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Navy SEALs Pay Per Year

Updated on September 16, 2012

© 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.

Navy SEALs take their name by combining the environments for which they are trained: sea, air and land. They work in small teams, typically at night, to perform missions that protect the national interest. They earn their pay by neutralizing enemy forces, eliminating counter terrorist threats, training allies, and observing and reporting on enemy activity.


Contrary to popular belief, members of the SEALs do not get special pay. Instead, they receive the same wages as all members of the Armed Forces, which depend on rank and experience.

  • The ranks of enlisted men start at E-1 or seaman recruit. Pay is $1,378 a month according to military compensation tables from the Department of Defense. This amount only applies to new recruits with less than four months of service.
  • The E-2 or seaman apprentice rank receives $20,055 per year.
  • At E-4 or petty officer third class, pay starts at $23,360 per year for less than two years of service and tops out at $28,357 per year after 6 years.
  • The highest rank of E-9 or master chief petty officer starts at $56,505.60 per year after 10 years and can go as high as $87,732 per year after 37 years.

Warrant Officers

Warrant officers are technical officers who rank above enlisted personnel but below officers.

  • Ranks start at W-1 or Warrant Officer 1, though this is no longer used. Pay starts at $33,174 per year for under two years of service and tops out at $57,322.80 per year after 20 years.
  • The highest rank of W-5 or chief warrant officer 5 starts at $83,160 per year after 20 years and reaches its maximum $108,824 annually after 38 years.


Officer ranks start at O-1 or ensign, with pay that begins at $33,940 per year for under 2 years of service and reaches the maximum $42,703 per year after three years.

  • The rank of O-6 or captain starts with pay of $71,556 per year for under two years of service and continues on to $81,190 after 10 years. The highest pay of $126,687 per year is granted after 26 years.
  • The highest rank of O-10 or admiral starts with an annual salary of $187,764 at 20 years of service. The maximum pay of $219,880 per year happens after 38 years.

Special Pay

Many SEALs receive incentive pay and allowances because of the nature of their duties. However, these are also granted to any members of the Armed Forces in the same situation. Due to the temporary nature of some of these duties, pay is listed in monthly amounts unless otherwise noted.

  • Men who are subject to the threat of physical harm such as during wartime conditions receive hostile fire/imminent danger pay at $225 per month.
  • Those who volunteer for diving duty receive up to $340 per month if they are enlisted or up to $240 per month if they are officers.
  • Those who are proficient in foreign languages can receive a proficiency bonus of up to $12,000 for a 12-month certification period.


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    • Efficient Admin profile image

      Michelle Dee 

      6 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      It seems as though SEALS would make a lot more money since not everyone can do their job. I would love to see salaries cut for lawyers and doctors, which would weed out the ones in it for the money and draw people whose hearts are really in it to serve others.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Very interesting. As a military brat (my father was career Air Force) I appreciate the fact that your article makes the (relatively low) salary compensation of SEALS clear to civilians.

      I think very few people realize what military men and women are expected to do, and for very little pay. You have done all of them a service. Thank you. Sharing.

    • lifetips123 profile image

      Praveen P.V. Nair 

      6 years ago from Trivandrum

      Brother, i also loved to be a commando. unfortunately, i couldnot become. anyway, this article about navy seals touches my heart. Keep in touch brother. Voted up and awesome

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett C 

      6 years ago from Asia

      An interesting job to investigate, I had to read this one. They start off a lot lower than I would expect, but then also end up quite a bit higher than I expected ... mind you, some of them really deserve every buck!

      Shared, up, interesting and pinned.

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 

      6 years ago from West Virginia

      Alocsin, voted this up, useful, interesting, and awesome. Once again, I enjoy articles that break down the stats. I have always thought that those who serve our country deserves way much more money then what they get, all of them. To provide such a service, it is nearly priceless. Another great article Alocsin.

    • greeneryday profile image


      7 years ago from Some tropical country

      Really interesting subject to discuss. Navy seals simply one of the best forces in the world and they're deserve to get such a respect for their dedication and hard-work they provide to the US... Voted up for awesome and well done!

    • alocsin profile imageAUTHOR

      Aurelio Locsin 

      7 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Just a lot of research from official government sources, vespawoolf.

    • agusfanani profile image


      7 years ago from Indonesia

      Wow !, must be proud to become the member of this force. Considering their important roles and duties, they deserve those good payment. I've got very interesting information from this hub. Thank you.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      7 years ago from southern USA

      The Navy SEALs are top notch, and should be paid to reflect such expertise that they have been trained, like no others. Very insightful hub and well done. Voted Up In His Love, Faith Reaper

    • onlinecashdigest profile image


      7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Its amazing how these guys volunteer to be such and still don't earn more than the other guys in the military.

      They are real life heroes indeed.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      7 years ago

      I admire the people who enter this profession. It is a lot of hard work and all because they want to serve on our behalf. The money seems low, but over the long run it does pay out.

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 

      7 years ago from Central Texas

      Great subject and information -- about which I had not a clue prior to reading this Hub. These guys must have a great love of country to do so very much for so many -- for so damned little! Looks like our government needs to take a better look at who does what! Best/Sis

    • tammyswallow profile image


      7 years ago from North Carolina

      I agree with Peggy above, for such a dangerous job and so much time away from the family, these wages are so low! I would assume that the Seals would get a higher pay grade. Interesting information!

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      7 years ago from Western NC

      I'm headed over to my nearest military office to sign up for the SEALS. Hehe. Just kidding.! I had no idea that they started out with such a lowly salary. I do recall them subsidizing housing...and the government takes care of health insurance. I'm glad that they do compensate for adverse conditions, know...for moments when they take down Al Quaida leaders. LOL.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      Vespa Woolf 

      7 years ago from Peru, South America

      Since they're the cream of the crop, I would've thought the SEALs would receive special monetary compensation. It seems entertainers are valued much more in this society than those who sacrifice for others! Fascinating. How do you get all this information, alocsin? Voted up all the away across and shared.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Considering the extra training that goes into becoming a Navy SEAL, and the danger factor when they are engaged, this pay is not much...especially for the enlisted men. I never realized that they are not actually paid more for their efforts. That alone is amazing! Up, useful and interesting votes. We must all be grateful that such people care enough to risk their lives for the sake of our country. Will share.


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