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Navy Reserve Sailor in flight gear.

Navy Reserve Sailors enjoy the flexibility of a role in the Reserve, serving in a way that suits their lifestyle, and allows them to grow professionally. Despite being a part-time commitment, the Navy offers Reserve Sailors an abundance of benefits that rival many full-time positions in the civilian world.

How Much Can You Make in the Navy Reserve?

Navy Reserve pay is known as “drill pay,” which is based on a prorated amount of pay and allowances received while serving on Active Duty. It is typically equal to 1/30th of the basic pay prescribed for a Sailor’s grade and years of service. Grades (E-1 to E-9 for Enlisted and O-1 to O-10 for Officer) indicate how status equates across the uniformed services.

Upon joining the Navy Reserves after completing Active Duty, a servicemember’s Navy Reserve pay is typically in the same pay grade he or she previously held. If Reserve Sailors transition to Active Duty, they are paid four days of active pay for just two days of work.


*If you're a Navy Reserve Sailor, you will receive four days of base pay for every two days of weekend drilling as well as full Active Duty pay during Annual Training. You will also be compensated for any additional days you choose to serve.

Download Active Duty and Reserve pay charts here.


Navy Reserve Benefits

Financial Benefits

With compensation for drill weekends and base pay for Annual Training (AT) two weeks per year, Navy Reserve Sailors earn as they serve. A Navy Reserve bonus and other financial incentives are also given for critical rates and Navy Enlisted Classifications (NECs). 

In addition to income, Navy Reserve Sailors can plan for retirement through participation in the tax-deferred Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). They can also ensure their family’s well-being through Service Member’s Life Insurance (SLGI) policy of $500,000 for just $29/month, $100,000 for spouses and $10,000 for each child.

Health Insurance Benefits

The high cost of healthcare is a burden for families across the country. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, paying into an employer-provided healthcare plan costs families $22,000 per year on average. Through Tricare Reserve Select, the Navy offers premium-based coverage available worldwide with the ability to see military, network and out-of-network providers, for less than $3,000 annually. The Navy also offers access to the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program. See comparative costs below:

Healthcare Estimated Monthly Costs:

  • Navy TRICARE Reserve Select Costs:
    • Individual: $48.97
    • Family: $239.69
  • Civilian Affordable Care Act Plans:
    • Individual: $212.00
    • Family: $1,000.00

Education Benefits

With the cost of higher education rising each year, many Reserve Sailors are interested in the abundant education benefits the Navy Reserve offers. Through Tuition Assistance, Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) and the Post-9/11 or Montgomery GI Bill, Navy Reserve Sailors have the opportunity to further their education while serving their country.

Sailors who agree to serve 6 years as a Reserve Sailor are guaranteed a free education benefit through MBIB-SR. Reserve Sailors are also eligible to transfer their Post-9/11 GI Bill to their dependents while serving in the Reserve; this will incur a 4-year drilling obligation.

Further education opportunities are also available through the US Naval War College and Senior Enlisted Academy.

The Navy Credentialing Opportunities Online (COOL) program also allows servicemembers to find information on desirable certifications and licenses related to both military occupations and civilian careers. These programs also provide funding for exams and maintenance fees, so you can pursue your passion without worrying about costs.

Get in contact if the Navy Reserve feels like the next step in your career.