What Is an Army Ranger? - Requirements, Training & Salary

Find out what it takes to become an Army Ranger. Learn about eligibility requirements, training, duties, pay ranges and job outlook for this elite light infantry unit. Schools offering Human Services - Military Resilience degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Members of the U.S. Army's 75th Ranger Regiment are among the world's most elite soldiers. Candidates who pass a grueling selection process are trained in joint special operations, airborne assault, search and rescue, infiltration, reconnaissance, forcible entry, airfield seizure and other specialized missions.

They are often the first soldiers to seek out and engage the enemy in combat, and they are skilled in leading small units on difficult missions in hostile environments. The Rangers are the Army's top special operations force, highly mobile and often deployed on short notice. Their motto is ''Rangers Lead the Way.''

The chart below provides an overview of the pay ranges for any soldier in the U.S. Army as well as some of the special requirements for Rangers.

Education Required High school diploma or equivalent
Training Required Candidates must pass an arduous selection process and graduate from Army Ranger School
Job Skills Candidates must have an eligible military occupational specialty
Job Outlook (2016-2026) Job opportunities in all branches of the Armed Forces are expected to be very good*
Pay Ranges (2019) Private (E1) with under 2 years of experience: $20,171 per year
Staff Sergeant (E6) with 6 years of experience: $39,049 per year**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **U.S. Army

Who Is Eligible to Apply?

Army Ranger candidates must be U.S. citizens who are 17 to 34 years old. They must be Army volunteers who pass written tests with a minimum required score and who qualify for airborne training. They must also hold an eligible military occupational specialty, be able to attain a top secret security clearance and be clear of any United Code of Military Justice offenses or drug and alcohol incidents within the past 24 months. To qualify, they must pass rigorous fitness tests at Ranger School.

What Is Involved in Ranger Training?

Army Ranger School is considered one of the top military leadership training courses in the world. Candidates must complete the 8-week Ranger Assessment and Selection Program (RASP). This starts with the Ranger assessment phase (''RAP week''). On day one candidates must be able to do 49 pushups, 59 sit-ups and six chin-ups, and they must complete a 5-mile run in 40 minutes or less. The second day of RAP week begins at 3:30 a.m. with a land navigation test by night and day and ends with a 2.1-mile run in combat gear. Other challenges include a water survival assessment and a 12-mile march carrying 35 pounds of gear.

The initial 21-day Benning phase of Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia, is followed by the mountain phase in northern Georgia, which involves training in military mountaineering, climbing, rappelling and conducting night and day combat patrols in rugged territory. The third and final Florida phase near Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, provides training in waterborne operations, small-unit tactics, ambushes, raids and urban assaults.

What Percentage of Candidates Qualify?

One-third of each class is typically eliminated during RAP week, and only half of all candidates survive the initial 21-day Benning phase of Ranger School.

Do Army Rangers Receive Bonus Pay?

Members of the Armed Forces of the same rank and experience receive the same base pay. Salary rises with years of experience and increases in rank. For example a Private (E1) with under two years of experience earns $20,171 per year, while a Staff Sergeant (E6) with six years of experience earns $39,049 per year.

Salaries may appear to be low, but members of the military typically also receive housing and food allowances, health care and tax advantages. They also receive bonus pay for hazardous, parachute or flight duty. Any of these bonuses can raise Army Rangers' pay substantially.

Will There Be a Demand for Army Rangers in the Future?

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics focuses on civilian jobs, it says that job prospects in all branches of the Armed Forces are expected to remain very good from 2016 through 2026. Typically, Army recruitment suffers during a robust economy, when jobs in the private sector are easier to find, and also when the United States is at war. Candidates seeking Army jobs may face more competition during economic slowdowns and in times of peace.

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