How Much Does The Sas Get Paid?

The Special Air Service (SAS), a top group in the UK Army, gives its members money based on their skills and job level. They can earn from less than £25,000 to about £80,000 each year. This is more than the £13,000 that other soldiers start with. SAS members can also get extra money and benefits. In New Zealand, they can get from $80,000 to $140,000 a year when you add up their pay and benefits. But these numbers can change.

What are The Factors Influencing SAS Pay?

What are The Factors Influencing SAS Pay

The pay of Special Air Service (SAS) members depends on their skills and job level. It can also change based on their specific role within the SAS.

Rank and Experience

Starting Positions

The Special Air Service (SAS) is a top-notch group in the UK Army that takes in people from all over the UK’s armed forces. 

The selection process is tough and checks military skills, fitness, endurance, initiative, and willpower. The basic needs include being at least 18 years old, being a citizen of the UK or a 

Commonwealth country, being in top physical shape, and having a clean criminal record. 

The first phase of selection is known as the endurance, fitness, and navigation stage, which tests a candidate’s physical fitness and mental stamina.

Top Ranks

At the head of each squadron is the Officer Commander (OC), usually an Army major. The 2nd in Command, or 2ic, holds the rank of captain. 

Other senior ranks include Operations Officer, Squadron Sergeant Major (SSM), Squadron Quartermaster Sergeant (SQSM), and Staff Sergeant.


Different Roles in the SAS

The SAS specializes in a number of roles including counter-terrorism, hostage rescue, direct action, and covert reconnaissance. 

Each squadron consists of four 16-man troops. Each troop specializes in either mountaineering, parachuting, amphibious operations, or mobility operations using vehicles and heavy weapons.

Pay Changes Based on Roles

The pay of SAS soldiers ranges from less than £25,000 a year to around £80,000, depending on their skills and rank. 

This compares with a basic £13,000 for privates in other regiments. SAS troops received little more than other soldiers until 1980 when their pay was suddenly made the best in the army after a drain of troops to the private sector. 

In addition to a strong sense of purpose in embracing the challenges of a complex world, 21 & 23 SAS provide challenge and adventure, with the additional benefit of Special Forces pay rates.

Additional benefits or allowances

In addition to the base salary, SAS soldiers may receive other benefits and allowances. For instance, the armed forces’ non-contributory pension scheme provides handsome returns: 32% of ‘representative pay’ for a soldier’s rank on retirement after 22 years of service. 

This rises to 48.5% after 37 years. The best financial perk is probably the level of salary on offer to former SAS men in the private sector. Experts in explosives, the arms trade, and personal security can easily earn well over £100,000 a year.

How promotions and experience impact pay increases

When you work in the Special Air Service (SAS), how much you earn can change based on your rank and how long you’ve been there. 

If you’re new, you start at a certain pay level. As you learn more and show you’re good at your job, you can move up to higher ranks, which pay more.

The SAS also lets its members learn new things and get better at their jobs. If you get new skills or qualifications, you might be able to do special jobs that pay more.

Besides your regular pay, you might also get extra benefits and money, which can also go up as you move up in rank and get more experience. For example, after a few years of not much change, people working in defence have generally seen their pay go up each year for the last 5 years.

How does SAS training impact pay?

How does SAS training impact pay

Training in the Special Air Service (SAS) can have a big impact on pay. As you learn more and move up in rank, you can earn more money

Tough Training Needs

The Special Air Service (SAS) is famous for its tough training needs. To get into the SAS, you have to go through one of the hardest military training programs in the world. This tests you to the limit, both physically and mentally. 

The first part of the selection process tests your fitness and mental strength. This part lasts 3 weeks and happens in the Brecon Beacons and Black Hills of South Wales. 

You have to carry a heavy bergen over a series of long timed hikes, navigating between checkpoints. The endurance phase ends with ‘the long drag’, a 40-mile trek carrying a 55lb bergen, that you have to finish in under 24 hours.

How Hard Work and Dedication Can Change Pay

Hard work and dedication are key things that can change how much you earn in the SAS. Being in the SAS needs a lot of hard work and dedication and the willingness to work in tough and sometimes dangerous places. 

The SAS also lets its members learn new things and get better at their jobs. If you get new skills or qualifications, you might be able to do special jobs that pay more. 

Besides the strong sense of purpose in taking on the challenges of a complex world, 21 & 23 SAS offer challenge and adventure, with the extra benefit of Special Forces pay rates.


Is SAS the most elite? 

The British Special Air Service (SAS) is often seen as one of the top special forces units globally.

Who’s tougher, SAS or SEALs? 

Both the SAS and the US Navy SEALs are highly skilled and capable. It’s hard to say which is “tougher” as they both have tough training programs and work in different situations.

Is the SAS top secret? 

A lot of information about the SAS is classified because of the secret and sensitive nature of its work.

Has a girl ever won SAS? 

Yes, there have been times when women have successfully completed the SAS selection process.

Who is the highest rank in the SAS? 

The highest rank that can be reached in the SAS is Warrant Officer Class 1 (WO1).

Do SAS have snipers? 

Yes, the SAS does have snipers. But becoming a sniper in the SAS involves a long process and usually requires several years of service in the Army first.

What is the age limit for the SAS? 

The age limit for joining the SAS is usually between 18 and 32 years old. But there can be exceptions for people up to 42 years and 6 months old when applying to join the Army Reserves (AR).

Can foreigners join SAS? 

Yes, the British military is open to citizens of other countries that meet the criteria, including American citizens.

Can you join the SAS with no experience? 

While you can’t join the SAS directly without previous military service, you can join one of the SAS reserve regiments and serve in the reserves for 18 months. The SAS reserves do recruit from the civilian population.

Can you join the SAS as a woman? 

Yes, since 2018, women have been allowed to apply for any role in the British military, including the SAS.

Final words

On the whole, the pay for the Special Air Service (SAS) members depends on their skills, rank, and role. While the exact figures are often classified, estimates suggest a range from less than £25,000 to around £80,000 a year. 

Extra benefits and allowances can also add to the total pay. Training, experience, and dedication can lead to promotions and pay increases. Despite the challenges and demands of the job, many find the SAS a rewarding career choice.