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Officer pay in the Army is a matter of rank and seniority. The longer you spend in the Army and the higher you climb through its ranks, the more money you'll make. At the same time, officers also receive additional compensation and incentivesm although, in many cases, they're less generous than those offered to enlisted personnel.
Company Grade Officers
Making up ranks O1 through O3, second lieutenants, first lieutenants and captains are the lowest paid officers in the army. Those with fewer than two years of service make $2,876.40, $3,314.10 and $3,835.50 per month respectively, but get significant increases on their second and third anniversaries, which bring them to $3,619.20, $4,347 and $4,692.90 respectively. While $3,619.20 is the maximum basic pay offered to an O-1 in 2013, O-2 first lieutenants max out at $4,586.40 per month for 6 or more years of service, and O-3 Captains hit their maximum monthly income of $6,240 after 14 years of service.
Field Grade Officers
Majors, lieutenant colonels and colonels earn from $4,362.30 to $10,736.70 per month over their careers. A major starts at $4,362.30 and hits $5,461.80 after just four years, enjoying regular upgrades until he reaches his top pay of $7,283.70 after 18 years of service. O-5 Lieutenant Colonels start at $5,055.90; make $6,164.10 every month after four years; and max out after 22 years, at $8,589.90 per month. A Colonel reaches his top pay of $10,736.70 after 30 years of service, after starting out at $6,064.80.
One- and two-star brigadier and major generals range from $8,182.50 and $9,847.80 per month to $11,924.70 and $12,700.20 during their first 20 years of service. After 20 years, their income keeps climbing to a 30-year peak or $12,225.30 per month or, for a two-star, a 35-year peak of $14,196.60 per month.
After 20 years of service, the three-star lieutenant general and four-star general classifications open up. These officers start at $13,917.60 and $15,913.20 per month and climb to $17,264.40 and $19,566.90 after completing 38 years of military service.
Warrant officers hold special technical skills and advance in their positions by increasing their specific abilities instead of their general leadership capabilities. Many Army aviators are warrant officers. Warrant officers have five ranks -- Warrant Officer 1 and Chief Warrant Officer 2 through 5. Their pay is similar to that of corresponding officer pay grades, but a little bit lower. W-1 through 4 officers start at wages between $2,811.60 and $3,963.90, and, after 10 years, earn between $4,010.40 and $5,126.70. The W-5 rank doesn't come into play until an officer has at least 20 years of service.
Officers also receive housing allowances that go up when they live off-base, or pay child support or when they live with dependents. These officers pay for their own uniforms, but still get a food allowance and money when separated from their family. They can also receive special pay if they choose an aviation or medical career, if they are in hazardous situations or under hostile pay. Serving in a combat zone also gives tax-free pay, although the value of the tax exclusion is capped at $7,738.80 per month of basic pay, as of 2013.
Steve Lander has been a writer since 1996, with experience in the fields of financial services, real estate and technology. His work has appeared in trade publications such as the "Minnesota Real Estate Journal" and "Minnesota Multi-Housing Association Advocate." Lander holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Columbia University.
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