Army officer

Professionally qualified officer, officer reserve, commissioned officer

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Army officers command, manage and motivate teams of soldiers.

Salary range: £27,273 to £42,009

How to become an army officer

You could get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly

University

You can do a degree course before you apply for officer training although it’s not essential.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

More information

College

You could work towards this role by doing a relevant subject like Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Public Services. This would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this career.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

More information

Apprenticeship

You can work towards this role by starting with an intermediate apprenticeship as a HM Forces Serviceperson. You’ll need to apply directly to the army to find the best apprenticeship route for you.

Entry requirements

To do this apprenticeship, you’ll need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

More information

Volunteering and experience

You can join the army reserve as a part-time officer to get some experience of what life is like in the regular army and to learn new skills at the same time.

You’ll need to:

  • be between 18 and 49
  • commit to at least 19 or 27 days a year, depending on your unit
  • attend a 2-week training camp each year

Direct application

You can apply directly for officer training.

You’ll need to:

  • be between 17 years 9 months and 28 years and 11 months
  • get a GP’s medical report

You’ll also usually need a minimum of:

  • GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths, science or a foreign language
  • 2 A levels or equivalent

You’ll be invited to talk to someone at your local army careers centre about what you want to do. You’ll then attend an assessment, which includes medical and fitness tests.

More information

Further information

You’ll find more details about careers in the army, training and how to join through Army Careers.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • leadership skills to manage and motivate soldiers
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • thinking and reasoning skills for making quick decisions
  • persistence and determination
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • concentration skills and fast reactions
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • the ability to work well with others in a team
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

You could work in a combat role as:

  • an infantry platoon commander leading a team of trained soldiers on operations
  • a helicopter pilot officer with responsibility for your crew and ground troops
  • a tank troop officer in charge of men and their vehicles
  • an artillery troop officer leading a team of soldiers

You might work in medicine and healthcare as:

  • an adult nurse caring for injured soldiers
  • a dental officer for army personnel and their families
  • a veterinary officer working with military animals

You could also be:

  • a logistic troop commander managing the supply of things like petrol and ammunition
  • an engineering troop commander managing engineering projects
  • an intelligence officer specialising in intelligence and security
  • a military police officer managing military police soldiers
  • a chaplain giving support and guidance to soldiers and their families

Working environment

You could work be based overseas, at a military base or in a warzone.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding and outdoors in all weathers.

You may need to wear a uniform and protective clothing.

Career path and progression

With training and experience, you could rise up through the ranks from lieutenant to captain, major, colonel and beyond.

On leaving active service, you could use your skills, qualifications and experience to go into a new career, for example in management, planning or teaching. The Officers’ Association gives advice and support to officers on finding a career outside the army.

The Career Transition Partnership, Quest and Troops to Teachers also have more information on career options outside the armed forces.

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