Which Military Branch Pays the Most |Full List

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Which military branch pays the most? The answer is straightforward. Regardless of branch, the military compensates you at basic salary levels according to your pay grade and years of service.

Generally, your pay grade is based on your rank. Although pay grades do not differ between armed services, ranks do.

All military services get the same basic salary and allowances. However, some incentive pay and bonuses may differ.

Every military branch has specific guidelines for promotions and an “up or out” regulation that limits how long a service member may remain in the military without being promoted.

This is mainly due to your career field rather than your branch of service. Your professional field has a significant role in determining the likelihood of promotions. 

Keep reading to find out the best-paying military branch and other allowances that apply to different grade levels.

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Which Military Branch Pays The Most?

Most military branches earn roughly the same, especially in the same country. However, we will be listing out the top-paid army branches in the world.

Top 10 Military branches that pay the most

#1. US Marine Corp

It is well known that military branches in the same country earn around the same amount.

The opportunity for progression and the possibility of receiving additional bonuses added to your pay distinguishes the US Marine Corp from the rest.

Furthermore, the risk level is an extra benefit of the US Marine Corp. It does not, however, rule out the arduous training required to join as a new recruit.

Deployments, parachute jumps, and several service tours might result in additional compensation.

In addition, the branch provides highly substantial perks such as housing allowances and 30 days of PTO.

#2. Royal Air Force (UK)

The Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom is another military service that pays highly.

This military branch is regarded as one of the world’s most historically distinguished branches of military service.

The prerequisites for enlisting are not simple, but if you can meet the requirements, you may earn roughly $28,000 in basic salary as a recruit. 

Although it is the lowest-paid military branch, it has the lowest risk level and the most advantages. One advantage is the unique honor of being among the RAF’s illustrious past in England and overseas.

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#3. Australian Defence Force

This Australian branch has nearly the highest dollar amount in the world. However, it takes the top spot as the ben.

In addition to a basic salary of around $30,000 US dollars, the ADF offers allowances and benefits (including housing and uniform allowances) that roughly double the resulting pay for entry-level recruits.

Regarding total pay and benefits, the AD benefits and allowance payments are much beyond those of other worldwide military branches.

#4. British Army

The British Army has one of the most outstanding compensation schemes and is one of the highly paid branches of the military.

However, joining the Army might be a bit difficult unless you meet the strict eligibility conditions. The starting salary for an army recruit is roughly USD 28,000 per year.

However, it also comes with a wide range of perks, like compensation for hazardous conditions and a pay scale that progresses.

Advancing through the ranks of a royal family soldier may be a complicated process with several prerequisites.

#5. French Foreign Legion

The French Foreign Legion is one of the highest-paid military branches, with an initial basic salary of around 1,380 euros per month, which is considered modest.

Nevertheless, the interest skyrockets when you consider the large pay raises available, especially if you serve on an overseas deployment with the French Foreign Legion, with compensation starting at $4,000 per month or more.

This branch of the military is a fantastic alternative for those who enjoy traveling across the world.

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#6. Royal New Zealand Air Force

This could be one of the “cushiest” military jobs you can secure anywhere in the world if you can overcome the rigorous requirements.

With advantages like child care, paid time off, and educational subsidies, the basic salary range is relatively high, at about $34,000 US per year.

You can also spend your entire career zooming around New Zealand’s breathtaking landscapes. If you can handle it, fly into a position with the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

#7. German Army

Yes, the German Army has a respectable base wage, but the actual pulls are the vast infrastructure and social services.

One of the most excellent parts of the German Army’s pay and benefits package is the large pension plan that comes with German citizenship and assures a secure and respectable retirement.

What Factors Can Affect The Military Branch Pay the Most?

Although the military is one of the highest-paid government services, you should rethink if you’re considering joining the military because of financial benefits.

Most of the benefits received from the government are usually given after their training pipeline, which can take up to 2 or more.

Aside from years of service, other factors can affect the military branch’s pay. These factors include:

  • Rank
  • Branch
  • Number of dependents

These factors directly affect the allowance received and the benefits applicable to a particular soldier.

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What Military Branch Pays the Most?

The military branch that pays the most is the Australian Defence Force. It provides a base salary of about $30,000 US.

It provides advantages and allowances such as housing and uniform allowances that increase the final compensation to almost twice that of entry-level recruits.

The military force in charge of defending the Commonwealth of Australia and its national interests is known as the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

What are The Additional Benefits of the Military Branch Pay?

The best aspect of military pay is that it comes with several perks and benefits. However, the number of benefits and allowances you get depends on factors such as grade level, number of dependents, e.t.c.

Here are some of the allowances added to the basic military pay.

#1. Housing Allowance

The Basic Housing Allowance is a tax exemption for military officials not living in barracks or government-owned housing.

This implies that if you live in your own home, you do not have to pay any government taxes on it.

The DOD estimates BAH rates based on rental price surveys in a given geographic region. If you are assigned to Huntsville, Alabama, your BAH will be lower than if you are sent to Los Angeles.

#2. Tax Savings

BAS, BAH, and COLA account for around 30% of total pay and allowances for many military troops.

The fact that these allowances are not taxable offers a tax benefit compared to the civilian sector, where you pay taxes on all of your income.

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#3. Meal Allowance

Another benefit is the BAS. This stands for basic allowance for subsistence. This is a type of meal compensation for service members.

This allowance is not affected by pay grade, rank, or the number of dependents. All military members are paid the same rate.

#4. Oversee Cost of Living Allowance

This overseas Cola appeals to soldiers who have served in several locales worldwide, including Hawaii and Alaska. This is another tax-exempt compensation is overseas COLA.

Its purpose is to compensate for the price disparity between items sold internationally and those sold in the continental United States (CONUS).

#5. CONUS COLA Allowance

You may also be eligible for the continental United States COLA if you are posted to one of the 20 counties or 21 military housing zones in the CONUS, where consumer prices are more than 8% higher than national averages.

Surprise! Your CONUS COLA is not a tax-free benefit. This is because Congress passed legislation in 1986 making all new military allowances taxable. CONUS COLA became one of the newly taxable allowances when it was introduced in 1995.

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FAQs on the Military Branch That Pays The Most

What is the Best Military Branch?

The US Marines were voted the best military branch. It was awarded a 4.2-star rating. This is because of the salary range, the allowances, and benefits, and also the low-risk level.

What other allowance are paid in the military?

Apart from the other core allowances, there are other allowances given in the military, such as

  • Clothing allowance
  • Dislocation allowance
  • family separation allowance
  • Family supplemental subsistence allowance

What are Special and Incentive Paid to the military?

Special and incentive (S&I) pay are used by each military branch to satisfy recruitment and retention targets, particularly in vital or understaffed professional sectors.

Although services are free to choose their own incentives, the DOD establishes statutory maximums on what they can spend in each area.

Bonuses for joining and rejoining the military, as well as various officer programs, are included in S&I pay. Services provide the largest awards for positions that are difficult to fill and keep employees in.

What military branch pays the highest starting salary?

The US Military has the highest starting pay, with enlisted service members making roughly $20,000 per year in their first six months.


Although the military is one of the highest-paid government services you should rethink if you intend to join the military because of the financial benefits.

Additionally, most of the benefits received from the government are usually given after their training pipeline, which can take up to 2 or more years.



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