The U.S. Navy's elite special operations unit, the SEALs, is responsible for conducting secret missions, gathering intelligence, conducting underwater demolitions and capturing enemy targets. The unit is comprised of both enlisted sailors and officers. Pay for a Navy SEAL depends on various factors, such as rank and time in service, and follows the pay table that the U.S. Department of Defense publishes annually.
Monthly Basic Pay – Enlisted
The lowest enlisted pay grade is E-1 and the highest is E-9. Most enlisted sailors start at the rank of seaman recruit and pay grade E-1. As of 2013, an E-1 earned $1,516.20 per month in base pay, and an E-2 earned $1,699.80. The pay range for an E-3 was $1,787.40 to $2,014.80, depending on how long they had been in the Navy. An E-4 earned between $1,979.70 and $2,403.30, and an E-5 earned between $2,159.40 and $3,064.20 per month. Monthly basic pay for an E-6 ranged between $2,357.10 and $3,650.70, and it ranged from $2,725.20 to $4,897.80 for an E-7.
Monthly Basic Pay – Officers
The DoD pay table for officers has 10 pay grades, beginning with O-1, which equates to the rank of ensign. A lieutenant junior grade has an O-2 pay grade, and a lieutenant has a pay grade of O-3. An O-4 is a lieutenant commander, an O-5 is a commander and an O-6 is a captain. As of 2013, monthly base pay for an O-1 was between $2,876.40 and $3,619.20, depending on years of service. An O-2 earned between $3,314.10 and $4,586.40, an O-3 earned between $3,835.50 and $6,240, and an O-4 earned from $4,362.30 to $7,283.70. The salary range for an O-5 was $5,055.90 to $8,589.90, and it was $6,064.80 to $10.736.70 for an O-6.
As of 2013, monthly allowances for off-base housing ranged from $487.20 for an E-1 with no dependents to $1,640.70 for an O-6 with at least one dependent. Food allowances were between $242.60 and $1,100, depending on family size. Enlisted sailors received an initial uniform allowance of $1,811.61 to $2,031.69, with an annual replacement allowance of $327.60 to $640.80. The family separation allowance was $250 per month.
Navy SEALs were eligible for a one-time enlistment bonus of up to $12,000, as of 2013. They might also qualify for diving pay of up to $340 per month, parachute pay of $150 to $225, hazardous duty pay of $150 per month and hostile fire pay of $225.
Although the Navy accepts legal resident aliens for many jobs, all SEALs must be U.S. citizens. They cannot join if they are older than 28. They must pass an intensive physical exam, including a vision test. The Navy typically will not accept applicants with three or more dependents younger than 18. Officer candidates must have at least a bachelor's degree, and enlisted applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent. Enlisted applicants must score at least a combined 165 on the general science, electronics information and mechanical comprehension sections or at least 220 on the mechanical comprehension, math knowledge, paragraph comprehension and word knowledge sections of the ASVAB, a pre-enlistment series of aptitude tests.