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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 start on around £13,400
  • Qualified privates (after training) can earn between £17,000 and £28,000
  • Non-graduate officer cadets start on around £15,300 a year
  • Graduate officer cadets earn around £24,100
  • Higher ranks' salaries (from Captain to Brigadier) range from £37,200 and £98,900

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 £13,400 while training, rising to £16,700 afterwards
  • Senior aircraftmen and women earn up to £28,400 a year, depending on their trade
  • Corporals and sergeants earn up to £36,200
  • New pilot officers earn around £24,100 a year
  • Flight lieutenants earn up to £44,200 a year
  • Squadron leaders earn up to around £56,000 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 around £13,900 a year
  • Once qualified, Able ratings may earn up to around £28,900 a year
  • Warrant Officers can earn up to around £46,700 a year
  • A captain can earn up to around £89,400.
  • 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

  • Salaries for qualified paramedics start at £21,200 a year
  • An experienced paramedic can earn up to £27,500 or, with additional training and responsibilities, up to £34,200

Additional allowances depend on location, types of shift, etc

Fire and Rescue Service

  • Whole-time firefighters earn from around £21,100 to £28,200 a year
  • Crew managers earn up to around £31,200
  • Station managers earn up to around £40,100
  • Retained firefighters are paid an annual fee (a retainer) of around £2,500 a year, plus a turn-out fee for each emergency attended. They are also paid for training sessions and for duties such as equipment maintenance.


  • The starting salary is from around £20,000 to £23,000 a year
  • With experience, earnings can reach around £36,000
  • Sergeants earn around £40,000, while inspectors can earn £50,000 or more

Pay rates vary between police forces. Officers in some forces receive extra allowances

Prison Service

  • New prison officers start on around £18,000 a year
  • Experienced prison officers may earn up to £28,900

Close Protection Officers

  • Daily rates for CPOs in low risk areas are usually between £100 and £150, plus expenses. With high levels of responsibility, CPOs may earn up to £500 per day

Security Officers/Managers

  • Starting salaries can be between £12,000 to  £15,000 a year
  • Experienced officers can earn around £20,000 a year, and managers more


Salary figures (Nov 2011) are mostly taken from the Next Step website, and are for guidance only because pay can depend on various factors, including location, qualifications and experience.