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What Is the Top Pay a Navy Seal Could Earn in a Year?

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Navy SEALs are elite forces that carry out special missions and participate in counterterrorism activities. SEALs are trained in extreme conditions and are able to perform difficult jobs in high pressure situations. This is a highly competitive career that is not for the faint for heart. However, the rewards are plentiful. Your Navy SEAL income will reflect your rank, which is determined by your performance, experience and education.


A Navy SEAL salary depends on military rank. The highest ranking officers can make $100,000 up to more than $200,000 per year, plus generous benefits and bonuses.

Job Description

Navy SEALs – the U.S. Navy's elite Sea, Air and Land teams – are highly trained and specialized military forces that go beyond the duties of typical Navy enlistees. If you opt to become a SEAL, you can expect to be faced with high-risk situations. You might be involved directly in the action of warfare or carrying out special missions. Additionally, you might find yourself capturing terrorists or even taking part in reconnaissance missions.

To do this job, you must be able to think on your feet and perform well under pressure. You also need the ability to function in many types of environments, including desert, jungle, arctic and mountain conditions, among others. Ideally, you should be in top shape physically, and eager to learn. Navy SEALS are team players who must work together to carry out delicate and often dangerous missions. This is a job for tough people who aren’t afraid of hard work. You will undergo a long, difficult training process – and many drop out. However, if you choose this career, your work will come with significant rewards, plus potential for promotion.

Education Requirements

To become a Navy SEAL, you must be at least 17 years of age, and have a high school diploma or an equivalent degree such as a GED. You do not need a college education to join the Navy. However, if you want to become an officer, a B.S. or B.A. is required, and you must have strong grades. Navy SEAL officer pay is much higher than the pay for lower ranking seaman. For this reason, upper level positions, especially for the SEALs, are highly competitive. If you want to climb the ranks, you should maintain strong grades and achieve the highest level of education possible. The good news is, the Navy will pay for all or most of this education.


As a Navy SEAL, you train and work in many types of environments. The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all job description for a Navy SEAL. You may be parachuting or operating a submarine, helicopter or speedboat. You might be subjected to extreme environments and weather conditions. These could include jungles, deserts, woodlands, mountains, urban areas, rain forests, or perhaps even Arctic or ocean environments. Ultimately, as a member of the military’s special teams, you could be sent anywhere in the world, and you could play many different roles.

Years of Experience and Salary

Your Navy SEAL salary depends on your rank, which is determined by your performance and level of education and experience. Early career seaman make far lower pay than officers. However, there are a lot of opportunities for advancement if you are good at what you do. Overall, Navy SEAL pay tends to be commensurate with performance. The following are the different Navy pay grades for each ranking:

  • Seaman Recruit: $1,600 per month
  • Seaman Apprentice: $1,793 per month
  • Seaman: $22,630 - $25,510 annually
  • Petty Officer Third Class: $25,067 - $30,427 annually
  • Petty Officer Second Class: $27,338 - $38,794 annually
  • Petty Officer First Class: $29,840 - $46,220 annually
  • Chief Petty Officer: $34,502 - $62,010 annually
  • Senior Chief Petty Officer: $49,633 - $70,787 annually
  • Master Chief Petty Officer: $60,631 - $94,136 annually
  • Command Master Chief Petty Officer: $60,631 - $94,136 annually
  • Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy: $60,631 - $94,136 annually
  • Chief Warrant Officer 2: $40,554 - $67,687 annually
  • Chief Warrant Officer 3: $45,828 - $80,392 annually
  • Chief Warrant Officer 4: $50,184 - $93,478 annually
  • Chief Warrant Officer 5: $89,233 - $116,770 annually
  • Ensign: $36,418 - $45,824 annually
  • Lieutenant Junior Grade: $41,958 - $58,068 annually
  • Lieutenant: $48,560 - $79,002 annually
  • Lieutenant Commander: $55,231 - $92,218 annually
  • Commander: $64,012 - $108,752 annually
  • Captain: $76,784 - $135,936 annually
  • Rear Admiral Lower Half: $101,257 - $151,283 annually
  • Rear Admiral: $121,860 - $175,676 annually
  • Vice Admiral: $172,224 - $186,998 annually
  • Admiral: $15,583 per month ($186,996 annually)

Note that these are simply base salaries, not including benefits and extra stipends. The Navy also offers many benefits programs, such as tuition assistance and housing stipends. You will also receive stipend pay during any period when you are deployed.

Job Growth Trend

The Navy is growing, and recently the Pentagon released a plan to add 25,000 new sailors to its ranks. The Navy is also adding dozens of ships to its fleet. Because of this five-year plan, it is a good time to become a Navy SEAL, because there will be a lot of opportunity for growth and promotion.


Chelsea Levinson earned her B.S. in Business from Fordham University and her J.D. from Cardozo. She specializes in labor and workplace issues, and has created content for Vox, Levo, AOL and more.

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