Here’s How Much Navy Seals Really Make

Right from the Navy SEAL signing bonus to the incentives for hazardous assignments, Navy SEAL salary reflects the rigors of training and the scarcity and importance of each SEAL’s unique skills.

SEAL teams destroy strategic objectives via land, sea, or air and perform surveillance. When missions in any branch of US military service go sideways, a SEAL squad will haul everyone’s chestnuts out of the fire if required.

Experience and Salary: How Much Do Navy SEALs Make?

The average Navy SEAL salary comprises a one-time signing bonus upon their acceptance into SEAL training, plus the Navy’s Base Pay, BAS (Basic Allowance for Subsistence), and BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing). A Navy SEAL can also receive special consideration for having crucial skills, bonuses for separation from spouse and kids, as well as incentives and retention bonuses for hazardous or special assignments. Salary ties directly to every service member’s years of service.

Theoretically, you may qualify for SEAL training straight out of Navy boot camp, but you must lead the fitness charts and have an extraordinary level of determination and resilience. As of January 2018, a newly joined sailor will earn $6,058.90 in Basic Pay for the first four months. After that, they make another $13,106.50 over the next eight months, for a total of $19,165.20 for the first 12 months.

After forty years of service, basic pay amounts to $96,397.50 annually for enlisted members, while warrant officers receive $119,570.50 each year. Serve four years as a warrant officer or an enlisted sailor before you choose to become a commissioned officer, and your salary rises from $19,659.90 per year to a high of $89,899.50 after 40 years. Commissioned officers receive $189,601.50 per annum after forty years of experience(1).

Basic Allowance for Subsistence offsets the cost of a sailor’s meals. The amount reflects the cost of food as measured by the USDA food cost index. This bonus does not reflect current salaries. As of 2018, enlisted sailors make $4,432.69 per annum for their meals, while officers take home an additional $3,052.69 per annum.

Finally, the Basic Allowance for Housing that each sailor receives varies. Service members with spouses and children take more Basic Allowance for Housing than single sailors. The Navy ensures that noncustodial parents oblige their duties, so divorced sailors live in separate housing but receive differential Basic Allowance for Housing based on the amount they pay in child development.

On top of everything already discussed, SEAL team members receive the following incentives:

  • Dive pay: $150-350 per month
  • Jump pay: $150-235 per month
  • Demolition pay: $160 per month

In total, Navy SEAL income increases with their time in service and expertise, as well as their combat experience.

[ Read: Guide on How to become a Merchant Marine ]

Education Requirements

An aspiring Navy SEAL must acquire leadership skills and learn to operate within a team as quickly as possible. If you plan to participate in the DEP (Delayed Entry Program) and join the Navy at age seventeen, concentrate on any foreign languages your school offers. Hone your scientific knowledge base and math skills. Practice listening first before taking action. Lead by example: Follow the regulations and support your colleague leaders. Enlisted applicants need not attend college, but they may score higher on the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) if they do so.

[ Read: How to Become a Chaplain? ]

Job Growth Trend

Annual performance assessments determine who may continue to serve past their twentieth year and who must quit. This forced retirement system ensures that enlisted sailors and junior officers can move upward in rank. Close to 8,900 senior enlisted men face assessments as of August 2018. Of the nearly 45,000 sailors assessed since 2010, though, only 1,762 were forced into retirement. Despite the few sailors forced to retire, those aspiring to pursue a Navy career should feel optimistic about the Navy plan to include 25,100 sailors between 2018 and 2023.


The Navy SEALs fall under the Department of Defense, just like every other branch of military service. If spending remains constant, the defense industry offers job security and above-average earning potential through January 2024.