Highest-Paying Military Careers

These top-paying jobs in the Military require specialized training in addition to service commitments.

A Navy service member working on a computer in an operatons room

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Military Security Specialists

Security specialists in the Military protect and defend. They conduct risk/vulnerability assessments, analyze crime, and recommend appropriate courses of action to eliminate conditions conducive to terrorism, espionage, sabotage, wrongful destruction, malicious damage, theft, and pilferage. Law enforcement specialists that focus on security require a breadth of knowledge in weapon systems, antiterrorism, law enforcement, defense, and combat arms. 

  • Average Salary:$48,956
  • Most Common Education: High school

Military Welders and Metal Workers

Welders and metal workers deal with shaping, brazing, soldering, and forming metals to aid in different construction efforts that serve military missions worldwide. They create custom parts to repair the structural components of ships, tanks, submarines, landing craft, buildings, and equipment. They also install sheet metal products, such as roofs, air ducts, gutters, and vents.  These enlisted workers use a wide range of skills, processes, and tools.

  • Average Salary:$48,789
  • Most Common Education: High school

Military Food Service Specialists

Food service specialists function in every aspect of food preparation, including administration, procurement, storage, and distribution. They plan menus, purchase supplies, cook food, operate food service equipment, and provide customer service.

  • Average Salary:$48,738
  • Most Common Education: High school

Military Ship Electricians

Ship electricians operate and repair electrical systems on ships. They keep electrical power plants, wiring, and machinery in working order, maintain and repair shipboard elevator systems, and interpret electrical sketches, diagrams, and blueprints.

  • Average Salary:$48,736
  • Most Common Education: Post-secondary certificate

Military Aircraft Launch and Recovery Specialists

Aircraft launch and recovery specialists ensure the safety of aircraft as they launch from and return to aircraft carriers. They perform this critical work by operating and maintaining catapults, arresting gear, and other equipment used in aircraft carrier takeoff and landing operations.

  • Average Salary:$48,577
  • Most Common Education: Bachelor's degree

Military Seamen

Seamen are responsible for the smooth operation of the majority of occurrences above deck. They are capable of performing almost any task in connection with deck maintenance, small boat operations, navigation, and supervising all personnel assigned to a ship's deck force or shore unit. They have a working knowledge of all programs performed in, or related to, the marine environment. They must establish and maintain knowledge of ropes and cables, including different uses, stresses, strains, and proper stowing. They facilitate upkeep of ships' external structures, riggings, deck equipment, and lifeboats.

  • Average Salary:$47,667
  • Most Common Education: High school

Military Heating and Cooling Mechanics

Heating and cooling mechanics are responsible for providing the Military with technical and mechanical services regarding heating, cooling, and related systems. They install, operate and perform inspections, testing, troubleshooting, and repairs on malfunctioning systems. They perform maintenance and quality control functions, ensuring compliance with safety and environmental regulations. They supervise and provide guidance to subordinates and they provide recommendations regarding installations and repairments of HVAC/R systems.

  • Average Salary:$47,644
  • Most Common Education: Not available

Military Plumbers and Pipefitters

Plumbers and pipefitters assemble, install, maintain, and repair many different types of pipe systems.

  • Average Salary:$47,453
  • Most Common Education: Not available

Military Marine Engine Mechanics

Marine engine mechanics repair, inspect, test, and maintain gasoline and diesel engines on ships, boats, and other watercraft. They also repair shipboard mechanical and electrical equipment, including refrigeration and air conditioning systems. Specialized tools help them make accurate diagnoses and estimate how long a part will be reliable before it should be replaced.

  • Average Salary:$47,437
  • Most Common Education: Post-secondary certificate

Military Machinists

Machinists perform various duties incident to fabrication, repair or modification, and motor transport. They are experienced machine tool operators who use a variety of equipment and devices, such as lathes, drill presses, grinders, and other machine shop equipment.

  • Average Salary:$46,575
  • Most Common Education: High school