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How To Calculate Proficiency Bonus 5E? [Boost Your Performance]

How To Calculate Proficiency Bonus 5E
  Written By: Ashish Arya
Updated On: 11/09/2023
Est. Reading: 9 minutes

Do you love immersing yourself in otherworldly adventures, fighting dragons, and navigating treacherous dungeons?

Then there’s a good chance you’re a Dungeons & Dragons enthusiast. One thing that can sometimes stump players, though, is understanding the mechanism behind certain game elements.

Today, we will help you crack the code on how to calculate proficiency bonus 5E in D&D.

This concept may be a tad confusing for some players, especially those just getting into the game. But don’t worry! We’re here to unravel this mystery, so you’ll soon get the hang of it.

This way, your D&D experience can be focused more on strategy and story-telling and less on fretting over game mechanics. So grab your dice; let’s decipher this together.

Proficiency Bonus: According to level

Your proficiency bonus in D&D 5E directly correlates with your character’s level. This stat isn’t connected to your race, class, or background but purely the overall character level.

It starts at +2 when you’re fresh at Level 1 and gradually increases as you gain more experience. Keep an eye on the D&D’s class progression chart for your specific proficiency bonus per level.

This chart is designed to help you calculate these bonuses accurately while playing through the diverse landscapes of mythical realms and dungeon depths.

Experience PointsLevelProficiency Bonus

What is Proficiency Bonus 5E in D&D?

In the world of Dungeons & Dragons, your Proficiency Bonus is a vital game mechanic. Specifically, in the 5th Edition (or 5E), it’s an integral part of your character’s development and progression.

What is Proficiency Bonus 5E in D&D?

This bonus represents your character’s growing expertise over time in certain skills, weapons, spells, and tools.

But, as you level up and become more competent or ‘proficient,’ this bonus increases accordingly. That means the higher your character’s level, the higher the proficiency bonus you have at your disposal.

You can find this number on your character’s class leveling chart. It starts at +2 for a 1st-level character and increases as you gain experience.

It ties into many parts of gameplay – including attack rolls, spellcasting ability, tool use abilities, and certain saving throws – making it an important aspect to understand for a more strategic and effective play.

How to Calculate Proficiency Bonus 5E in D&D?

Mastering the art of calculating proficiency bonuses in D&D 5E can be a game-changer. This helps you form strategies and navigate your character better, giving you an edge over your adversaries.

It might seem daunting, but fear not; with the right understanding and a little practice, you’ll soon be doing it smoothly.

If you’re wondering how this calculation is done, here’s what you need to know.

Your proficiency bonus affects different aspects of your gameplay, such as forming part of your attack bonus. One of the common calculations where proficiency bonus plays a major role in determining the Attack Bonus (AB), which boosts your chances of hitting targets during combat.

The equation to calculate this is:

Attack Bonus = Ability Modifier + Proficiency + Enchanted Item Bonus + Class Features

  • Ability Modifier: This factor varies depending on the weapon used by your character. Strength (STR) and Dexterity (DEX) are frequently employed ability modifiers.
  • Proficiency: This term denotes your proficiency bonus appropriate to your current level.
  • Enchanted Item Bonus & Class Features: These bonuses may come from magical items that boost offensive abilities or special features inherent to various classes. However, these are optional bonuses that may not apply all the time.

Though all the components of this formula matter, what’s crucial for you to understand thoroughly is the Ability Modifier and Proficiency, as they form the base for all calculations.

As you progress in-game levels, these numbers rise, too – making you more potent with weapons or spellcasting over time. So, stay atop these numbers and modify them accurately as your character evolves.

Also Read: How To Calculate Armor Class 5E? [Detailed Steps & Examples]

Where Can You Apply Your Proficiency Bonus?

As your Dungeons and Dragons character grows and gains experience, you may be left wondering exactly where you can apply your proficiency bonus.

Where Can You Apply Your Proficiency Bonus?

The answer might be more broad than you’re expecting, as it ties into several different aspects of the game. These bonuses primarily aid in skill checks, saving throws, attack rolls, and spell attacks/save DC.

Skill Checks

In D&D, skill checks are central to playing the game and advancing through the campaign’s story. Your character will constantly be put to the test in various tasks that require a roll of the dice.

Whenever you make an ability check that involves a skill or tool with which your character has proficiency, you add your proficiency bonus.

Suppose your character is proficient in Acrobatics and needs to perform a flip over a trap hole (an event that requires a Dexterity check). In that case, you can apply your proficiency bonus to this Dexterity check.

Here’s how it works: If your character level is 5 (which gives a Proficiency Bonus of +3) and the Dexterity modifier is +2, when rolling for an Acrobatics check (a Dexterity-reliant task), if you roll an eight on your d20 die, then how do calculate?

Add everything together. In other words, 8 (roll result) + 2 (Dex modifier) + 3 (proficiency bonus), making for a total of 13.

Saving Throws

Another critical part of gameplay where applying proficiency bonuses helps is during saving throws. A saving throw represents an attempt to resist or avoid some form of harm or influence.

If your class or another feature grants proficiency in a saving throw – let’s say Constitution saves – you get to add that crucial bonus whenever making such rolls! It’s an excellent buffer against potent magic or devastating traps.

Let’s illustrate this with our level-five character. If he must make a Constitution saving throw against a deadly poison and has a Constitution modifier of +1, if he rolls an 11 on the d20, then the total would be 11 (roll result) + 1 (Constitution modifier) + 3 (proficiency bonus), giving a total of 15!

Attack Rolls

Your hard-earned proficiency bonus also applies to your attack rolls when using a weapon or method your character is proficient in. More specifically, you can use this bonus to boost both melee and ranged weapon attacks.

Picture this: A monster is charging toward our level-five character. He’s proficient with his equipped greatsword and swings it at the beast; his Strength modifier is +2. Now, doesn’t that sound like a great time to use that proficiency bonus?

He rolls an eight on his d20 for an attack roll. So the attack roll calculation will be 8 (roll result) + 2 (Strength modifier) + 3 (Proficiency Bonus), for a satisfying total of 13.

Spell Attack/Save DC

The Proficiency Bonus comes into play in Spellcasting – essential to all you magic-wielders out there! You’ll add your Proficiency Bonus to your Spell Attack Rolls, giving you higher chances of successfully hitting with spell attacks.

It also gets combined with your magic ability modifier to define your Spells Save DC – the number foes must reach or exceed to resist or halfen the effects of your sorcery.

Imagine our level five character could cast spells and have an Intelligence modifier of +2. When casting a magic missile and rolling for a spell attack, he’d get: roll result on d20 + 2(Intelligence mod.) +3(proficiency bonus).

As for save DC calculation, it’d be calculated by adding 8 to the caster’s proficiency bonus and applicable ability modifier (2 + 3 = 5, then adding to 8 for a total Spells Save DC of 13!)

So whether you’re flipping over trap holes, resisting a dragon’s breath, striking monsters with your greatsword, or casting deadly spells, your proficiency bonus is the perfect ace up your sleeve.

Read More: Dual Wielder 5E Feat [Increase Your Attack Options In DnD]

What are the Class Abilities?

The beauty of D&D lies in the intricate layers that define every game’s mechanics. One such layer comprises ‘class abilities,’ which are unique skills or powers associated with a specific character class.

These abilities can influence how your character interacts with the world, battles foes, and aids allies. Let’s peel back these layers and look at some examples.

Jack of All Trades

A feature unique to the Bard class, Jack of All Trades shows its true charm as players reach higher levels. At 2nd level, Bards get a bonus for any ability check they make where they aren’t already adding their proficiency bonus.

This bonus is half their proficiency bonus – a little gain that can sure come in handy when you least expect it.


Introduced at the 1st level for Rogues and 3rd for Bards, Expertise lets you choose two of your proficient skills or tools and double your proficiency bonus for any ability check you make using them.

Expertise allows specific characters to excel in particular areas – be it picking locks or charming sentient beings.

Cleric Domains

Each Cleric chooses a Divine Domain when creating their character, which defines their God’s area of influence: Peace, War, Knowledge, and the set of abilities granted.

This domain grants certain bonuses like additional spells or combat capabilities right from 1st level that can greatly boost your divine prowess.


Fighters have access to an array of abilities that make them feared combatants on the battlefield. A notable skill is Extra Attack, an ability gained at the 5th level that essentially allows Fighters to attack more than once in a single turn.

They also enjoy proficiency bonuses in all armor types and weapons, a compelling case for why many consider Fighters effective tanks.

Also Read: How Does Resistance Work In 5E D&D? [Understand Damage Reduction]


Rogues thrive on stealth, nimbleness, and sly tricks—skills reflected in their class abilities.

From backstabbing enemies using Sneak Attack, evading spells or damage via Evasion, to becoming unseen shadows with the Hide action, Rogues have unique ways of navigating situations that feel straight out of a thrilling heist movie.


Warlocks hold a pact with otherworldly entities that grant them magical power. A critical element of this class is the Eldritch Invocations, special abilities they learn at 2nd level that give them unique tricks or upgrades to their spells.

From knocking enemies back with Eldritch Blast to gaining spectral vision with Devil’s Sight, these Invocations add an unpredictable element to any Warlock’s repertoire.

Explore More: How To Calculate Hit Points 5E In D&D? [Understand Your Health]

Where Proficiency Bonus Doesn’t Effect?

The proficiency bonus factor in D&D 5E applies to a number of areas; however, there are certain aspects that it does not affect. Let’s understand this with clarity. Here, we’ll dive into three specific areas: Armor Class, Damage and Healing.

Where Proficiency Bonus Doesn’t Effect?

Armor Class

The Armor Class (AC) determines how difficult it is for an opponent to land a successful attack against you—it acts as your defense.

While mastery in weapons and spells could impact your ability to attack (hence the proficiency bonus), it doesn’t affect your AC.

In other words, no matter how seasoned you are or the high level you reach, your proficiency bonus won’t hike up your Armor Class. That is determined separately by things like the armor you wear or any spells that may offer protective benefits.


Damage output. Again, your proficiency bonus doesn’t extend its influence to this aspect. You might logically think that the more experienced with a weapon or spell you are, the more damage it would cause to enemies, yet that’s not how it works in the D&D 5E ruleset.

Your damage output depends on specific weapon stats and modifiers referred typically from Strength for melee weapons and Dexterity for ranged ones, but proficiency bonus?

It can impact the likelihood of an attack landing successfully (thanks to being factored into attack rolls) but not the severity of said attack.


When casting healing spells or using abilities that can restore hit points to yourself or party members, your expertise level does not influence this process.

Healing quantities typically depend on character class features and specific spell descriptions.

Some spells heal a set amount, while others may require you to roll dice to determine the total points of healing delivered, but once again, proficiency doesn’t play into this equation.

Explore More: Drakewarden Ranger Subclass [How It Changes Your DnD Gameplay]

FAQs About ‘how to calculate proficiency bonus 5e in d&d?’

What does the proficiency bonus signify in D&D 5E?

The proficiency bonus in D&D 5E represents your character’s growing expertise in specific skills, weapons, spells, and tools as they level up.

Is my proficiency bonus applicable to attack rolls?

Yes, your proficiency bonus applies to attack rolls when you’re using a weapon or spell that you’re proficient with.

Can I add my proficiency bonus to damage rolls?

No, the proficiency bonus does not affect damage rolls—it only influences your chance of successfully landing an attack.

Does a higher-level character have a greater proficiency bonus?

Yes, as your character gains levels in D&D 5E, their proficiency bonus increases proportionally, representing their growing expertise.

Does my proficiency bonus improve my Armor Class (AC)?

No, even though your AC is crucial for defense, how high it is doesn’t depend on your level or proficiency. It mainly relies on factors like armor types and protective spells.


  • Ashish Arya

    I'm a tech enthusiast and lifelong gamer, hailing from the beautiful city of Chandigarh. My passions range from immersing myself in worlds like GTA V, COD, SIMS, Roblox and Minecraft to exploring the latest innovations in laptops and technology. Armed with a Bachelors Degree in Computer Application, I love sharing my insights through writing and engaging with fellow enthusiasts. Join me on my journey through the ever-evolving realms of gaming and tech!