The Average Income of an Army Second Lieutenant

by Aurelio Locsin

A second lieutenant is the entry-level officer position for the U.S. Army and uses the pay grade of O-1. Second lieutenants are usually in charge of a platoon with 16 to 44 soldiers. They receive the same salaries as other O-1 pay grades in the other branches of the Armed Forces.

Active Duty

Experience determines how much second lieutenants earn. New second lieutenants make a basic $2,876 per month as of January 2013, according to U.S. Defense Finance and Accounting Service pay tables. At two years, salaries increase to $2,994 monthly, and at three years, pay tops out at a monthly $3,619. No higher pay is available for the rank because the Army expects second lieutenants to assume higher ranks eventually. For example, a first lieutenant, with a pay grade of O-2, earns monthly wages of $3,314 for less than two years of service, $3,774 for two years, $4,347 for three years and $4,493 for four years.


Soldiers on reserve duty serve one weekend a month and two weeks a year. They receive drill pay where four hours equals one drill period and four drill periods equal one weekend drill. Second lieutenants with two years of experience or less earn $2,876 per year for reserve duty, which equals $95.88 per drill or $383.52 for each drill period. At over two years of experience, drill pay increases to $2,994 yearly. At over three years, salaries reach a maximum annual $3,619.


As part of their total compensation, second lieutenants receive a subsistence allowance of $242.60 per month. They also receive an allowance for any dependents up to a maximum of $1,100 monthly. Those who choose to live on base and are single receive a two-bedroom apartment. Those who are married receive a two-bedroom townhouse or duplex. Additional family members can add bedrooms depending on age and gender. Second lieutenants who live off-base receive a basic housing allowance of $660 a month without a dependent and $881 monthly with a dependent.


Second lieutenants can earn one-time bonuses based on their skills. For example, those who have X-ray certification and are proficient in certain foreign languages can receive up to a $5,000 bonus. Army Reserve applicants who have a critical skill and enlist for six years might get a $20,000 bonus. In addition, all soldiers and their families receive medical and dental care at little or no cost from military treatment facilities. They can also enroll in group life insurance. Active duty soldiers receive 30 days vacation each year as well as paid sick days and holidays.

About the Author

Aurelio Locsin has been writing professionally since 1982. He published his first book in 1996 and is a frequent contributor to many online publications, specializing in consumer, business and technical topics. Locsin holds a Bachelor of Arts in scientific and technical communications from the University of Washington.

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