7 Benefits Of Joining The Marine Corps - Operation Military Kids (2023)

When most people think of the Marines, they think one thing: killers.

While it is true that the Marines are the most lethal of all of the military branches, what most don’t realize is that there are some really good benefits to joining.

The purpose of this article is to discuss some of the benefits that are not often talked about when thinking about joining the Marines.

These benefits will not only help for your transition to the military world but in some cases can even help your spouse or loved ones.

Here are 7 of the best benefits of joining the Marine Corps:

#7: Housing

While Marine barracks aren’t exactly the Plaza Hotel in NYC, there’s one thing about them that separates them from the competition: they’re free.

7 Benefits Of Joining The Marine Corps - Operation Military Kids (1)

You can live and work on any of the dozens of Marine Corps bases in the US completely rent-free.

What most people don’t realize is, not all Marines live in barracks.

If approved, you can actually live off base in an apartment, condo, or home.

The US Military offers subsidized housing to all branches of the military, the US Marines included.

It’s called the Basic Allowance Housing, or BAH, and it’s essentially a “bonus” on top of your regular pay.

How much you’ll receive is based on 3 factors:

  • Geographic Duty Location
  • Pay Grade (IE Rank)
  • Dependency Status

Obviously certain parts of the country are way more expensive than others.

For example, if you were stationed in Honolulu, Hawaii, the monthly allowance for a Corporal (E-4) is $2,139 without dependents, and $2,850 with dependents.

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However, if you were based in Camp Lejune in North Carolina, that number drops to $996 without dependents and $1,146 with dependents.

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You can determine exactly how much you’ll get with the Department of Defense BAH calculator here.

The goal of the BAH is to make it so you literally live rent-free, and is one of the biggest benefits to joining the Marines.

#6: GI Bill

We get it, college can be expensive. In fact, the average public four-year tuition for out of state students rose to $23,890 per year in 2017. (Source)

There are literally millions of college students graduating every year with a degree in one hand, and a massive student loan debt in the other.

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That’s where the GI Bill comes in.

Originally introduced as the 1944 Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, the GI Bill is an educational benefit offered to members of the military that are serving in an Active Duty, Reserve, or National Guard role.

Without getting too much into the specifics, the GI Bill is designed to help you pay a good chunk of your college or trade school tuition.

Related Article: 17 Scholarships For Military Children, Spouses, and Veterans

Your recruiter will have way more details than what I can provide you here, but with the GI Bill, you will essentially graduate college relatively debt-free.

#5: Benefits For Your Spouse

An often overlooked benefit of serving in the Marine Corps is your spouse.

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While most Marines enter the service without a spouse, it’s a fact that a good portion of Marines will end up with a family sometime during their career.

Some of the benefits afforded to Marine spouses include things like:

  • Military Spouse Preference Program (MSP): This program essentially gives military spouses head of the line privileges when applying for Department of Defense civilian job opportunities. Keep in mind that it only applies to spouses of active-duty service-members, sorry reservists!
  • Added GI Bill benefits: Some Marines simply don’t want to go to college for one reason or another. What’s nice about the GI bill is that you can actually transfer it to your spouse and/or children.
  • Small business loans: As part of the Patriot Express Pilot loan, military spouses are eligible for loans of up to $500,000 to start a new business.
  • Military discounts: As a spouse, you can be entitled to all sorts of discounts at a wide variety of retail stores.
  • Recreation benefits: Since you’ll have an official military ID issued to you, you’ll be able to enjoy most of the same perks that active-duty personnel are afforded. These include access to on-base recreation facilities like gyms, pools, tennis courts, and much more.
  • Childcare services: Some of the larger Marine bases in the US offer childcare / babysitting services for a small nominal fee.

While having a spouse that’s serving in the military can be difficult, the Marines do all they can to help with your overall quality of life.

Related Article10 Benefits Of Being A Military Wife (and 5 not-so good things)

Some of these benefits transfer over to your immediate family as well, like your parents for instance.

#4: Kick-A$$ Uniforms

There are no two ways about it, the Marine’s uniforms are just bad-ass.

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Just walking around town in your dress blues will get you noticed, and it’s widely known that the Marines have some of the coolest uniforms out of all of the branches of the military.

In the Marines, you’ll actually be issued three types of uniforms:

  • Field: These include combat utility, flight suit, and mountain warfare, with the most common one being the combat utility. These are basically the cool looking camo uniforms you see Marines wearing.
  • Dress: These are the types of uniforms Marines wear to social functions, parades, and ceremonies. They include the blue coat with sky blue trousers and slacks that you’re so accustomed to seeing Marine recruiters wearing.
  • Service: Service uniforms are another type of uniform that are used for social events and parades, and are identified by their unique khaki shirts with green trousers and slacks.

In addition, you’ll also receive all of the other basics like socks, shorts, PT gear, boots, and more.

While the uniforms alone shouldn’t be your #1 reason for signing up for the Marine Corps, it certainly can help make your decision a bit easier!

#3: Healthcare And Insurance

Like college, healthcare in the United States is very expensive.

According to CNBC, the average healthcare premium costs around $321 per month for an individual, and $833 a month for family plans.

On top of that, the average annual deductible for individual plans is $4,358, and $7,983 for family plans.

For a family with an average annual income of $59,039, these costs can quickly add up.

Do you know how much healthcare costs while you’re serving in the Marines?


That’s right, you won’t pay a dime.

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All US Marines (and service members in general) are provided with free comprehensive medical care.

It’s also worth noting that most military doctors are highly trained, and experts in their field.

So you know you’ll be getting quality medical care.

Related ArticleMilitary OneSource: Your Go-To Guide

In addition, you’ll also be provided with heavily-subsidized dental care, should you choose to use it.

These benefits also transfer to your immediate family as well (IE your spouse and children), under the Tricare program.

#2: Pay

While you won’t get rich serving in the Marine Corps, you certainly won’t be left out on the street either.

The pay in the military is the same for every branch (including the Marine Corps), and is dictated by your rank and length of service.

For a private who is literally just entering boot camp (E-1), you can expect to take home $1,680 a month.

See the Marines Pay scale for E-1 through E-5 2019 rates below:

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While this may not sound like a lot, you have to consider all of the other benefits that we discussed above that you will save money on.

Things like:

  • Free / subsidized housing
  • Free medical
  • Subsidized food
  • Access to gym equipment
  • Ancillary benefits

These are things that you normally would have to pay for, all provided nearly free of charge.

#1: Retirement

While most guys and gals enlisting in the Marines don’t think about turning it into a career, it’s certainly a good idea to consider it.

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The way it works in the Marines is like this:

You serve on active duty for 20 years, and if you decide to retire on the day after 20 years, you will receive a monthly check for the rest of your life.

Obviously the pay is contingent on a wide variety of factors, including:

  • Exactly how long you served
  • What rank you achieved
  • Whether or not you served in an active-duty or reserve capacity
  • Several other factors

For example, a Marine that served for 30 years and retired as a Gunnery Sergeant (E-7) could expect to receive over $4,000 a month.

Related Article: 15 Best States For Military Retirees And Veterans

Keep in mind that this pay does increase year over year to adjust for inflation.

So while it might be $4,000 a month now, 10 years from now it could be way higher.

But the bottom line is this: If you served in the Marine Corps for 20 years, you will be provided with a guaranteed check every month for the rest of your life.

Not a bad deal if you ask me!

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Jeff E.

Jeff served with the Marine Corps Reserves as an Infantryman with Kilo Co. 3rd Battalion 23rd Marines from 1997 to 2003. 3/23 was deployed to Iraq in 2003 and served primarily in the Wasit Province of Iraq. Since exiting, Jeffhas served as a non-profit manager in the area of foster care and adoption.

Latest posts by Jeff E. (see all)

  • USMC Cryptologic Linguist (MOS 2671-2676): 2022 Career Details - March 20, 2022
  • 10 Best Marine Corps Jobs For Civilian Life In 2022 - March 20, 2022
  • Marine Corps Boot Camp Schedule - November 20, 2020

General FAQ

What are the benefits of being in the Marines?

The U.S. military offers a competitive salary, military housing or housing allowance, food allowance, free uniforms, medical care for you and your family, educational benefits, retirement plans, and affordable life insurance.

What does a Marine get paid?

Like all branches of the U.S. military, Marines are paid according to rank and time in service. Currently, a new recruit with the rank of E-1 and less than two years in service receives a base pay of $1,680 per month.

Do Marines get free flights?

Marines and their family members can utilize Space-A (space available) flights for little to no cost. While the flights are usually free, they may be subject to taxes or fees.

Do Marines pay taxes?

Military members are taxed on base pay unless they’re an enlisted member or warrant officer serving in a combat zone. For officers, the taxable amount is capped. Allowances, such as housing, food, and family separation pay are non-taxable?

How many vacation days to Marines get?

Marines, and other service members, get 30 days of "leave" (paid vacation) per year. It accumulates at a rate of 2.5 days per month. Overage can be sold back at the time of reenlistment, separation, or retirement.

Related Articles You Might Be Interested In:

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What are the benefits of joining the USMC? ›

WHAT BENEFITS DO ENLISTED MARINES RECEIVE? The Marine Corps provides a full benefits package, including salary, medical, housing, vacation, and other standard benefits. In addition, every Marine acquires invaluable leadership skills and also receives the honor of being called a United States Marine.

What are benefits of joining the military? ›

Take charge of your present and future
  • Enlistment bonuses of up to $50K.
  • High quality, low or no cost health care.
  • Better rates on home loans.
  • Retirement and pension plan options.

What are the benefits of doing 20 years in the Marines? ›

After 20 years of active-duty service in the Marine Corps, Marines earn retirement benefits and a pension, which enables retirement at an earlier age than what is offered through most civilian opportunities.

What are the benefits of the Marine Corps Reserve? ›

The reserves has many benefits, including, being stationed near home or school, guaranteed military occupational specialty at the time of enlistment, advanced MOS training and leadership opportunities, the same recruit training and formal schools as active-duty Marines, and even educational financial assistance.

What is special about Marine Corps? ›

Marines are trained to improvise, adapt, and overcome all obstacles in all situations. They possess the willingness and the determination to fight and to keep fighting until victory is assured. Watch how Marines make critical decisions at a moment's notice.

What is the importance of the Marine Corps? ›

The Marine Corps plays a major role as the first force on the ground in most conflicts. Today, Marines are stationed around the world at all times, ready to deploy quickly whenever and wherever needed. Total service commitment ranges from four to six years.

What are 4 benefits of joining the military? ›

Intangible qualities like leadership, comraderie, discipline and determination are perhaps the most rewarding of all military benefits. Still, it's nice to know that service in the Military comes with tangible benefits too, including education, medical/dental care, 30 days of paid vacation, travel discounts and more.

What are 4 benefits of the military? ›

Military pay and benefits
  • Military pay. Learn about active duty pay and get pay charts for active duty and reserve members.
  • Military retirement benefits. If you retire from a career in the military, you may be eligible for a pension. ...
  • Military tuition assistance. ...
  • Veterans burial and survivor benefits. ...
  • Veterans health.

What branch has the best benefits? ›

The Marines, Coast Guard, and Space Force are the branches of the military that have the best benefits. They also are the branches of the military that have the best pay. Nearly all branches of the military pay new recruits relatively the same pay ranges and benefits plans.

What do Marines do after 4 years? ›

To put your life on the line to protect your family, friends, country and core against all enemies. You spend 4 Years in the military the last four you are on call as a reservist. This means that the Marine Corps can utilize the Marine for a total of 8 years on active duty based on the needs of the Marine Corps.

How much do Marines get paid? ›

While ZipRecruiter is seeing annual salaries as high as $122,000 and as low as $12,000, the majority of salaries within the Marine Corps jobs category currently range between $38,500 (25th percentile) to $80,000 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $104,000 annually across the United States.

What are the top 3 benefits of marine reserves? ›

Benefits of marine protected areas
  • Protection of biodiversity and increased productivity.
  • Increased resilience and maintenance of ecosystem services.
  • Benchmarking of environmental health.
  • Fisheries spill-over.
  • Protection of geological features or processes.
  • Protection of cultural values.
Feb 8, 2018

Do Marines get free housing? ›

Generally, housing is provided for all active duty service members, whether they're living on or off base. There may be exceptions to this rule, which you can discuss with a recruiter.

How many Marines are there? ›

As of 2022, the USMC has around 177,200 active duty members and some 32,400 personnel in reserve.
United States Marine Corps
RoleAmphibious warfare Expeditionary warfare
30 more rows

What are 3 interesting facts about the Marines? ›

7 Things You May Not Know About the U.S. Marine Corps
  • According to legend, the first Marine Corps recruitments took place in a bar. ...
  • The Marines' first battle took place in the Bahamas. ...
  • The Marine Band is nicknamed “The President's Own.” ...
  • The Marines first won fame for fighting pirates.
Nov 10, 2015

What are 2 facts about the Marine Corps? ›

The Marine Corps was founded even before America won her independence. In 1775, the Second Continental Congress created two battalions of Continental Marines to serve on land and at sea. Their first amphibious raid took place less than a year later in the Bahamas.

Is military benefits for life? ›

Military Health Care Benefits

Veterans Health Care through the VA never expires. Combat Veterans Health Care provides combat Veterans with free healthcare, related to any service in a war during any period of hostility after Nov.

Why do students join the military? ›

There are many reasons to join the military, including pay, benefits, education, training, travel, high-paying jobs, health care, and more. But it's not for everyone.

What are the benefits of 20 years in the military? ›

Defined Benefit: Monthly retired pay for life after at least 20 years of service (so if you retire at 20 years of service, you will get 40% of your highest 36 months of base pay). Retired pay will be calculated as follows: (Years of creditable service x 2.0%) x average of highest 36 months basic pay.

Are there any benefits to working in the military? ›

Generous health care, paid vacation, retirement savings plans and more — these are just some of the benefits of life in today's Military.

Which military branch is the safest? ›

The primary mission of the Coast Guard is to protect domestic waterways. What is the safest military branch? The Space Force is the safest military branch in terms of man-to-man combat and machine-to-machine accidents.

Which military pays the most? ›

Highest-paying Military Career Jobs
  • Air Crew Officers. ...
  • Aircraft Launch and Recovery Officers. ...
  • Armored Assault Vehicle Officers. ...
  • Artillery and Missile Officers. ...
  • Command and Control Center Officers. ...
  • Infantry Officers. ...
  • Special Forces Officers. ...
  • Military Officer Special and Tactical Operations Leaders.

Which military branch is the hardest? ›

There's a great argument that the Marine Corps has the hardest military training of anyone, and here's why. Of course, when you reach the top, you can find them becoming SEALs or a part of the Marine Raider Regiment (MRR), but the training of any Marine is some of the hardest military training in the world.

Does the Army or Marines have better benefits? ›

If you're considering a military career, you might wonder which military service – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard or Space Force – has the best pay and benefits. At a basic pay level, the answer is simple. The military pays the same regardless of branch, according to your pay grade and years of service.

Can you quit the Marines? ›

As long as you're in the entry level period -- your first 180 days -- you can request an entry level separation. If you succeed, you'll get an uncharacterized discharge. This rule exists so the UMSC can drop enlistees who don't work out. However, you can turn the ELS rules to your own advantage.

Do Marines get free food? ›

Pay and Benefits for Marines

Marines are eligible to receive the following benefits: Military housing or a housing allowance. Food allowance.

How long do Marines stay away? ›

Marines receive one day of travel and ten days of leave after recruit training graduation before attending the School of Infantry (SOI). Marines participating in the Recruiter Assistance program will receive up to thirty days of leave before attending the SOI.

Do Marines pay taxes? ›

While all pays are taxable, most allowances are tax-exempt. The primary allowances for most individuals are BAS and BAH, which are tax-exempt. Conus COLA is one allowance that is taxable.

Do Marines get paid more if married? ›

There is no military spouse pay or stipend, but the military offers a number of benefits to help service members and their families. Your first stop after the wedding should be the nearest military ID card issuing facility to enroll in DEERS, the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System.

Who pays more Marines or Army? ›

The Army and the Marine Corps have the same pay. All of the branches of the U.S. military use the same pay structure based on years of service and pay grade.

What is the max age for marine reserves? ›

To become a Marine Corps reservist, an individual must be between 18 and 28 years old (17 with parental consent) and have a high school diploma.

Do marine reserves make money? ›

Similar to active-duty Marines, Reservists get paid twice a month. Pay periods extend from the 1st to the 15th and the 16th to the 31st. Depending on when the drill takes place, this means they could get one paycheck with a $0 balance and one that pays them for an entire training weekend.

Do Marines get to fly for free? ›

For members of the U.S. military, one of the coolest perks comes in the form of Space-A travel. If you can find room and need to travel, you can catch a free ride aboard a military aircraft… terms and conditions will apply.

Why do Marines end up homeless? ›

The risk factors that are most common among this population are substance abuse disorders and poor mental health, followed by low income and other income related issues, a lack of support from family and friends, or weak social networks.

Can my girlfriend live on base with me? ›

Soldiers' spouses and dependents can live on-base with them in family housing. Parents, extended family, and friends cannot live on base but are welcome to visit.

Who gets deployed first in war? ›

The Marine Corps is often first on the ground in combat situations.

What do Marines call each other? ›

terms were meant as insults to Marines, but the Corps and its members embraced them. Three such words are “gyrenes,” “jarheads,” and “grunts.” Their times of origin and usage differ somewhat, but each has the same role in the Marine Corps culture. They have become a source of pride for all Marines.

What do you call a former Marine? ›

"Veteran marine" or "Prior service Marine" can refer to anyone who has been discharged honorably from the Corps. "Retired marine" refers to those who have completed 20 or more years of service and formally retired or have been medically retired after less than 20 years service.

What happens after 4 years in the Marines? ›

To put your life on the line to protect your family, friends, country and core against all enemies. You spend 4 Years in the military the last four you are on call as a reservist. This means that the Marine Corps can utilize the Marine for a total of 8 years on active duty based on the needs of the Marine Corps.

Do you get a bonus for joining the Marines? ›

Recruits can qualify for a Marine enlistment bonus by enlisting and shipping out within a specified timeframe. The sign-on bonus is $1,000. Signing an extended service contract can also qualify for a bonus. A six-year enlistment in the infantry corps offers a $5,000 bonus, for example.

Do you get money for joining the Marines? ›

Besides your basic Marine active-duty pay, you can also earn allowances for basic needs such as food and housing. The Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) offsets the cost of your meals. The BAS is $372.31 per month for enlisted members and $256.68 per month for officers.

How much does a Marine make a month? ›

As of Apr 26, 2023, the average monthly pay for a Marine in the United States is $2,333 a month. While ZipRecruiter is seeing monthly salaries as high as $5,042 and as low as $917, the majority of Marine salaries currently range between $1,583 (25th percentile) to $2,625 (75th percentile) across the United States.

Do Marines still get paid after 4 years? ›

For example, pay increase benefits you get after four years in the Marines, put you at about $2,787 per month at the rank of E-4, compared to $2,394 to $2,653 for less time in service at the same rank, according to 2022 pay tables.

How fast do Marines run 3 miles? ›

Males must complete the three-mile run in 28 minutes or less. Females must complete the three-mile run in 31 minutes or less.

What dates do Marines get paid? ›

Military members get paid twice a month, on the 1st and the 15th, unless those days fall on weekend a holiday.

Do Marines get extra pay for deployment? ›

When service members deploy, they receive additional pays and allowances based on their deployment location, length of deployment, and whether they have a family. Special and Incentive pays include: Family Separation Allowance (FSA) is paid during extended periods of family separation.

How much money does the Marines give you? ›

Marine Corps Enlisted Pay Rates
Pay GradeRankMonthly Pay
E-2Private First Class$2,054.70
E-3Lance Corporal$2,160.60
Aug 12, 2022

How often do Marines get to come home? ›

Some units will get a 72 or 96-hour off-duty time to spend with their family. After the initial 72-96 hours off, most units will remain on duty at the base for about 2 weeks. Those two weeks will include working hours as well as briefs for transitioning out of a combat zone back into the US.

Do you get paid in bootcamp? ›

Yes, you do get paid in Basic Training on the first and fifteenth of every month. The amount depends on your rank. See salaries by rank on the Money & Pay page. You're welcome to send money home via cash or check.

Who pays more Marines or navy? ›

Conclusion. Which military branch pays the most? The United States Air Force, Navy, Army, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Space Force are all equal in terms of basic pay. The basic military pay you earn is determined by military rank and years of service.


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