Another thread on private vs. public sector pay got me thinking on this. I often wonder how my financial situation would be different if I had stayed in the military vs. having left and become a teacher. I always thought my pay was comparable to what officers made. Boy was I wrong. In my California school district, I make about $5000 a year less than an E-6 with the same number of years. And to be an E-6 with 18 years is no great feat. If you want to see how much you would make as a military enlisted person, first look up your base salary here. Determine your "rank" as follows: Less than 6 months = E-1 6 months to a year = E-2 A year to three years = E-3 Three to six years = E-4 Six to 10 years = E-5 10 to 18 years = E-6 18+ years = E-7 To determine your TAX FREE housing allowance, go here. This is the money they give you if you are authorized to live off base. If they do not give you this, they provide housing. That means a room in the barracks if you are single or a house or apartment on base if you are married. Most married servicemembers are authorized to live off base. Enter your "rank" and zip code. I'd suggest using the "with dependents" rate. Finally, add $323.87 to all of this. That's your food allowance. Everyone in the military gets either that or a meal card. I was single the whole time I was in and I always got this because I had a very weird work schedule. In my district, a new teacher gets paid the same as a married E-1 at Travis AFB. E-1 is a new recruit with no stripes. The difference is that the E-1 gets promoted to E-2 after six months. At that point, he or she makes as much as a fully credentialed teacher with four years service!