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How Much Money Do Paratroopers Make?

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As with other soldiers, the job of a paratrooper can be quite dangerous, even life-threatening. Paratroopers work for the United States Armed Forces, typically the Army, performing tactical measures to initiate and prevent attacks from the air. Salaries for paratroopers are comparable with other soldiers; however, they have the opportunity to earn extra pay for their specialty.

The Numbers

Paratroopers are members of the U.S. Armed Forces. The total remuneration package for U.S. soldiers according to the Congressional Budget Office consists of salary, housing and health care; non-cash benefits such as free legal and financial counseling; subsidized child care and groceries; and free use of recreational and fitness centers. In its 2007 report the Congressional Budget Office listed the cash salary for an 18 year-old, grade 1 soldier at $29,700 ($32,800 if married) and the non-cash total at $54,000 ($70,100 if married). The maximum cash payout for enlisted soldiers is $85,000 ($89,600 if married) and $150,700 for non cash salary ($170,700 if married).

A Closer Look

The Congressional Budget Office's average salary for soldiers throughout the Armed Forces differs slightly from the the salary of soldiers in the U.S. Army. As members of the U.S. Army, paratroopers earn under $30,000 in cash. As privates, paratroopers may earn as much as $23,400 for six years of experience. On the low end, they may earn $17,611 in the first two years.

How They Are Paid

U.S. paratroopers are paid based on pay rates known as "Jump Pay" or "Parachute Duty Pay." Under the "Jump Pay" pay rate, paratroopers are then paid according to regular and HALO pay (high altitude, low opening). Paratroopers may be paid for both in a given month. In contrast, under "Parachute Duty Pay" a paratrooper may only be paid the regular rate or the HALO rate. In either scenario, paratroopers must be trained and have completed certain courses such as the Army Freefall Military Course. HALO rate paratroopers may jump from extremely high altitudes with or without a static line.

Rates of Pay

Paratroopers earn an extra $150 per month under the "Jump Pay" rate compared to those under "Parachute Duty Pay" who earn $225 per month. When qualified for both rates, paratroopers earn the higher amount whether its a regular pay assignment or HALO assignment. As part of their jobs, paratroopers must perform a parachute jump out of an aerial aircraft once every three months.


Leonard Dozier is a freelance writer based in southern New Jersey and New York. His film and sports columns have been published by "Casino Connection Magazine" and Trev Rogers sports respectively. A prolific and extremely versatile writer, he is an ASCAP songwriter and has written screenplays and stage plays registered with the Writer's Guild of America.