How Much Can You Make as a Sailor? A Comprehensive Guide on Navy Salary

As a sailor, you can expect a competitive salary that reflects your skills and experience. The navy offers various pay grades, benefits, and allowances to its employees. In this guide, we will explore how much you can make as a sailor and the factors that affect your salary.

The US Navy has six pay grades for enlisted personnel: E1-E9, O1-O10, and W-1. The salaries for each pay grade vary based on years of service, rank, and location. For example, an E1 sailor with 0-3 years of service can expect to make around $26,848 per year, while an E9 sailor with over 14 years of service can earn up to $79,594 per year.

Officer pay grades range from O1 to O10, with salaries starting at $3,347 per month for a new lieutenant and increasing based on experience and rank. The highest-ranking officers can make over $20,000 per month.

In addition to salary, sailors also receive benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, housing allowances, and education and training opportunities. These benefits can significantly increase a sailor’s overall compensation.

Factors that affect Navy Salary

Several factors can impact your navy salary, including your rank, years of service, location, and job duties. For example, sailors stationed in high-cost areas such as Hawaii or Japan may receive higher salaries to compensate for the cost of living. Similarly, sailors with specialized skills or knowledge may earn more than those without these qualifications.

Comparison with Civilian Salary

While Navy salaries are competitive, they may not be as high as civilian salaries in certain fields. However, military service offers unique benefits such as tuition assistance, job training, and a sense of purpose that may not be available in the civilian world.

Real-Life Examples

One example of a sailor who has achieved success is retired Admiral Jeremy Hunt. Admiral Hunt began his career as an enlisted sailor and rose through the ranks to become the Chief of Naval Operations. His expertise and leadership skills have been instrumental in shaping navy policies and strategies.


In conclusion, Navy salaries are competitive and offer unique benefits such as healthcare, retirement plans, and education opportunities. While salaries may vary based on rank, years of service, location, and job duties, military service can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment that may not be available in the civilian world. As you consider a career in the navy, it’s essential to research the salary and benefits offered and weigh them against your personal goals and priorities.


  1. What is the minimum age requirement to join the US Navy?
    Answer: 17 years old with a high school diploma or GED.
  2. How long does it take to become an officer in the US Navy?
    Answer: Typically, it takes around 4-6 years to complete the necessary training and education to become an officer.
  3. Do sailors receive tuition assistance for college?
    Answer: Yes, the navy offers tuition assistance to eligible sailors who want to pursue higher education while on active duty.

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