By MyBaseGuide Staff Member
There are a lot of bonuses and ways of earning extra incentive pay in the U.S. military. Everything from signing on to high-demand jobs to quick deployment agreements can all earn you extra money in the tens and even hundreds of thousands. But did you know that being fluent in a second language can do the same thing? Foreign language proficiency pay is a great way to earn a few hundred bucks extra on each paycheck. Learn more about it below.

Read next:

$115,000 Could Be Yours With New Navy Enlistment Bonus Offerings

What Is Foreign Language Proficiency Pay?

Foreign language proficiency pay is exactly what it sounds like. Also called the foreign language proficiency bonus (FLPB), you can earn this extra money in your monthly military paycheck for being able to proficiently speak another language and being willing to use that ability to the benefit of the American military. This bonus is typically paid out monthly, but it can also be paid in a lump sum annually. FLPB pay is tax deductible unless you’re in a combat zone, in which case taxes will not be taken out. The amount you earn will differ based on a number of factors, including:
  • Your demonstrated level of proficiency with the language.
  • Your branch.
  • Where the language is listed within the DoD’s payment list.
At the bare minimum, those who demonstrate proficiency with a foreign language in the military can earn an extra $100 per month in foreign language pay. Keep in mind that pay may differ between branches based on the need for people to speak your chosen language within that branch. So, for example, Army foreign language pay may not be the same as Navy foreign language pay.

Foreign Language Proficiency Pay Language List

The DoD has a specific set of languages that are eligible for a certain amount of extra pay. Some languages are worth more than others based on their classification. Militaryrates.com has an incredibly helpful chart that outlines the monthly pay for each language category. Eligible languages are updated each year, so check in with your branch’s online pay portal to learn more. However, as tensions rise in the east, you can expect that Asian languages may get a bump up the list in 2023.

How To Earn Foreign Language Proficiency Pay

As you might expect, the first step to earning this bonus pay is to learn a second language. If you’re already here, congrats! The next step is taking a test to demonstrate your proficiency with the language. This is done via the Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT). The DLPT consists of three sections: speaking, reading, and listening. To pass the test, you must score at least a 2 in listening, a 2 in reading, and a 1 in speaking. Additionally, you’ll have to retake the test every year to continue being eligible for foreign language proficiency pay. The higher you score on the test, the higher your pay will be, as well, so it’s important to study up if you want to earn even more. The table below, published in a memo by the Department of Defense, shows just how much you can earn with higher levels of proficiency. How To Earn Foreign Language Proficiency Pay Get in touch with your CO or access more information on your branch’s pay portal to learn more.

A Unique Way To Earn More Pay

Foreign language proficiency pay won’t come easy, but nothing good ever does. For foreign language bonus pay, Army, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and other military entities are prepared to pay you handsomely for this vital skill. Choose your language wisely, and have fun learning!

Read next:

Jared Golden Is Leading the Call for an Inflation Bonus for Troops



active duty benefits

Get the latest news and military discounts