US Air Force Career Pay
Enlisted members in the United States Air Force can expect many different things for US Air Force career pay and compensation for serving in this branch of the military. Depending on the specific situation and career path chosen, Air Force personnel can expect to earn different incomes. If you are interested in joining the Air Force, fill out this form to receive more information and get started with your Air Force career.
All enlisted Air Force members will receive a basic salary. US Air Force career pay will be dependent on the amount of time the individual has served. Starting out, a newly enlisted member can anticipate a rate of pay of approximately $1,200 each month.
Promotions are available to enlisted personnel and are generally based on three specific criteria including rank, work performance, and time served. A second year member can expect to earn up to $2,400 each month.
For the Air Force Reserves, Drill Pay is based on time served one weekend each month. Entry level reservists typically earn about $166 in pay for their first four months of service. By the second year, an increase can be expected that just about doubles the amount earned.
There are special situations involved in the United States military that allow enlisted Air Force members to earn additional pay amounts for specific circumstances. These additional pay structures include:
• Hardship Duty Pay – This additional pay structure is based on the living situations for military members who are stationed in difficult areas that may present hazards for safety including Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Libya, and Iraq. There are also other locations that can warrant Hardship Duty pay for Air Force members.
• Imminent Danger Pay – This pay is awarded to active members who serve on duty outside of the United States. These individuals are serving in areas that may pose dangers due to wartime situations, acts of terrorism, or civil war circumstances.
Air Force Incentives
The Air Force provides enlisted members with additional incentives and bonuses in addition to regular salaries earned. These incentives include additional pay for food/housing allowances for enlisted members living in on-base housing, uniform allowances, travel allowances, and free medical and dental insurance coverage. The Air Force also offers 30 days of paid vacation for members on an annual basis. There also may be eligibility for free airfare for vacation travel on the available space on Air Force air crafts. Enlisted personnel may also be able to stay in other base locations for very low rates.
An incentive of a life in the Air Force also includes free recreational and social activities provided to enlisted members and for their family members and guests. Many of the Air Force bases in the United States and abroad provide facilities for recreation such as swimming pools, golf courses, tennis courts, and even arts and crafts instruction. Most of the activities provided to Air Force staff are free or at least provided at a much lower cost than at other locations off base.
The United States Air Force may also provide signing bonuses for enlisted members in specialized fields. There are signing bonuses of up to $10,000 for those qualified as:
• Airborne Liguist
Air Force Education
For those enlisted members of the Air Force who have already completed courses in higher learning institutions, there may be eligibility for college loan repayments through the CLRP program. This program is available at the time of enlistment and eligible recruits can receive up to $10,000 towards repaying college tuition debts.
Air Force members are eligible to receive educational courses at no cost. The Air Force promotes education and provides many courses and training programs designed to enrich education and enhance skill sets. The Air Force Tuition Assistance program is also available to help those serving active duty to attend college by providing financial assistance of up to $4,500 per fiscal year at two-year or four-year colleges and universities, or at technical schools where degree programs in academics or for technical trades are earned, including online educational structures.
Air Force Retirement Options
Air Force members are also entitled to participate in the available retirement plan. There are no payroll deductions but additional funds from a member’s pay can be saved in a Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) which is similar to a civilian 401k retirement account. The account is funded with pre-tax monies, reducing taxable income. The account is allowed to grow tax-free towards retirement. Air Force members can join the TSP at any time, including during initial enrollment. Funds in the Thrift Savings Plan can be utilized at any time no matter how many service years have been achieved. After 20 years of service, personnel are eligible to begin receiving retirement benefits regardless of age.
The United States Air Force offers many career and recreational opportunities for enlisted members and their families. Those interested in learning more about a career in the US Air Force should schedule an appointment to speak with an Air Force Recruiter to have their specific questions and concerned addressed. A recruiter has the knowledge and resources to help you explore the opportunities within the Air Force and as a Reservist that best suit your interests and your goals.
Ready to join the Air Force? Just fill out this form to receive more information.