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  • Captain Harper

How Much Do Marine Officers Earn?

Updated: Sep 1, 2023

READ ME (25 Jan 2023): Basic pay and allowances are reevaluated each FY. Therefore, the exact figures below are outdated. However, the equation for calculating your total pay remains the same: Basic pay + allowances = total pay.

Financial freedom is something we all think about. No matter what your reason for joining the Marine Corps it will still be something you should understand in its entirety. So how is your pay calculated?

Your pay is the sum of your BASIC PAY (taxable) + ALLOWANCES (most are non-taxable).

-Your basic pay is determined by your time-in-service (TIS) and your time-in-grade (TIG).

-You typically only rate Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) and Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) & a one-time uniform payment after OCS. You do however rate a dislocation allowance when you change duty stations. A full list of allowances are located at

BAH is based on the cost of living near your duty station. It is non-taxable. Your allowance will be incorporated into your bi-monthly paycheck. Anything you do not use in any given month can be used for whatever else you want.

BAS is the same for all Marine Officers. The amount is $311.88/month as of 1 Sept 2023.

Note: Depending on your duty station you may rate a Cost of Living Allowance, Hazard Duty Pay, or Imminent Danger Pay. Additionally, if you are stationed or deployed to a Combat Zone Tax Exclusion (CZTE) you will only be taxed for SSI.


Now let's start with Officer Candidates School (OCS). At OCS you are paid at the pay grade of an E-5 with two or less years time-in-service. If you have dependents you may be entitled to ("rate") BAH.

After you commission to the rank of "2ndLt" your pay grade will change to O-1 (1st Officer Rank): You will rate only basic pay unless you are married/have dependents. The reason for this is because you will live in the barracks at The Basic School (TBS) while married Marines or those with dependents will be required to rent/buy off base.

After completing the 6 month Basic Officer Course (BOC) at TBS you will do a Permanent Change of Duty Station (PCS) to your job school (Military Occupational Specialty School). You will rate a dislocation allowance and then begin getting paid BAH and BAS. (Lawyers will receive one year for every year spent in law school to their Time in Service basic pay upon completion of MOS school).

After two years from commissioning you promote to 1stLt, thereby also bumping you from the "2 years and lower" bracket to the "over 2 year" mark. By just about 4-5 years time in service you will promote to Captain and PCS to another duty station (thereby rating another dislocation allowance).

Lastly, if you're married you will have the option to not take BAH and live in on-base housing.

If you have any questions about pay or financial security advancements and benefits, please reach out to Captain Chad Harper at or 917-346-5469.

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