This time, I took the Italian test. Italian is a Schedule C language, which means that the Department of Defense doesn't see knowing it as a critical need, but still wants to keep speakers of the language in its back pocket just in case. The payout, therefore, is not as great as a Schedule A language (Arabic, French, Chinese, etc.) but it is still money in your pocket if you know it. I scored a 2+/2+ on a scale of 3 which amounts to a $175 NON-TAXABLE payout per month. Great deal!
One way I see Marines constantly LEAVING MONEY ON THE TABLE is when Spanish speakers fail to take their Defense Language Proficiency Tests. Sure, it is widely known that knowledge of Spanish does not pay money unless you are using it specifically for your job, but you CAN take 3 other languages that are quite similar to the Spanish you know. And they DO pay. They are BRAZILIAN PORTUGUESE, EUROPEAN PORTUGUESE, and ITALIAN. The first two languages are Schedule A -- big payout! And the last, as I mentioned above, is Schedule C. Fluent Spanish speakers have WALKED into these tests with no prior preparation and scored in the 2 range and above, getting almost $700 extra per month non-taxable with all 3 languages!
I personally get $675 extra per month non-taxable for conversational knowledge of Tagalog, French, and Italian. It's good money to have fun with or save, but take the tests or you'll be missing out! Even if you don't think your skills are up to par, just sit for the test to see what it's like and then you can retry in 6 months. Who knows, you might just come out $2100 richer!