Navy Active Duty Enlistment Bonuses

Find Out How Recruits Can Get Cash Incentives From the Navy

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Like the other services, the Navy offers enlistment bonus incentives to encourage applicants to join. The amounts of incentives can vary, and they're usually not open to every rating (the Navy's word for job). Typically wherever the Navy has a shortage of personnel, or anticipates a need for a particular area, will be the areas where bonuses are offered. 

There are career bonuses for remaining in a high-demand, underpopulated Navy rating as well.

But for the purposes of this article we'll outline those bonuses available to new recruits as enlistment incentives. 

Most of the Navy's bonuses can be combined, so if you're fluent in a language the Navy needs and you sign up for a job that offers its own specific bonus, you may be able to collect two bonuses. 

To qualify for most of the Navy's bonuses, recruits have to agree to longer active duty enlistment contracts, usually adding a year. Some programs which require five- or six-year enlistment periods don't require enlistment extensions to qualify for bonuses. 

Language Proficiency Bonus

Sailors who demonstrate proficiency in a critical language can earn a bonus of up to $12,000. To qualify, the sailor must score at least 2.2 on the Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT), prior to graduating basic training. Additionally, the sailor must enlist in one of the following ratings: builder (BU), construction electrician (CE), construction mechanic (CM), engineering aide (EA), equipment operator (EO), worker (SW), utilities man (UT), or hospital corpsman (HM).

All of these require a five-year enlistment. 

Recruits must show the required proficiency in one of the following languages: Baluchi, Pashtu, Kurdish, Somali, Punjabi, Urdu, Indonesian, Hindi, Persian Iranian (Farsi), Persian-Afghan (Dari), Arabic (regional dialects such as Algerian, Gulf, etc.), Tausug/Moro, Chechen, Tamil, Maylay, and Swahili.

These languages are subject to change based on need, so consult a Navy recruiter for the most updated list. 

Special Warfare/Special Operations

Applicants who enlist in special operations and special warfare programs and achieve an advanced score on the applicable physical screening test (PST) during basic training will receive a $2,000 bonus upon graduation from basic training. 

The ratings that qualify for this bonus include explosive ordinance disposal technicians (EOD); Navy divers (ND); and special warfare operator (SO). 

If the sailor washes out of training, they will retain this bonus. However, if they make it through training their regular enlistment bonus will be reduced by the amount of the PST bonus.

Enlistment Bonuses for Specific Ratings

The Navy Enlistment Bonus Program provides a monetary enlistment bonus for Navy recruits who enlist in specific ratings, usually ones where there is a shortage of personnel, and who ship out to basic training during specific time periods. 

Repayment of Bonuses

It's important to be aware that if a recruit doesn't fulfill the terms of his enlistment for which he received a bonus, he will be required to pay the Navy back. The amount will be prorated and will depend on how much service time is left in the sailor's contract.