Can I Survive Financially in Antarctica

Many people mention that you don’t work in Antarctica to become rich and that’s definitely true. Antarctica isn’t the Middle East so don’t expect to make six figure incomes or even a solid five figure income. However, that’s not to say that you can’t do fairly well financially working in Antarctica. There are many perks to the job beyond the base pay that can make this experience financially beneficial as well.

Base Pay

The base pay is nothing amazing. Some positions pay about what they would in the US, but others make much less than a similar position in the US would pay. Monthly pay rates are also deceptive as the standard workweek in Antarctica is 54 hours (7:30-5:30 Monday – Saturday). This means you might make the same weekly pay as you would in the US, but your hourly pay may be significantly less. Also; keep in mind that different positions have wildly different pay rates. Those with specialized skill sets are paid roughly what they would make in the US per week, while those without skill sets generally don’t make much.

Cost Savings

The main perk to working in Antarctica is the enormous cost of living savings. Consider how much you spend every month on rent, food, gas, and eating out and imagine how much would be left over from your pay check if you didn’t have those expenses. There are little to no costs when living in Antarctica. Your room and all food is free and there is no commute. The only real cost here in Antarctica is specialty coffee and alcohol and those prices are quite reasonable


On top of your base pay, you can bring home a significant contract completion bonus at the end of the year. Work hard and impress your boss and this can really add up.

Free Vacation

A lot of tourists pay upwards of $10,000 just to spend a few days in Antarctica. Consider yourself lucky to get to spend months here for free. In addition on the way to Antarctica you will pass through Christchurch, NZ and have several days of paid vacation. On your way back to the US at the end of your contract you can opt to spend additional time in NZ at a very low cost. The vacation opportunities after working in Antarctica are plentiful and very affordable.

One comment

  1. Erica LaBerge

    I am extremely interested in working in Antarctica after I graduate with my BS in Environmental Engineering in August of 2013. I have been researching working in Antarctica for a couple of years now and am trying to make contacts to up my chances of getting hired. When you worked in Antarctica, was there anyone who only had a bachelors degree that was a recent graduate? I’m afraid that without years of work experience, a Masters, or doctorate, I will not have a chance of getting hired. My first choice would obviously be to working in the environmental engineering field – but I would really be willing to have any job available to get the opportunity to work in Antarctica. Thanks for your time!!

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