advance by then, they'll still get a pay raise and take home $3,987 a month.

After their enlistment date, their next pay raise occurs 12 years later, at which point they will make $4,225 a month.

E-7 has a price of over $50,000.

The late Marine and actor R. Lee Ermey as Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in Full Metal Jacket.YouTube

It can be done if you have less than 10 years of service.

After 10 years of service, those who achieve this milestone will be paid $4,302 a month.

If a service member retires at this pay grade, their pay will increase every two years until they are eligible to retire. They will make $5,232 a month when they reach 20 years of age.

Each service member has a cap on how long they can stay. If a service member doesn't make it to the next rank, they won't be able to re-enlist. The cap in the Navy is 24 years for chiefs of naval intelligence.

The chief makes $5,528 a month.

The E-8 cost $60,928.

A US Navy senior chief petty officer's cover, with the emblem of an anchor and its chain, USN, and a silver star.Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class James Foehl/US Navy

Senior Master Sgt., 1st Sgt., Master Sgt., or 1st Sgt. can be promoted to E-8.

They will get $5,078 per month at that time.

After 20 years of service, troops who retire as E-8s will get a monthly salary of $5,860.

They'll get raises every two years if they stay in that position.

The E-8 makes $6,626 a month.

More than 29 years of service is not allowed for 1st Sgt. or Sgt. Maj.

The E-9 is worth $75,484.

The Chief Master Sergeant insignia is seen on jackets prepared for an induction ceremony. Less than 1% of US Air Force enlisted personnel are promoted to the rank.Airman 1st Class Randy Burlingame/US Air Force

There are anywhere from 15 to 30 years of experience for E-9s. They are Chief Master Sgt., Sgt. Maj., Master Gunnery Sgt., or Sergeant Maj.

Service members with at least 15 years of experience will be paid $6,279 a month.

When they reach 16 years of age, they will get their next pay raise and take home over $6,000 a month.

When they reach retirement eligibility, they'll take home $81,480 a year.

When E-9s are allowed to stay in the military up to 32 years, they will make $9,151 per year.

O-1 is over forty thousand dollars.

Newly commissioned Navy and Marine Corps officers celebrate during their 2018 graduation from the US Naval Academy.Mass Communications Specialist Chief Elliott Fabrizio/US Navy

Military officers make more money compared to enlisted service members.

A newly commissioned O-1 is paid $3,477 per month.

O-2 was over fifty thousand dollars.

A US Marine 1st Lt. takes the oath of office during his promotion ceremony.Cpl. Jered Stone/US Marine Corps

After 2 years of service, officers are promoted to O-2. One of the largest individual pay raises officers will see during their careers will be marked by this promotion. The ranks are 1st Lt. There is a navy

The O-2 makes $4,562 a month.

The price is O- 3.

A US Army captain waits for a simulated attack during training in Wiesbaden, Germany.Paul Hughes/US Army

After three years of service, officers will get a raise.

After four years in the Army, officers will be promoted to the next rank.

New captains and lieutenants make over $6,000 a month. Every two years, officers at this rank will get a pay raise.

O-4 has a total of $94 million.

A Navy lieutenant commander talks with pilots from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 26 from the USS Ponce while the ship is deployed to the Arabian Gulf in 2014.Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class Peter Blair/US Navy/Flickr/Creative Commons

Military officers spend an average of 10 years in the service once they reach the rank of O-4. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Lieutenant Cmdr., Navy

A lieutenant commander with a decade of experience gets $7,891 per month. Every two years, the officer's pay increases.

If an officer wants to take home more than 105,660, they will have to promote to O-5.

O-5 is over $114 thousand.

Lt. Col. Goldie, the only US Air Force therapy dog, wears a purple ribbon in support of domestic violence awareness month in October 2017.Roland Balik/US Air Force

After 17 years in the military, officers are usually promoted to O-5).

They'll make $9,543 per month until their 18 year anniversary, and then they'll make $9,813 per month after that. The Air Force, Army, and Navy have lieutenant colonels.

After 18 years in the military, officers get a yearly compensation of over $117,756.

O 6 has a total of 141,887.

Col. Lewis "Chesty" Puller, a Marine Corps legend, circa 1950.US Marine Corps Archives/Flickr/Creative Commons

Colonels and Navy captains with at least 22 years of service are paid $11,823 a month.

After 30 years of service, officers who do not promote must retire. They will be making $12,979 a month at this point.

O-7 has a total of $169 million.

An Air Force pararescueman unfurls the brigadier general flag for US Air Force Brig. Gen. Claude Tudor, commander of the 24th Special Operations Wing.Senior Airman Joseph Pick/US Air Force

Job availability is one of the variables that can affect promotion to brigadier general and rear admiral. An officer who has been with the O-7 for 25 years will be paid a monthly amount.

Similar to the enlisted "up or out" policies, officers must promote to the next higher rank or retire if they want to keep their jobs.

After 30 years of service, officers who have spent less than five years at the lowest rank have to retire.

O-8 is over $200,000.

Two Rear Admirals and a Captain salute during the national anthem.Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class Eric Dietrich/US Navy/Flickr Creative Commons

After 35 years in the military, generals and admirals are required to retire.

They will be making $16,774 per month by the time they're done.

The O-9 has a value of $203,000.

US Army Lt. Gen. Martin lays a wreath for President Abraham Lincoln's 210th birthday. It takes the corporal in the image roughly half a year to earn the same amount Martin takes home every month.Spc. Dana Clarke/US Army

The US Code regulates military officer pay.

The maximum compensation allowed by the code will be given to admirals and generals who stay in the service for at least five years. The Navy and the other branches have lieutenant generals.

Excluding cost of living adjustments and allowances, these officers make up to $16,000 a month.

That's a lot of money.

O-10) has a value of $203 million.

Retired Gen. James Amos, the 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps, shares a story with Marines during a visit to a base in Hawaii.Lance Cpl. Reece Lodder/US Marine Corps/Flickr Creative Commons

Once a military officer attains the four-star rank of general or admiral, they will no longer receive pay raises and are capped at $16,970 a month.

They get extra pays and allowances.

US service members across all branches conduct state funeral services for former President George H. W. Bush.Spc. James Harvey/US Army

The base pay at the lower ranks is not very high.

Extra allowances may be available for troops who get a number of benefits.

The military's primary healthcare package is free for active duty troops and it was estimated to save single-payers over $6,000 a year.

Service members who are eligible to live off base receive a basic allowance for housing, which increases at each pay grade, and the exact amount is set based on location. In expensive duty locations, service members receive a cost of living allowance, which helps cover the cost of food. In order to pay for their uniforms, enlisted personnel receive a stipend.

The government doesn't tax any portion of a service member's salary that is labeled as an allowance.

Business Insider has an article on it.