Regular Army: Active Duty

Benefit Fact Sheet



There are many opportunities to earn money in the Active Army in addition to basic pay. Bonuses may be available for new recruits and Soldiers, who select specific Army jobs, complete special training, assume extra responsibilities, or have served in the military before.


Active Duty Soldiers - Bonus opportunities to active duty Soldiers as incentives to develop or maintain certain skills and/or at various stages of their career.

New Recruits - Upon enlistment into the Army, new recruits may be eligible for cash enlistment incentives if they enlist for certain skills and meet the mental and physical qualifications for the particular skill. The bonuses depend upon availability of the skill training.

Benefit Highlights:

Active Army Enlistment Bonus: Qualified active duty recruits may be eligible for a combination of bonuses totaling up to $40,000. The maximum bonus for a three, four, five, or six-year contract is based on periodic updates and is subject to change. Recruiters will have the most up to date bonus information.

Active Duty Education Bonus (HIGRAD): Qualified non-prior service applicants who enlist for three or more years, possess a qualifying aptitude test score, and enlist in an Army Military Occupational Specialty that is designated as an incentive skill may receive one of the following bonuses for civilian education:

  • Associates degree or higher-$5,000
  • Recruits with 60 or more college semester hours (no degree)-$4,000
  • Recruits with 30 to 59 college semester hours-$3,000

Civilian Acquired Skills Bonus: Active Army applicants who possess civilian skills that the Army needs, such as proficiency in certain foreign languages, X-Ray certification or specialties in animal care, may be eligible for a $5,000 bonus.

High Demand MOS: Applicants who enlist for three or more years in the following jobs may qualify for additional seasonal bonuses ranging from $3,000 to $15,000. Current (subject to change based on Army requirements) high demand MOSs include:

  • Infantryman (11X)
  • Cannon Crewmember (13B)
  • Field Artillery Automated Tactical Data Systems Specialist (13D)
  • Fire Support Specialist (13F)
  • Multiple Launch Rocket System Crewmember (13M)
  • Field Artillery Firefinder Radar Operator (13R)
  • Air Defense Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence Tactical Operations Center Operator/Maintainer (14J)
  • Special Forces Candidate (18X)
  • Cavalry Scout (19D)
  • Microwave Systems Operator-Maintainer (25P)
  • Satellite Communication Systems Operator/Maintainers (25S)
  • Internment/Resettlement Specialists (31E)
  • Light Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic (63B)
  • Quartermaster and Chemical Equipment Repairer (63J)
  • Motor Transport Operator (88M)
  • Ammunition Specialist (89B)
  • Explosive Ordnance Disposal Specialist (89D)
  • Petroleum Supply Specialist (92F)
  • Food Service Operations (92G)
  • Parachute Rigger (92R)
  • Radio and Communications Security Repairer (94E)
  • Special Electronic Devices Repairer (94F)
  • Electronic Warfare/Cryptology Operations Specialist (98X)

Middle Eastern Translator Aide Bonus: Individuals who speak certain Middle-Eastern languages and enlist, as Translator Aides in the U.S. Army are eligible for an enlistment bonus up to $40,000 depending on the number of years enlisted for and any other qualifying bonus criteria met.

Critical Skills Retention Bonus: An officer or enlisted member who is serving in a designated critical area can receive a Retention Bonus if an agreement is signed to remain on active duty for at least one year. A Retention Bonus is not authorized for members who have completed more than 25 years of active duty or who will complete their 25th year of active duty before the end of the period of active duty for which the bonus is being offered. Qualifying Professions include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Warrant Officers
  • Health Professionals
  • Driver
  • Prime Power Production Specialist
  • Psychological Operations Specialist
  • Recruiter
  • Motor Transport Operator
  • Explosive Ordinance Disposal Specialist
  • Imagery Analyst
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operator
  • Human Intelligence Collector
  • Voice Interceptor (Arabic Only)

Reenlistment Bonus: A soldier currently serving in the Army may be eligible for a reenlistment bonus, provided the Soldier:

  • has completed at least 17 months of continuous active duty (other than for training) but not more than fourteen years of active duty
  • is qualified in a military skill designated as critical by the Secretary of Defense
  • is not currently receiving special nuclear-training pay
  • reenlists or voluntarily extends enlistment for a period of at least three years
  • enlists in a regular component of the service concerned; or continues in a reserve component of the service concerned

The bonus to be paid may not exceed the lesser of the product of 15 times the monthly rate of basic pay to which the Soldier was entitled at the time of the discharge or release of the member; and the product of the number of years (or the monthly fractions thereof) of the term of reenlistment or extension of enlistment of up to $90,000. The Soldier receives 50% of the bonus up front and the remaining balance is paid in annual installments.

Additional Information:

For more information about Bonuses, please visit the following Websites maintained by the Department of Defense:

Document Review Date: 1 January 2016