Which Military Branch Has the Best Benefits in 2023?

Written by

John Cotton


Logan Miller

which military branch has the best benefits

Joining the military is a life-changing decision that comes with a wide range of benefits.

From education and healthcare to retirement plans and housing allowances, the military offers numerous advantages to its members.

However, aspiring military members often wonder: “Which military branch has the best benefits?”

Well, it really depends on your pay grade and years of service. Everyone in the military receives basic pay, allowances, bonuses, S&I pay, and more.

We will help you choose which military branch to join and offer benefits of the Navy, Army, Coast Guard, Marines Corps, and Air Force.

If you are ready to know the benefits, keep reading this article.

Significance of Benefits in Military Service


The benefits of each military branch play a significant role in attracting and retaining people in the military, creating a strong and dedicated force.

It also does not only benefit the military members but also their families. Each benefit is made for the advantage of service members.

Benefits Offered By Each Branch


All branches of the military provide their members with the same base pay and allowances.  It is also similar to military reserve branches. They may provide different incentive pay and bonus structures.

The military compensates its members equally across branches based on their years of service and pay grade. highest paying branch

A higher salary is associated with higher ranks. While military ranks vary, the pay grades are similar.

Here are more specific benefits of each us military branch:

  1. Basic Needs Allowance
  2. Basic Allowance For Housing (BAH)
  3. Basic Allowance For Subsistence
  4. Clothing Allowances
  5. Family Supplemental Assistance Allowance
  6. Overseas Housing Allowance
  7. Family Separation Allowance
  8. Free Medical Care Under Tricare
  9. 30 Days Of Paid Vacation Time
  10. Retirement Benefits
  11. Education and College Benefits  (Tuition Assistance, GI Bill, NROTC, and more.)
  12. Spouse And Family Benefits
  13. Survivor Benefits
  14. Health Insurance
  15. Life Insurance

Comparison of Benefits Between Branches

When assessing the benefits given by each branch of the U.S. military, it’s essential that you keep in mind that the benefits can be different in some ways.

If you are trying to figure out which highest-paid branch in the military, you might have many answers.

Top branches in the U.S. military make sure that there are benefits for both its soldiers and their families.

Here’s an outline of the benefits comparison of the different branches:

1. U.S. Navy


Here’s what basic pay looks like for officers and enlistees in the U.S. salary looks like in a year.

Officer (Ranks) Average Pay With Benefits/Yearly Enlisted (Ranks) Average Pay With Benefits/Yearly
O-1 Ensign $89,058.12 E-1 Seaman Recruit $66,626.00
O-6 Captain $145,650.24 E-6 Petty Officer 1st Class $84,676.64
O-7 Rear Admiral (Lower Half) $175,828.80 E-7 Chief Petty Officer $91,431.08

Check out this  complete 2023 Navy Active-Duty Pay Data: military-pay-table-2023-full-time.pdf (navy.com)

For the U.S. Navy families:

  • The Navy offers scholarships and assistance to Navy’s children from undergraduate to graduate programs.
  • Children of active-duty Navy members have the option to switch specializations and even shift their job titles.
  • Families have resources such as websites for their parents who are serving in the Navy; check out NavyDads.com and NavyForMoms.com.

Pros and cons of joining the Navy:

  • Stable income
  • Explore the world by traveling
  • Many free benefits (Housing, Education, Health care, Military discounts, etc.)
  • Working nonstop
  • Regular practice of self-control
  • Deployed in every kind of environment

2. U.S. Army


For the U.S. Army, several jobs will pay you much more. Cybersecurity analyst pays the most starting salary. The starting salary is approximately $90,000, increasing with years on the job.

The U.S. Army salaries vary by position and job positions. Here’s an example of enlisted military members and their basic pay:

Enlisted (Ranks) Average Pay With Benefits/Yearly
Private (E1) $21,420.00
Private First Class (E3) $25,246.00
Staff Sergeant (E6) $33,292.00
Captain (O3) $54,176.00
Major (O4) $61,621.00

Unique benefits for U.S. Army members:

  • Members of the U.S. Army can purchase a house with no money deposit.
  • Bonuses of as much as $20,000 can be received by eligible Army Reserve soldiers.
  • Sign-on incentives for new Army recruits are around $50,000.
  • There are many functioning banks in every Army base where you can withdraw, deposit, and get loans.
  • Book your travel tickets at Army’s Information, Tickets, and Travel Services to acquire discounts on many leisure attractions.

Pros and cons of joining the Army:

  • Pursue your health and fitness goals.
  • Be able to save a good amount of money
  • Can retire early
  • There are numerous rules to obey.
  • Military rank is very important, regardless of age and ethnicity.
  • Not being with your loved ones.

3. U.S. Coast Guard


Every position or rank has a specific pay grade, and this decides how much a Coast Guard member makes on average. Here’s the average basic pay for U.S. Coast Guard jobs:

USCG Jobs Average Pay/Year
Gunner $46,434
Boatswain’s Mate $46,434
Electronics Technician $54,653
Duty Officer $60,000
Intelligence Specialist $44,791
Petty Officer $53,527

Exclusive benefits for U.S. Coast Guard members:

  • You could be eligible for the Civilian Awards Program if you are a member or employee of the U.S. Coast Guard.
  • There are a lot of programs aimed at helping you balance your private and professional lives.
  • Coast Guard’s Family Resource Specialists have referral services available.
  • The U.S. Coast Guard lets you work from home in specific job positions.
  • There’s a Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program for disabled members.

Pros and cons of joining the Coast Guard:

  • Nearly every member of the Coast Guard has its headquarters in the United States.
  • Specialized training units are a part of the coast guard.
  • Meal and accommodation allowances
  • More time is spent on it than in other military branches.
  • Separated from loved ones for an extended period of time.
  • You must be an excellent swimmer before joining the coast guard.

4. U.S. Marine Corps


U.S. Marine Corps salaries range from low to high depending on factors including rank, length of service, and area of expertise. Here is the average pay for Marines:

USMC Jobs Average Pay/ Year
Infantryman $36,290
Rifleman $34,011
Platoon Leader $30,000
Company Commander $102,457
Field Artillery Firefinder Radar Operator $52,599

Special privileges for U.S. Marines:

  • If you pursue a master’s degree, Marines can avail Advanced Degree Program (ADP) that offers partial funding for your degree.
  • Defense Activity For Nontraditional Education Support (DANTES) Programs offers Marines the option of earning college course credits through examinations.
  • Marines’ TRICARE covers Active-duty members, Retired, Reserve, and immediate family members.

Pros and cons of joining the Marine Corps:

  • There are Marine positions that are best for females.
  • The U.S. Marine Corps accepts recruits with a low AFQT score.
  • After entering Marine Corps, you can start receiving a GI Bill stipend immediately.
  • You may only leave the base once you’ve reached the E-6 rank.
  • When compared to other military branches, the Marines have limited available job vacancies.
  • The Marine Corps has a more rigorous and longer basic training program than the other services.

5. U.S. Air Force


Your basic pay depends on what job you will take in the Air Force, rank, and years of service.

One of the highest paying jobs in the Air Force is physician or medic, whose salary can reach around $158,997.

Here’s the average pay per year for the Air Force jobs:

USAF Jobs Average Pay/ Year
Army Air Traffic Control $77,786
Aviation Operations Specialist $88,982
Infantry $136,969
Infantryman $129,754
Allied Trade Specialist $109,987

Perks for the U.S. Air Force:

  • For the U.S. Air Force Reservists, you can earn from $1,917.60 to $4,244.70 monthly salary.
  • For Air National Guards, you are exempted from state taxes in your retirement pay.
  • Air National Guard Benefits – U.S. Air Force
  • For Active-duty members, you may earn bonuses of up to $50,000.
  • Sick leaves are paid in full.

Pros and cons of joining the Air Force:

  • The Air Force provides great perks, including housing assistance.
  • There are grants available to help Airmen finish their degrees.
  • Military pay is scaled by years of service and position.
  • The Air Force places a lower priority on personal preferences when assigning jobs.
  • The Air Force is a difficult branch to enter.
  • Air Force members are usually deployed in places where air strikes are necessary.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Branch


There are many concerns to consider while selecting a military branch. Here are a few key factors you should consider:

  • Benefits – There are different benefits in every military branch. It depends on how long you have served the branch, job position, and rank.
  • Goal and Principles – Each division has a particular culture and goal. Think about which division best reflects your personal goals and ambitions.
  • Training – Educational and training options vary in each branch. Consider the boot camps that each branch offers and the educational opportunities they provide.
  • MOS jobs available – For particular military branches, there are several jobs offered. Your performance can affect the position you can choose after your basic training.
  • Enlistment bonuses – There are what is called standard enlistment and Delayed Entry Programs. Use these options to your advantage.

Frequently Asked Questions


Which military branch pays the most money?

It depends on which is the best-paying military branch based on your rank, and benefits usually vary.

Your salary will also increase when you are promoted to a higher rank in any military branch.

What is the lowest-paid military branch?

All military personnel, regardless of which branch they serve, receive payments based on their ranks, service time, location, and job specialty. The lowest-ranking enlisted military service member starts at the pay grade of E-1.


Hope we answered your question: “which military branch has the best benefits?” As you see, it has a lot of factors. It really depends on which branch of the military has the best benefits.

You have to consider the overall package of that particular military branch, from compensation, benefits, and even educational packages. Carefully assess each of these aspects.

Ultimately, choosing a military branch is a personal decision that should be based on a careful assessment of your own interests, goals, and values.

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