How Much Do You Get Paid While in Basic Training? (2023 Guide)

by | Joining the Military | 1 comment

Starting your journey in the military brings a mix of excitement and uncertainty, especially when it comes to finances. One of the first questions you might have is, “How much will I get paid during basic training?” Understanding your pay during this initial phase can help you manage your expectations and plan accordingly.

Basic training pay is an essential aspect to consider as you transition into military life. Your earnings depend on factors like your rank and years of service. Knowing what to expect can ease some of the financial stress and allow you to focus on the rigorous training ahead. Let’s investigate into the specifics to give you a clearer picture of your compensation during this pivotal time.

Overview of Basic Training Pay

Understanding your pay during basic training is crucial for financial planning. Your income during this phase eases the transition into military life and ensures you can cover essential expenses.

Understanding the Pay Structure

Your pay structure in basic training follows the Department of Defense’s guidelines. Recruits receive a standard base pay based on their rank and years of service. For E-1 recruits, the starting base pay is approximately $1,800 per month in 2023. This pay covers a full 30-day month and is prorated for shorter periods.

  • Rank: Enlisted ranks (E-1, E-2, etc.) significantly impact pay. Higher ranks earn more.
  • Years of Service: Longer service translates to higher pay. An E-1 with over four months of service earns more than one just starting.
  • Benefits: Additional allowances like Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) and Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) supplement pay, but recruits in training usually live in barracks and eat in mess halls.

Understanding these factors helps you anticipate your earnings and manage financial expectations during basic training.

Comparing Branches of the Military

When joining the military, understanding the pay differences across branches is crucial. Different branches offer varying pay structures based on their unique needs and requirements.

Army Basic Training Pay

Army recruits start as E-1 privates during basic training. In 2023, E-1s earn approximately $1,800 per month. Additional allowances like BAH and BAS might apply based on location and dependents. Factors such as promotions during basic training can impact your pay. For example, earning the rank of E-2 boosts your monthly base pay to around $2,000.

Navy Basic Training Pay

Navy recruits, also entering as E-1s, receive similar initial pay, around $1,800 monthly in 2023. But, the Navy emphasizes additional skill training, which can lead to early promotions and pay raises. Recruits might qualify for specialized allowances, especially if deployed on ships. Sailors achieving the E-2 rank during basic training see an increase in base pay to about $2,000 monthly.

Air Force Basic Training Pay

Air Force basic trainees start with a base pay of about $1,800 per month as E-1s in 2023. The focus on technical training within the Air Force often means recruits earn certifications leading to higher pay opportunities. Advanced rank promotions during training, such as to E-2, can increase base pay to roughly $2,000 monthly. Also, BAH and BAS allowances apply based on individual circumstances.

Marine Corps Basic Training Pay

Marines begin as E-1s, earning around $1,800 per month during basic training in 2023. The Marine Corps’ rigorous training can lead to rapid promotions and pay increases for outstanding performance. Achieving higher ranks such as E-2 results in increased monthly pay near $2,000. Marines stationed in high-cost living areas may receive additional allowances like BAH and BAS.

Additional Financial Consideration During Basic Training

Understanding the full scope of financial aspects during basic training helps you stay prepared. Let’s explore more about what you can expect beyond your base pay.

Benefits and Allowances

Military service offers various benefits and allowances to help cover living expenses. For instance, recruits receive free meals and housing, which helps save a significant portion of the base pay. Subsistence allowances might apply if you live off-base during training. Uniform allowances cover the cost of your required uniforms, ensuring you don’t have to pay out-of-pocket. The exact amount of these allowances can vary by branch and location.

Health Care and Insurance

Health care benefits during basic training include comprehensive medical and dental coverage. TRICARE, the military’s health care program, covers medical treatments for you, ensuring you’re fit for duty. Routine checkups, emergency care, and prescriptions are part of this coverage. Recruits also receive insurance benefits, with life insurance policies providing financial protection. All these benefits combine to offer you peace of mind, knowing your health needs are covered while you focus on your training.

How Pay Increases with Progression

Time in Service and Rank Advancements

Your pay in the military isn’t static; it grows as you progress. For instance, when you start basic training, your base pay might be around $1,800 per month as an E-1. But promotions add more dollars to your paycheck. After about four months, you might advance to E-2, increasing your earnings by approximately $200 each month. Continued dedication and time in service can lead to further promotions, like reaching E-3 within the first year, which adds even more.

Plus to base pay increases, specialized training and assignments boost your income. Completing tech training or attaining specific skills can lead to faster promotions or additional allowances. Military branches appreciate commitment and competence, which they reward financially.

Long-term Career Financial Growth

Thinking long-term, the financial incentives for a career in the military are substantial. With each new rank achieved, your base pay increases significantly. For example, reaching E-5 or E-6 after a few years notably boosts your monthly income. Beyond basic pay, you receive various allowances that grow with your rank.

Also, reenlistment bonuses provide substantial financial benefits. For certain high-demand fields, you might get significant sums for committing to additional years of service. Besides, retirement benefits offer long-term financial security, ensuring a stable income after you leave active duty. So, dedication and progression in your military career not only offer short-term gains but also long-term financial stability.


Understanding the pay structure during basic training is crucial for effective financial planning. Starting as an E-1, you’ll earn a base pay of around $1,800 per month, with the potential for increases through promotions and specialized training. Each military branch offers unique paths to higher pay and benefits like free meals, housing, and comprehensive health care. As you advance in rank, your income and allowances will grow, providing both immediate financial support and long-term stability. Dedication to your military career can lead to significant financial rewards, including reenlistment bonuses and retirement benefits, ensuring a secure future.


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