Bomb disposal technicians identify, defuse and destroy explosive devices.
Salary range: Variable
How to become a bomb disposal technician
You can get into this job through:
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
You could do an ordnance, munitions and explosives professional degree apprenticeship. One of the options is disposal work. You might do this with a defence equipment manufacturing company, demolition contractor or through the armed forces.
You’ll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship
You could start by joining one of the armed forces. You would complete your basic military training then apply to specialise in bomb disposal.
For example, you could join the army’s Royal Logistics Corps as an infantry soldier. After the initial training, you could move on to do further training as an ammunition technician.
In the Royal Air Force, you could apply to become a weapons technician after successfully completing your aircrew or officer initial training. In the Royal Navy, you could train to be a mine warfare specialist, disposing of explosive devices using remote control submarines, or working as a mine clearance diver.
Whichever route you choose, you’re likely to need a minimum of GCSEs grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English, maths and a science, or equivalent qualifications. You would also have to pass selection and fitness tests to join.
Professional and industry bodies
You can join the Institute of Explosives Engineers for professional development training.
You can get more details about working in bomb disposal through:
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- thinking and reasoning skills for making quick decisions
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- concentration skills and a steady hand
- excellent verbal communication skills
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to work well with others in a team
- leadership skills
- physical fitness and endurance
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
- be over 17 years of age
- be a UK, Republic of Ireland or Commonwealth citizen
- be at least 151.5cm tall
- pass a medical check
- have a good level of fitness
What you’ll do
You’ll identify, make safe or dispose of different kinds of explosive devices, including:
- unexploded military ammunition, like grenades, shells or depth charges in water
- improvised explosive devices, and makeshift explosives like pipe or car bombs
- explosives used commercially, for example in quarrying, mining or demolition
Your duties may include:
- working with the police to make sure dangerous areas have been evacuated
- finding, identifying, defusing and destroying explosive devices using remote control robots and metal detectors
- making sure your colleagues are safe in dangerous areas
- working in ammunition storage – looking after and maintaining munitions and weapons or loading missiles onto fighter aircraft
You could work be based overseas, at a training centre, in a warzone, underwater or in a civilian area.
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 experience, you could move up the ranks in the armed forces.
On leaving active service, you could work as a private consultant for governments, environmental companies, non-governmental agencies, or organisations like the United Nations Mine Action Service, for example, on mine clearance programmes in ex-war zones.