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Although Army recruiters like to boast about the military’s long-range career potential and the career training its members receive, many who enter the service are lured by the upfront cash bonuses paid to enlist. While these enlistment bonuses are usually used to help entice enlisted troops, certain officers may also qualify for a signing bonus as well. At the end of their tour, officers who meet certain criteria may also qualify for re-enlistment bonuses as well.
Basic Enlistment Bonuses
Just like enlisted troops, officers may qualify for one-time enlistment bonuses of up to $40,000 if they sign a four-year contract with the Army. The Pentagon double this amount in 2006 to help meet recruiting demands imposed by the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Officers who speak fluent Arabic may also be entitled to an additional $5,000. Officers who enlist with the Army Reserves for a six-year contract may qualify for a $20,000 signing bonus. The Army’s enlistment bonus program offers the highest maximum bonus and provides twice as much money as the branch with the second-highest recruitment bonus, the Navy.
Officer Candidate School Bonus
Officers who enlist and are selected for certain military occupational specialities may also qualify to receive an additional $10,000 bonus when they complete officer candidate school, or OCS. OCS bonuses aren’t paid at signing, rather completion of OCS training, and aren’t available for all specialties. Former service members who return to OCS may qualify for the Army’ Loan Repayment Program, receiving a bonus in the form of college tuition repayment plans worth up to $65,000.
Many officer candidates hold a college degree before they receive their commission, and the Army pays premium for recruits with an advanced degree. Officers who possess an associate degree or higher or at least 60 semester hours may be eligible to receive a $2,000 bonus upon signing any contract of at least two years. Education bonuses apply to any occupational specialty in which a recruit ends up.
Officers who possess certain skills may receive a reenlistment bonus if they agree to extend their service with the Army. To qualify, the officer must serve in a specialty deemed highly skilled and sign a service agreement of at least four years. The maximum benefit amount is $40,000 for Army officers, although the amount varies by the officer’s time in service, his military occupational specialty and the length of the reenlistment contract. These bonuses may be paid in a lump-sum payment or spread through multiple installments depending upon the agreement.
Wilhelm Schnotz has worked as a freelance writer since 1998, covering arts and entertainment, culture and financial stories for a variety of consumer publications. His work has appeared in dozens of print titles, including "TV Guide" and "The Dallas Observer." Schnotz holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Colorado State University.