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OCS A Question about Pay and My Situation (NFO Related)

Tridon

New Member
Hey guys I've been a lurker for quite some time but today I figured I would finally post something myself. I'll start this post by saying I'm going to be frank about a lot of numbers. This is going to be a relatively lengthy post where I explain pretty much everything about my situation and ask for y'all to give your opinions or thoughts on what I should do, as well as a few specific questions regarding salary.

So I am 23 years old. I'm currently almost two months into my new job as a software engineer (specifically web development). I'm blessed to be in this situation, I'm making 60k a year in a relatively good work environment. It can be stressful at times but also incredibly boring at times. That said, I don't necessarily see this as a long term career. Right now the way I see it as a bare minimum I should keep doing this job until I've payed off my hefty 38k in student loans. I've had an eye for the Navy since high school when recruiters were calling my because of my ASVAB scores during my junior year.

Looking around and doing my research it looks like the age requirement for NFO (the primary/only officer position that interests me personally) is 27 commissioned, so 26 to not push it. I am also 240 pounds, so I have a lot to do in the physical department, but with the time my past experiences in exercise, (Cross Country in high school, and a triathlon) I believe if I put my mind to it I can do it. I have poor vision so Pilot is not a consideration for me. I have concerns with Push-ups because I had feet problems as a child and the posturing is awkward for me, but I think with a physical therapist I can work on that.

In regards to education and testing I do alright. I was a slacker in high school but ended up with a decent GPA. Unfortunately the slacker mentality kept with me through early college but I was able to eek out a 3.38 GPA for my B.S. in Computer Game Design and Development. Yes I know, it is a very unconventional degree but it is essentially a specialized computer science degree and most importantly it is accredited. Testing has never been incredibly hard for me (except for those upper level Math/CS courses, good lord) and the most relevant example would be the ASVAB. I didn't actually know that we were taking it that day but I ended up get a 96%, hence the contact from the recruiters. That said that was over 6-7 years ago now and I know its very different ASTB-E that I would be taking if I chose to apply for OCS. I feel like if I study extensively though I could do relatively well, honestly in regards to OCS I'm more concerned with the physical part than the academic.

My main question is, how long would it take for me to realistically get back to the pay I'm currently getting (60k) if I do end up joining after I pay off my loans. Obviously in the end its not about money but I feel it is prudent to at least factor it in. Looking at the pay chart an O-1 starts at 37k a year (3.1k a month) and an O-3 with over 4 years serving is 69k. From what I've gathered if you don't screw anything up by the end of your first 6 years (8 including schooling) you have a good chance to be O-3. While I know those numbers I understand its a bit more complicated that that. Apparently hazard pay is a thing, as well as there might be a difference on how your salary is taxed if you're in a combat zone? I'm also single so I don't have any dependents. Any clarifications would be appreciated.

Another question is signing bonuses, from my investigations that looks to be primarily an enlisted only thing? Is there any benefit/boon I would get from being in a vocation before I join? What about bonuses to stay on once my first stint is up, I heard pilot's might get big offers but is that the same for NFOs?

Also to wrap up how much of a hindrance do you think my unconventional degree will be in terms of applying for OCS? And in regards to not having a masters, will that hurt me if I want to aim for higher than O-4? I've seen some talk on here like that. If you've read all the way to the end thanks and I look forward to your replies.
 

Tridon

New Member
On a side note I have also been writing a novel for the last eight years which I am finishing up with the help of someone close who is helping me edit it. I hope to self publish in the near future but realistically don't think it will generate much income, it's more of a personal achievement I'm working towards.
 

browntown

Member
The new Program Authorization changes the maximum age for SNA and NFO to 32 (i.e. commission OCS by your 32nd birthday, so you need to be selected substantially earlier than that). So you have quite a bit of time. That said, who knows if that will change at some point, so it's probably best to apply as soon as you can.

Be sure to take BAH pay into account (non-taxable), or if you plan on living on-base, factor in the value of free housing when doing your comparisons. You'll also get flight pay, although I believe it's only something like $150 a month until a few years into your career.

Since student loans are your main concern, do some research into student loan forgiveness. I believe that if you're on active duty the entire time and make 120 consecutive qualifying payments (which includes income-based repayment plans) on an eligible loan (I think it has to be a Direct loan), you can have the remaining balance forgiven. You'd almost certainly have to stay in the Navy a little beyond your initial service commitment since that's 10 years of payments, but it might be worth it.

Also keep in mind the value of Tricare, especially if you're planning on starting a family at some point. Private health insurance premiums and deductibles tend to be pretty pricey.

I don't think there are any aviation-related signup bonuses for commissioned officers. Just for those staying in past their initial commitment.
 

Tridon

New Member
The new Program Authorization changes the maximum age for SNA and NFO to 32 (i.e. commission OCS by your 32nd birthday, so you need to be selected substantially earlier than that). So you have quite a bit of time. That said, who knows if that will change at some point, so it's probably best to apply as soon as you can.

Be sure to take BAH pay into account (non-taxable), or if you plan on living on-base, factor in the value of free housing when doing your comparisons. You'll also get flight pay, although I believe it's only something like $150 a month until a few years into your career.

Since student loans are your main concern, do some research into student loan forgiveness. I believe that if you're on active duty the entire time and make 120 consecutive qualifying payments (which includes income-based repayment plans) on an eligible loan (I think it has to be a Direct loan), you can have the remaining balance forgiven. You'd almost certainly have to stay in the Navy a little beyond your initial service commitment since that's 10 years of payments, but it might be worth it.

Also keep in mind the value of Tricare, especially if you're planning on starting a family at some point. Private health insurance premiums and deductibles tend to be pretty pricey.

I don't think there are any aviation-related signup bonuses for commissioned officers. Just for those staying in past their initial commitment.
Thanks for the reply. Ideally I would like to start a family, but that kind of depends on finding someone to start one with, so that's an unknown. Good point on BAH by the way. On that note, I presume you don't get BAH on deployment if you have no dependents? Ideally I would like to pay off my loans quicker than then, but that's always an option.
 

squorch2

he will die without safety brief
pilot
Don't join the military for pay. or benefits Lots better places for that.

Actually, if you want to serve to get the 9/11 GI Bill and get out at your first opportunity, more power to you.
 

Mos

Well-Known Member
None
Thanks for the reply. Ideally I would like to start a family, but that kind of depends on finding someone to start one with, so that's an unknown. Good point on BAH by the way. On that note, I presume you don't get BAH on deployment if you have no dependents? Ideally I would like to pay off my loans quicker than then, but that's always an option.
Generally, you do get BAH on deployment regardless of marital status.
 

Tridon

New Member
Don't join the military for pay. or benefits Lots better places for that.

Actually, if you want to serve to get the 9/11 GI Bill and get out at your first opportunity, more power to you.
For sure, if I wasn't clear enough I totally agree with that sentiment. That said I think it's wise to at least view and analyze everything from a realistic perspective, and when talking about life choices salary is at least one consideration that should be factored in, especially since I'm currently employed.
 

Tridon

New Member
Generally, you do get BAH on deployment regardless of marital status.
Sorry I'm a bit confused by that. If BAH is Base Allowance for Housing, do you have to qualify for it based on your situation? For example, if it is something you get while on deployment, does that mean if I am on a carrier that is deployed that I wouldn't get BAH because my 'housing' is provided for? I'm just trying to make sure I understand fully how it works.
 

Bergers2short

Well-Known Member
None
If BAH is Base Allowance for Housing, do you have to qualify for it based on your situation? For example, if it is something you get while on deployment, does that mean if I am on a carrier that is deployed that I wouldn't get BAH because my 'housing' is provided for? I
If you have a lease, you'll keep your BAH throughout deployment. The Navy doesn't expect every single sailor to move their belongings into storage prior to every deployment.
 

Gatordev

Well-Known Member
pilot
Site Admin
Contributor
Sorry I'm a bit confused by that. If BAH is Base Allowance for Housing, do you have to qualify for it based on your situation? For example, if it is something you get while on deployment, does that mean if I am on a carrier that is deployed that I wouldn't get BAH because my 'housing' is provided for? I'm just trying to make sure I understand fully how it works.
No. As an officer, the only time you won't receive BAH is if you're living on base in base housing (and even then, sometimes you get it, but it goes straight to the base). Your BAH will change based off of zip code (of the base), rank, and if you have dependents.
 

squorch2

he will die without safety brief
pilot
For sure, if I wasn't clear enough I totally agree with that sentiment. That said I think it's wise to at least view and analyze everything from a realistic perspective, and when talking about life choices salary is at least one consideration that should be factored in, especially since I'm currently employed.
I... struggle with your explanation, as money seems to be a big part of your line of questioning.

To be sure, you will take a pay cut. Your lifetime earnings will likely be lower. Not sure if that's what you're driving at.
 

Tridon

New Member
I... struggle with your explanation, as money seems to be a big part of your line of questioning.

To be sure, you will take a pay cut. Your lifetime earnings will likely be lower. Not sure if that's what you're driving at.
Money is a big part of my questioning because that is one of the main things I was unsure about how it would look. Reading through the forms I have a good understanding of what the physical and academic requirements will be. Having a clear vision of what the change would look like helps me think through it.
 

Bergers2short

Well-Known Member
None
Regarding the $38k student loan debt, research the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to see whether you'd save a substantial amount of $ by lowering your interest rate while AD. If getting rid of that debt is your priority, the SCRA might have a big impact on your decision, depending on how the math works out for your payment & income situation.
 

Tridon

New Member
Regarding the $38k student loan debt, research the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to see whether you'd save a substantial amount of $ by lowering your interest rate while AD. If getting rid of that debt is your priority, the SCRA might have a big impact on your decision, depending on how the math works out for your payment & income situation.
Fair enough, I'll look into that. Thanks for the info.
 
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