When considering your pay, it is important to consider the big picture. As an Officer in the US Air Force, as a lieutenant straight out of college, you will make about $34,000 a year in basic pay. As an officer, your pay depends on your rank and time in service. If you’re a doctor or pilot, there are some special pay considerations and bonuses. In four years, you can be making $47,000–$55,000 as a captain.
Here’s a breakdown of your total compensation package:
Living Expenses—Nontaxable Allowances
Housing Pay—Housing allowances (which are nontaxable) range from $800–$2,600, depending on your assignment location.
Subsistence Pay—All officers, regardless of rank, receive a nontaxable food allowance of $246 a month.
Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA)—additional allowance to offset costs from overseas rental
Cost of Living Allowance (COLA)—additional allowance to offset high-price living locations (to include many overseas locations)
Hazardous Fire Pay (HFP)—monthly allowance for at least one day’s duty in a designated hazardous area
Dislocation Allowance—additional allowance to defray moving expenses (currently 2.5 times your Basic Allowance for Housing)
Flight Pay—available to those with a job requiring flight status (pilots, combat systems officers, flight specialists)
Family Separation Allowance—allowance for those whose jobs require an extended separation from their family
The Air Force offers a superb 50 percent military retirement plan based on the average of each service member’s highest 36 months of basic pay multiplied by 2.5 percent of the retiree’s years of service.
You accumulate 2.5 days of leave per month (30 days of total vacation with pay each year), which can be carried forward (maximum of 60 days) into the next fiscal year.
Air Force Officers are Offered the Following:
The Air Force offers a benefits package that exceeds most FORTUNE 500 companies.
Sick leave: unlimited; full pay continues
Medical care: furnished at no cost
Dental care: furnished at no cost
Life insurance: $400,000 of low-cost term life insurance
Social life: officers clubs, swimming, golfing, bowling, tennis and more
Education: opportunity for higher education with tuition assistance or full scholarship
Retirement: opportunity to retire after 20 years with 50 percent of your base pay
Promotions: Make first lieutenant after two years. Make captain after four years.
Shopping: Save as much as 25 percent in on-base stores.
Living quarters: contracted, on-base housing available or off-base housing; you do not have to live on base and are not restricted to the base
Tax-free housing and food allowances
Travel: outstanding opportunities for worldwide travel
Good starting salary with regular pay raises
Take advantage of sports facilities, recreational facilities, intramural sports opportunities and golf courses on Air Force bases around the world.
100 percent of your postgraduate tuition costs covered via tuition assistance
Space-available travel outside the United States for a nominal fee
Base Legal Assistance Office
Possible eligibility for Veterans’ Administration Home Loans
OTHER BENEFITS INCLUDE
Career-Broadening Opportunities—Special-duty assignments, retraining, overseas duty, contingency temporary duties, assignments in the Pentagon, teaching Air Force ROTC at a university, working with other services, etc.
Family-Support Centers—Support agencies offer family services such as assistance with transitions and moving as well classes and support groups to help out with many family challenges.
Child Development Centers (CDC)—CDCs are certified by the Department of Defense and accredited by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs. Fees are based on total family income. After-school programs are available at some CDCs or youth centers.
Other Entitlements Include:
Transportation for dependents on duty changes.
Shipment of household goods overseas and in the United States.
Schooling for dependents overseas and at some bases in the continental United States -Free.
Station housing and cost-of-living allowances at many locations.
Travel allowance for privately owned vehicle (POV) pickup/delivery at port.
Programs for Documented Personal Difficulties:
Emergency leave with priority on military aircraft
Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP)
Air Force Aid Society