Think of the U.S. Marine Corps and you think of a tough, disciplined warrior who can win battles from land, sea or air. This fighting force has been defending the nation since 1775 in battles all around the world. If you have what it takes to join them, you can look forward to an exciting workplace, free room and board, and a decent salary.
The biggest factor in Marine pay is rank and years of service. As of 2013, enlisted personnel at the E-1 pay grade, or rank of private, gets $1,516 per month for less than two years of service. For the same number of years, a sergeant at pay grade E-5 earns $2,159 monthly. At four years, she receives $2,529 and at ten years, she gets $3,045. The highest enlisted pay grade of E-9, which refers to master gunnery sergeant or sergeant major, receives a minimum $4,788 per month at 10 years, $5,194 at 16 years and $5,617 at 20 years.
Because of their greater command responsibilities, officers receive higher pay. Second lieutenants at the O-1 pay grade earn a monthly $2,876 at less than two years of service, and up to $3,619 at three years. Colonels at O-6 pay grade make $6,064 for less than two years, and up to $9,529 at 20 years. And the highest rank of general at pay grade 0-10 receives $15,913 per month at 20 years. Warrant officers are technical experts whose ranks are between enlisted staff and officers. The W-1 pay grade, or warrant officer rank, has monthly pay ranging from $2,811 at under two years to $4,858 at 20 years. The highest W-5 pay grade, or warrant officer 5 rank, makes $7,047 at 20 years.
To enlist in the Marines, you need to be between 17 and 29 years old, have proof of legal residency, be a high-school graduate and pass a physical exam. To become an officer, you must be at least 20 years old but less than 28 at the time of the first commission, be a U.S. citizen, have a bachelor’s degree and also pass a physical. Enlisted recruits undergo basic training. Officers must go through the Officer Candidate Course, or come from the Naval Officers Training Corps or the U.S. Naval Academy.
Aside from basic pay, Marines receive benefits as part of their service. They can live on military bases or receive a housing allowance for off-base accommodations. They have regular cost-of-living pay increases and a uniform allowance. Comprehensive medical insurance is free for the recruit and her family, while dental insurance and life insurance are available at a small cost. Marines also receive free training both on-base and at off-base colleges, 30 days of paid leave each year and free travel to assigned bases of operation anywhere in the world.
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