Join the Navy, See the World - And Get a $50,000 Enlistment Bonus

Recruits at Naval Station Great Lakes, 2019 (USN)

Published Jan 21, 2022 9:20 PM by The Maritime Executive

Facing the same competitive hiring market as all American employers, the U.S. Navy is upping its enlistment bonuses to attract high-quality recruits. For those who qualify for high-demand ratings, the money can be big - up to a maximum of $50,000. 

The average enlisted sailor won't see those numbers, as the maximum bonus for most ratings is just $4,000 in exchange for an early shipping date. Nuclear technician recruits are the only specialists who will be able to max out the new $50,000 cap, thanks to a $38,000 signing bonus and a $14,000 immediate-shipping bonus. But for many others who qualify for skilled and hard-to-fill roles, like rescue swimmers and special warfare operators, the money easily reaches the five digits. Ratings like EOD technicians, submarine machinist's mates, electronics technicians and cryptologic technicians can do quite well too. 

Future sailors who are already in the delayed entry program (DEP) are eligible for the early-shipping bonus, as well as new applicants who sign up for specified ratings and ship within 30 days. Veterans who have prior service time and want to sign up with the Reserve are also in demand, and they can qualify for a $20,000 bonus under a separate program.

“We recognize that young Americans today have more employment options and opportunities than ever before, so we are offering these enlistment bonuses to be competitive with the strong civilian labor market,” said Rear Admiral Dennis Velez, Commander, Navy Recruiting Command. “While military service is not just about the money, we feel the added economic incentive . . . will help us attract and retain the kind of talented young people our Navy needs.”

The Navy is also in competition with the Army for top recruits, which is offering a similar enlistment bonus of up to $50,000 for in-demand specialists.