Which Military Branch Has the Best Pay and Benefit?

Ever wondered which military branch has the best pay and benefit, well it’s time to find out.

If you are interested in joining the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine, Space Force or Coast Guard, I believe you are already familiar with the benefit and pay when you enlist.

For most people, it’s an honour to join the military. But for some people, enlisting is an opportunity to earn money doing what they are good at.

If you intend to join the military and you are more interested in making money. Perhaps you are wondering which military branch has the best pay and benefit. The truth is the military pay the same amount of money to active personnel regardless of branch.

What you have to worry about if you want to receive good pay and benefit is your rank. Your rank as an active duty determines your pay grade. So it doesn’t matter if you are in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine or Space Force, you’ll only get a higher pay based on your rank.

More will be discussed in this guide but before that, let’s look at the military branches of the U.S.

Which Military Branch Has the Best Pay and Benefit

Military Branches in the United States

We all understand the importance of pay and benefits for anyone who wants to join the military. However, it’s crucial to understand how each branch of the military functions and what you are getting into before you consider pay and benefit.

The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine and Coast Guard function differently. They all have different goals, missions and responsibilities to perform.

In the United States, there are five military branches and they are all under the Department of Defence (D.O.D). The United States military is one of the biggest worldwide. It’s the third largest military in the world, which comprises the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine, and Coast Guard.

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The U.S Army

The United States of America has the third largest military in the world with a million plus active personnel. 

The Army is the largest military branch in the United States, with over half a million military personnel. The Army is the main land force of the U.S Military. 

In the United States, the Army is responsible for ground combat and also protects the sovereignty of the country. 

Active military personnel of the U.S Army are also deployed to other countries where the United States has a military base. For instance, active military personnel are deployed to a U.S military base in Germany.

The U.S Navy

The United States Navy is the most powerful and the largest in the world, with over 300,000 active duty. The U.S Navy is the third largest of the county’s military service branches.

It currently has 336,973 personnel on active duty and more than 100,000 in the Ready Reserve.

The U.S Navy has the largest aircraft carrier fleet in the world. Presently, eleven aircraft carriers are in service and two new carriers are under construction.

The Navy is in charge of maritime security in the United States.

The U.S. Air Force

The United States Air Force has over 300,000 active personnel and it’s one of the military service branches of the country. In the United States, the Air Force is responsible for operating and maintaining aircraft used by other military branches.

Active personnel of the United State Air Force are sometimes deployed to other countries where the U.S has a military base. For instance, active personnel are deployed to the Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

The Ramstein Air Base in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany is the largest American community outside of the country.

This is a military service branch with better pay and benefit.

The U.S Marines

There are over 200,000 personnel in the United States Marine Corps. The Marine Corps is the maritime land force service branch of the U.S Armed Forces. They are responsible for conducting amphibious operations.

As of 2020, the U.S Marine Corps has 180,958 active personnel and 32,400 as reserves as of 2022.

The U.S Marines assist the Army during land operations, and they can also operate independently during sea-based missions.

The U.S Coast Guard

The United States Coast Guard is the maritime security and law enforcement service branch of the U.S military.

The Coast Guard currently has over 44,000 active personnel and 7,000 reserve personnel. The U.S Coast Guard is a service branch that falls under the Department of Homeland Security.

The U.S National Guard

The United States National Guard is a state-based military force that becomes the reserve of the U.S Army.

Presently, the U.S National Guard has over 444,000 active personnel. The U.S National Guard respond to emergencies and provide help to civilians in times of need.

We all remember the January 6th insurrection in Washington D.C. The U.S National Guard was called in to restore order.

Which Military Branch Has the Best Pay and Benefit?

The United State military consists of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Space Force. These are the six service branches, and they are under the Department of Defence and Homeland Security.

These service branches offer the same pay but have different ranks and jobs assigned to active personnel. Jobs available at these service branches are different.

If you are enlisted and work with the Air Force to maintain aircraft, you’ll receive higher pay.

Those who earn good money in the military are doctors, engineers, nurses, etc. These professions attract the best salaries in any service branch of the military.

If you want to earn more money as a service member, try to find out which positions pay more. You can talk to a recruiter and ask questions to know the best options for your career goals.

Jobs in the military that offer the best paycheck and benefits are the most dangerous or those that require adequate skills and a college degree.

The best way to earn money in the military is to advance in grades and years of experience. The higher your grade, the more pay and benefit irrespective of the military service branch.

Whether it’s the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard or Space Force, each service branch has its grades.

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Grades in the United States Military

The United States military operates on a unique system of grades. If an active service member has a higher grade, he or she will earn higher pay. The system allows active personnel with higher grades to earn more money than others.

In the U.S military, there is a separation between an enlisted soldier, a warrant officer, and a commissioned officer. The enlisted soldiers are the lowest-ranking active personnel of the U.S military.

Enlisted soldiers make up the majority of the military and their pay grade is from E-1 to E-9.

Next on the rankings is the commissioned officers. In the U.S military, commissioned officers are college degree holders and they also hold leadership positions.

The pay grade of a commissioned officer range from O1-E to O3-E.

The highest-ranking members of the military are warrant officers. Warrant officers have specialized skills and their pay grades range from W-1 to W-5.

We have seen the pay grades of enlisted soldiers, commissioned officers, and warrant officers. Now let’s look at how the grading system works for enlisted soldiers.

  • Private (E-1)
  • Private Second Class (E-2)
  • Private First Class (E-3)
  • Specialist or Corporal (E-4)
  • Sergeant (E-5)
  • Sergeant First Class (E-6)
  • Master Sergeant or First Sergeant (E-7)
  • Sergeant Major (E-8)
  • Command Sergeant Major (E-9)

Issues with Calculating the Most Profitable Branch

Every service branch in the military offers the same pay based on pay grade. So the problem is not with pay but with allowance and benefit offered at each military branch

The U.S Air Force offers a Housing Allowance to its active personnel. The Housing Allowance is not offered at other military service branches. 

The U.S Navy also offers its active personnel a signing bonus. Active personnel can receive up to $40,000 based on their position. The bonus is only offered to active personnel with six years of experience in service.

When you look at these benefits, the Air Force and the Navy becomes better option. The other service branch also offers good pay, but one can easily choose to enlist in the Air Force or Navy because of these benefits.

Bear in mind that these special pays are offered to personnel with special skills and those who perform hazardous duties. This is why an Air Force pilot earns a flight pay of $125 in a month, after receiving their salary.

The military also offers special pay such as hardship pays, sea pay, and danger pay. This special pay is offered to active personnel serving in difficult or dangerous conditions.

Every military branch offers both pay and benefit. Something you should also consider is veteran benefits. 

In the United States, veterans are offered healthcare, education benefits, and home loans. 

Enlisting in the military comes with a lot of benefits and special pay. When you look at the benefits the Air Force and Navy have to offer, it’s easier to decide the branch you want to serve.

Also Read: AKO Army Login | Army Knowledge Online Registration and Login

How to Get Into the Military

If you are interested in joining the military, I believe you have already made a decision on which service branch to join. You also need to know the requirement for the service branch you want to join.

Let’s say you want to join the Army. You need to know the requirement to enlist as the Army has different requirements.

To enlist in the U.S Army, you must have a high school diploma or its equivalent.

On the other hand, the Air Force requires a more advanced academic qualification. To join the U.S Air Force, you must have a college degree to be considered.

You must also satisfy the physical requirement of each service branch.

For instance, if you want to join the Army, you need to meet their physical requirements. You should be in good shape for a two-minute push-up, two minutes sit-ups and a two miles time run.

To join the U.S Air Force, you are required to have a 20/20 vision and also pass their physical finest test.

Get Enlisted

To get enlisted, you need to go to the Military Entrance Processing Station. The Military Processing Station (MEPs) is where applicants go to complete the enlistment process.

This is where you should go to complete your enlistment process. Once you complete and pass each test, you will officially become a member of the military.

Your training starts after that.

Basic Training

In basic training, you will learn everything that a soldier needs to learn. Basic training includes how to fire a weapon, march as a soldier, use military gear, etc.

Once you have completed your basic training, you will be sent to your permanent duty station. At this point, you should not be asking which military branch has the best pay and benefit.

Allowance in Addition to Basic Pay

Besides basic pay, active personnel are also eligible for other allowances based on their pay grade.

Just as we already explained in this guide, the higher your grade, the higher your pay. We also discussed the Housing Allowance offered to active personnel in the U.S Air Force.

There also are other allowances offered to active military personnel.

Meal Allowance

Active service members are compensated by the military for their meals through a basic allowance for subsistence. As a service member, you will receive the same rate irrespective of your pay grade or years of service.

Overseas Cost of Living Allowance

The United States has several military bases abroad. The Ramstein Air Base in Germany is an example.

If you serve in any of the U.S military bases abroad, including states like Alaska and Hawaii, you will receive an oversea cost of living allowance from your service branch.

CONUS COLA Allowance

As a service member, you can also receive continental U.S COLA if you are assigned to one of twenty counties or twenty-one military housing areas in CONUS.

Other Allowances

Based on your situation, you may be offered one or more additional allowances.

You may be entitled to;

  • Clothing allowance 
  • Dislocation allowance 
  • Family supplemental subsistence allowance 

Other benefits of Military Service

Besides discussing which military branch has the best pay and benefit, we want to look at other benefits of military service.

Below are other benefits of military service;

  • Department of Veterans Affairs Education and Training
  • Low-Cost Travel on a Space-Available Basis
  • VA Housing Assistance (loans and grants)
  • Military Pension
  • VA Disability Compensation Health and Dental Benefits
  • Tax Exemptions for Qualified Combat Tours
  • Tuition Reimbursement Programs


If you have been searching for the military branch with the best pay and benefit, you should consider enlisting in the Air Force or Navy. They offer active personnel special pay and attractive allowances.

Also, remember that you must the physical requirement of these service branches before you can start your basic training. A career in the military has a lot of benefits.

Hope this article on which military branch has the best pay and benefit was helpful.





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