How much you can earn as Navy SEAL?

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Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL students participate in a team building exercise in Coronado, California. A female Naval Academy senior is considering entering the pipeline to begin BUD/S training. (MC1 Lawrence Davis/Navy)

All members of the United States Navy are paid a monthly basic pay rate determined by their paygrade/Navy rank.

Navy SEALS are an elite navy division specializing in direct action small-scale warfare, combat reconnaissance, counter-terrorism and foreign internal defense. Like all U.S. military personnel, Navy SEALS receive basic wages that are identical for every service branch. SEALS can, and usually do earn hazardous duty pay, however, and receive two substantial bonuses, the first for successfully passing the tests qualifying the candidate to enter the SEALs training program, the other for successfully completing it.

Extra pay for SEALs

It seems that we are experiencing a shortage of SEALS. Last year, only 86% of the Enlisted SEAL jobs allocated to the force were filled. The Navy is offering all new Enlisted SEALs a generous Enlistment Bonus of $40,000 for completing BUD/S training and obligating for 4-years service. Enlisted personnel also currently receive Selective Reenlistment Bonuses (SRB) of up to $75,000. Not too shabby.

For SEAL Enlisted and Warrant Officers with 19 – 25 years of service, a Critical Skills Retention Bonus (CSRB) of up to $150,000 is available. I’m just dying to write an expletive after finding out that fact. A hundred and fifty f’n grand! That might just bring some old SEALs out of the woodwork.

That’s not even all of the bonuses. Naval Special Warfare Officers can also qualify for a Special Warfare Continuation Bonus (SWCB) of up to $15,000 per year for serving an extra 5 years ($75,000 total).

Regular pay for enlisted SEALs

The following are monthly pay scales for soldiers with less than three years of service at the given rank, beginning with sailors at rank E-2.

  • E-2, Seaman Apprentice, $1,836
  • E-3 Seaman, $1,931
  • E-4 Petty Officer Third Class, $2,139
  • E-5 Petty Officer Second Class, $2,333
  • E-6 Petty Officer First Class, $2,546
  • E-7 Chief Petty Officer, $2.944
  • E-8 Senior Chief Petty Officers, $4,235
  • E-9 Master Chief Petty Officer $5,173
  • W-1 Warrant Officer 1, $3,038
  • W-2 Chief Warrant Officer 2, $3,461
  • W-3 Chief Warrant Officer 3, $3,911
  • W-4 Chief Warrant Officer 4, $4,282
  • W-5 Chief Warrant Officer 5, $7,615
  • 0-1 Ensign, $3,108
  • 0-2 Lieutenant Junior Grade, $3,580
  • 0-3 Lieutenant, $4,144
  • 0-4 Lieutenant Commander, $4,713
  • 0-5 Commander, $5,462
  • 0-6 Captain, $6,552
  • 0-7 Rear Admiral Lower Half $8,641
  • 0-8 Rear Admiral  $10,399
  • 0-9 Vice Admiral $14,696
  • 0-10 Admiral, $15,800

Navy Seals Rank and Pay Increases

In practice, although an enlisted sailor normally begins at the lowest rank, by the time he graduates from the SEAL program, he’ll be at least an E-4, Petty Officer Third Class. SEALs, like all military personnel, receive a limited amount of pay raises at each rank. An E-4, for example, who begins with a salary of $2,139 a month, can receive a total of four raises over a four year period, with the last raise bringing his salary to $2,596. Thereafter, the only way to receive a salary increase is to advance to the next rank.