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Pararescue Jumpers, or PJs, are members of the Air Force’s Special Forces. Their job is to rescue not just downed airmen but service members from any branch. This often means parachuting into hostile territory to deliver emergency medical treatment and then extract military members. The base pay for PJs -- who must have at least the rank of airman first class, senior airman or staff sergeant -- ranges from $21,089 to $36,155 per year as of publication. They also receive housing allowances or free on-base housing, and a food allowance.
Pay with Bonuses
In addition to the base pay, PJs are eligible for several bonuses, including dive pay, flight or jump pay, and pararescue proficiency pay. If you qualify for all three, you would receive up to $650 per month or $7,800 per year as of publication. This would bring the annual salary up to a range of $28,889 to $43,955. PJs can also qualify for other bonuses such as hazard duty pay, which is figured on a monthly basis.
Extremely Rigorous Requirements
To qualify to become a PJ, you must be a U.S citizen, male, have vision correctable to 20/20, no color blindness, able to obtain a secret security clearance, and meet some of the most rigorous physical requirements in the military. You also must score at least a 43 on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB, test. The additional training after basic training can last as long as 17 months. Though there is always a demand for these jobs, the competition is tough and the "washout" rate is extremely high. Interest in medical treatment is important, as are adaptability and flexibility. Tell your recruiter if you are interested so you can be prepared even before basic training.
Nate Lee was senior editor of Chicago's "NewCity" newspaper and creative director in a global advertising agency. A playwright and published poet, Lee writes about the arts, culture and business innovation. He received his Bachelor of Arts in English from Tulane University.
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