Joining the National Guard can be an appealing option for those interested in serving their country on a part-time basis. If you’re wondering how much money you can make as a National Guard member, you’ve come to the right place.
The short answer is that National Guard pay is determined by your rank, time in service, duty status and certain incentives or bonuses. On average, National Guard members earn between $200 to $500 for the usual weekend drill and annual training period.
However, you can qualify for additional pay like housing allowance, education benefits and more.
In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about National Guard pay, including factors that impact your salary, drill pay rates, bonuses and incentives and additional benefits.
National Guard Duty Status and Commitments
Being a member of the National Guard involves certain duty statuses and commitments that vary depending on the level of involvement and the specific responsibilities. Understanding these duty statuses is essential for anyone considering joining or currently serving in the National Guard.
Part-Time vs Full-Time Status
The National Guard offers both part-time and full-time statuses for its members. Part-time status, also known as the traditional status, allows individuals to serve on a part-time basis while maintaining civilian careers or pursuing higher education.
This flexibility is often appealing to individuals who want to serve their country while still having a civilian life.
On the other hand, full-time status, referred to as Active Guard Reserve (AGR), requires members to dedicate themselves to full-time service. This commitment involves working on military installations and performing various duties.
AGR members receive full-time pay and benefits, making it a suitable option for those who desire a more immersive military experience.
One of the key commitments for National Guard members is attending regular drills. These drills are typically conducted one weekend a month and two weeks during the summer. During these drill periods, National Guard members receive training, participate in physical fitness activities, and engage in team-building exercises.
The purpose of these drills is to maintain readiness and ensure that members stay up-to-date with necessary skills and knowledge.
It’s important to note that missing drills can have consequences, including loss of pay and potential disciplinary actions. However, the National Guard understands that unexpected circumstances can arise, and there are protocols in place to address such situations.
In addition to regular drills, National Guard members are required to attend an annual training period. This training typically lasts for two weeks and provides an opportunity for members to receive more in-depth instruction and practice their skills in a simulated operational environment.
Annual training is crucial for maintaining proficiency and readiness, and it often involves joint exercises with other military branches and international partners.
While the National Guard primarily serves as a domestic force, there is always the possibility of deployment for both domestic and overseas missions. National Guard members may be called upon to support disaster response efforts, aid in law enforcement operations, or provide assistance during times of national crisis.
Deployment can range from short-term assignments to extended periods away from home.
It’s important to mention that deployment is not a constant state for National Guard members. The frequency and duration of deployments vary based on the needs of the country and the specific unit. The National Guard strives to balance the needs of its members and their civilian lives while fulfilling its mission to protect and serve the nation.
For more information on National Guard duty statuses and commitments, you can visit the official website of the National Guard at www.nationalguard.mil.
Monthly Drill Pay Rates
The National Guard offers competitive monthly drill pay rates for part-time service. Basic pay is determined by rank and time in service. The higher the rank and the longer the service, the higher the monthly drill pay. This pay is calculated based on the number of drills attended each month.
Rank and Time in Service
Rank and time in service play a significant role in determining the monthly drill pay rates. As individuals progress in their military career and gain experience, they are eligible for promotions. With each promotion, there is an increase in rank and pay.
Time in service also contributes to pay increases. The longer an individual serves in the National Guard, the higher their monthly drill pay will be.
For example, a newly enlisted Private (E-1) with less than two years of service can expect a lower monthly drill pay compared to a Sergeant First Class (E-7) with over ten years of service. It is important to note that these rates are subject to change and can vary based on the military branch and specific unit.
Housing and Subsistence Allowances
In addition to basic pay, National Guard members may be eligible for housing and subsistence allowances. These allowances are provided to help cover the cost of housing and meals during drill weekends. The amount of these allowances depends on various factors such as location and dependency status.
It is essential for National Guard members to understand the specific guidelines and requirements for these allowances. For more detailed information, it is recommended to visit the official website of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) at www.dfas.mil.
Bonuses and Incentives
The National Guard offers various bonuses and incentives to attract and retain qualified individuals. These incentives are designed to supplement the part-time income earned by National Guard members and provide additional financial support for their service.
Some of the most popular bonuses and incentives include enlistment bonuses, reenlistment bonuses, student loan repayment programs, and tuition assistance.
When individuals decide to join the National Guard, they may be eligible for an enlistment bonus. This bonus serves as a financial incentive to encourage individuals to enlist and commit to serving in the National Guard.
The amount of the enlistment bonus can vary based on factors such as the individual’s military occupational specialty and the length of their enlistment contract. It’s important to note that eligibility criteria and bonus amounts are subject to change, so it’s advisable to consult the official National Guard website for the most up-to-date information.
If a National Guard member decides to reenlist after their initial contract expires, they may be eligible for a reenlistment bonus. This bonus serves as a way to reward and retain experienced individuals who choose to continue their service.
Similar to the enlistment bonus, the amount of the reenlistment bonus can vary based on factors such as the individual’s military occupational specialty and the length of their reenlistment contract. National Guard members should consult their unit’s retention office or the official National Guard website to learn more about the specific eligibility criteria and bonus amounts.
Student Loan Repayment
The National Guard offers a student loan repayment program to assist members in managing their educational debt. Through this program, eligible National Guard members can receive financial assistance to help pay off their qualified student loans.
The amount of student loan repayment assistance can vary based on factors such as the member’s military occupational specialty and the length of their service commitment. It’s important to note that certain requirements must be met to qualify for this program, and interested individuals should consult the official National Guard website or speak with a National Guard recruiter for more information.
The National Guard also provides tuition assistance to its members who wish to pursue higher education. This program offers financial support for eligible National Guard members to help cover the costs of tuition and fees associated with approved degree programs.
The specific amount of tuition assistance available can vary, and individuals are encouraged to consult the official National Guard website or speak with a representative from their unit’s education office for more details.
Tuition assistance programs can be a great way for National Guard members to further their education while serving part-time in the military.
Additional Allowances and Benefits
Joining the National Guard not only provides individuals with the opportunity to serve their country part-time, but it also comes with a range of additional allowances and benefits. These benefits are designed to support and reward Guard members for their commitment and dedication.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the key allowances and benefits available to National Guard members.
Health and Life Insurance
One of the most significant benefits of serving in the National Guard is access to comprehensive health and life insurance coverage. Guard members and their families can enjoy affordable health insurance through the TRICARE program, which offers a variety of plans to meet different needs.
Additionally, Guard members are eligible for life insurance coverage through the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) program. This coverage provides financial protection for the member’s loved ones in the event of their death.
The National Guard offers a retirement plan that allows members to accumulate retirement benefits over their years of service. Guard members can contribute to the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), a retirement savings and investment plan similar to a 401(k) offered to civilian employees.
The National Guard also provides a defined benefit retirement plan, which offers a monthly annuity payment based on the member’s years of service and pay grade at the time of retirement.
Post 9/11 GI Bill
Guard members who have served on active duty for at least 90 days since September 11, 2001, are eligible for educational benefits under the Post 9/11 GI Bill. This bill provides funding for tuition and fees, a monthly housing allowance, and a stipend for books and supplies.
These benefits can be used for a variety of education and training programs, including college degree programs, vocational and technical training, and on-the-job apprenticeships.
VA Home Loans
Guard members who meet certain requirements are eligible for VA home loans, which can help them finance the purchase of a home with favorable loan terms. These loans are provided by private lenders but guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), making them an attractive option for Guard members looking to become homeowners.
VA home loans often offer lower interest rates and require no down payment or private mortgage insurance.
For more detailed information on National Guard allowances and benefits, you can visit the official website of the National Guard.
Serving in the National Guard can be rewarding both financially and in terms of gaining new skills and leadership experience. While you won’t get rich, National Guard pay provides part-time income and excellent benefits for the commitment.
Be sure to discuss pay details with a recruiter to get a personalized estimate based on your qualifications. With hard work and service, you can advance in rank over time to maximize your earnings. We hope this guide gave you a comprehensive overview of National Guard pay and benefits.