Which Military Branch Gives the Largest Enlistment and Re-Enlistment Bonuses?

Ever wondered which military branch gives the largest enlistment and re-enlistment bonuses? Singing up for the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marine Corps means you will likely receive a sign-on bonus. This incentive helps the military get new recruits to become soldiers. The bonus you receive will vary, depending on the branch you choose, the job you choose and a few other things. It might be a deciding factor, so understanding the bonuses is very important.

The bonuses do fluctuate, so the numbers mentioned in this article may not be 100% accurate. If there’s a shortage of a specific position, a larger bonus may be offered for that position. Make sure you always check with your recruiter to ensure you have the most up-to-date information about enlistment and re-enlistment bonuses.

Must Know General Information about Enlistment Bonuses

Joining the military most likely means you will get some sort of enlistment bonus. This could be a large portion of your pay when you first enlist. The military can use up to $40,000 per recruit for bonuses.

However, you’re actual bonus will depend on the branch, the job and the length of your contract. The U.S. Military is the only employer offering these types of bonuses for high school graduates.

You should know, if you voluntarily don’t complete your enlistment term or you’re discharged due to misconduct, you may have to refund some of your bonus. This can also happen if you don’t qualify when it comes to the skills the bonus was paid for. The refund will be prorated, depending on the time of service left on your contract.

Important Facts about Re-Enlistment Bonuses

You may be eligible for a re-enlistment or retention bonus if you have completed at least 17 months of active duty outside of your training. If you’ve completed over 14 years, you may no longer be eligible. You must also have a military skill designated as critical by the Secretary of Homeland Security or the Secretary of Defense.

These bonuses are not paid to those receiving nuclear-training pay. It’s also important to know you will need to reenlist or extend your enlistment for at least three years. Re-enlistment bonuses will never be more than 15 times your regular monthly basic pay and can be up to $100,000.

Bonuses from the Marine Corps

Sing-on incentives from the Marine Corps range from about $2,000 to $8,000 for specific occupations. They also offer a $1,000 shipping bonus during deployment and plenty of other benefits for new recruits. Marine Corps new recruits will also be eligible for the G.I. Bill and may even have the ability to take up to 18 months off with full pay when attending graduate school.

Bonuses from the Army


Many enlistment bonuses are offered by the U.S. Army. They offer bonuses for specific jobs, but they also offer them for specific qualities. If you’re bilingual, have a college degree or have some type of certification, you may be able to get a larger bonus from the Army.

The Army may combine bonuses up to as much as $40,000. They offer bonuses up to $15,000 for about 20 different careers with an $8,000 bonus for those with a college degree. If you’re proficient in certain civilian skills, such as X-ray technology, you may be able to get another $10,000 bonus.

The U.S. Army also offers bonuses for specific training agreements, such as warrant officer flight training or officer candidate school. These types of training can earn you as much as a $10,000 bonus.

Bonuses from the Air Force

When you join the Air Force, you may receive up to about $10,000 in enlistment bonuses. These bonuses are typically for positions, such as Para rescue, land-based linguist, airborne linguist, explosive ordinance disposal, combat control and survival evasion rescue evacuation. They also offer up to $6,000 in bonuses for tactical air command and control. When you join the Air Force, you will also have the ability to get as much as $10,000 of student loans repaid through the student loan repayment plan.

Bonuses from the Navy

The Navy not only offers bonuses for those with college education, but they also offer bonuses for those scoring high on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery. The bonuses may be combined to reach a maximum of $30,000 for regular recruits. However, if you’re a Navy SEALs or nuclear training recruit, those bonuses may go up to as much as $40,000.

These bonuses can also be combined with student loan repayment for a maximum of $65,000 or with the Navy college fund, which can max out at $72,700. You can choose one of these options, but not both.

The Navy college fund will actually help to increase your G.I benefits by adding as much as $950 every month toward your education. The total bonus you will receive depends on the job and enlistment length.

The possible bonuses you receive from any branch of the military for enlisting can vary quite a bit. You will need to sit down with your recruiter and speak to them directly about the bonuses offered for specific positions, specific enlistment contracts and for the different branches of the military.

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