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Armed Forces, Emergency and Security Services




A soldier's pay is determined by rank, length of service and the band of pay a particular job commands. Lower band pay applies to most jobs that exist at private soldier level. Examples of higher pay band jobs include combat engineer, chef, mechanic and registered general nurse.

  • New entrants (aged 16 - 33) earn £14,286.
  • Privates can earn between £17689 and £26,668.
  • Sergeants' pay can range from £30,012 to £37,298.
  • Non-graduate officer cadets start on £15,981 a year.
  • Graduate officer cadets start around £29,882.
  • Higher ranks' salaries (from Captain to Brigadier) range between £48,450 and £101,963.

The Army provides accommodation for both single and married officers, soldiers and their dependants, many kinds of leave (absence from working as a soldier), and free medical and dental care are provided by the army.

Royal Air Force

  • Airmen and women earn around £14,348 - £17,767.
  • Senior aircraftmen and women earn up to £29,357 a year, depending on their trade.
  • Those promoted to corporal earn up to £33,660, and sergeants up to £37,461.
  • New Pilot officers earn £24130 a year.
  • Flight lieutenants earn around £39,493 a year.
  • Squadron leaders start around £49,646 a year.

RAF personnel are eligible for bonuses after four years, which may require committing to a further minimum period of service. Those living on base receive subsidised food and accommodation.

The Royal Navy

  • Royal Navy ratings enter the service on a salary of £13,895 a year.
  • Once qualified, able ratings may earn between £17,265 and £28,939 a year.
  • Warrant Officers can earn up to £46,753 a year.
  • A lieutenant earns between £37,916 and £45,090.
  • Commanders earn between £67,031 and £77,617 a year.
  • A captain earns between £79,716 and £89,408.

Some officers with specialist skills and qualifications are paid extra, as are some on special service, for example in submarines. Living costs are heavily subsidised ashore and are free at sea.

Ambulance Service

  • Emergency Medical dispatchers can earn between £14,294 and £17,425 a year.
  • Ambulance Services driveer can earn between £16,271 and £19,268 a year.
  • Ambulance Practitioners can earn between £21,388 and £27,901 a year.
  • An experienced paramedic can earn between £27,500 and £34,530 a year .
  • Emergency Services area manager can earn between £30,764 and £40,558 a year.

Paramedics working in and around London may earn more.

Fire and Rescue Service

  • Whole-time firefighters earn at least £21,369 a year on entry, rising to £28,481 a year.
  • Crew managers earn between £30,271 and £31,576.
  • Station managers earn between £36,729 and £40,510.
  • Retained firefighters are generally paid an annual fee (a retainer) of around £2,848 plus a turn-out fee for each emergency attended. They are also paid for training sessions and for duties such as equipment maintenance.


  • Starting salaries for Police Officers with no policing qualification is £19,000 a year.
  • After several years' service, earnings can reach around £36,500.
  • Sergeants earn around £40,000, while officers who reach the rank of Inspector earn around £50,000.

Pay rates vary between police forces. Officers in some forces receive extra allowances. For details contact your chosen police force.

Prison Service

  • New prison officers earn at least £18,500 a year.
  • Experienced prison officers may earn up to £31,000 a year.

Close Protection Officers

  • Many are self-employed and daily rates for CPOs in low risk areas are usually between £100 and £150, plus expenses.
  • An established CPO may earn between £24,000 and £30,000.
  • Experienced CPOs in high-risk areas can earn around £1000 a day.

Security Officers

  • Starting salaries can be between £15,000 to £20,000 a year. Rates tend to be higher in London.
  • Experienced security officers may earn about £45,000 a year.