Royal Air Force (RAF) officers manage teams of airmen and airwomen. They also carry out flying duties or work in specialist ground support.
Salary range: £27,273 to £42,009
How to become an RAF officer
You can get into this job through:
- applying directly
Volunteering and experience
You can join the RAF Reserve as a part-time officer. This will give you experience of what life is like in the air force, and you’ll learn new skills at the same time.
You’ll need to:
- be between 18 and 54
- commit to at least 27 days a year
- attend a 2-week training camp each year
If you’re between 13 and 18 years old, you can join the Air Cadets.
You’ll visit RAF bases and develop some of the skills you’ll need in the RAF recruitment process.
You can apply directly for RAF officer training.
You’ll need a minimum of:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English and maths, and a science for some roles
- 2 A levels or equivalent
If your application is accepted, you’ll be invited to talk to someone at your local armed forces careers office about what you want to do. You’ll also take an aptitude test.
If you’re successful, you’ll be invited to attend the Officers and Aircrew Selection Centre at RAF College, Cranwell in Lincolnshire. You’ll take part in a 3-day selection process which includes tests for aptitude, initiative and fitness. You’ll then have an interview and a medical examination.
You’ll find more details about how to become an officer through RAF Careers.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- leadership skills to manage and motivate teams
- 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
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- the ability to work well with others
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
- be over 17.5 years of age
- be a UK citizen
- have a good level of fitness
- pass a medical check
- pass enhanced background checks
- pass security checks
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day duties will depend on your job. Roles you might work in include:
- pilot and weapons systems officer – taking part in flying sorties, reconnaissance, and search and rescue duties
- air traffic and aerospace flight operations officer – providing target information, coordinating refuelling, digitally mapping terrain and planning missions
- aircraft and communications engineer – commissioning new aircraft, servicing fleets and managing resources
- catering, security or training officer – providing day-to-day services for staff at base and in the field
- medical, dental or nursing officer – managing specialist teams supporting the service
You could work in a warzone or at a military base.
Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers and physically and emotionally demanding.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could move up the ranks, for example from pilot officer to flying officer, then flight lieutenant or higher.
You could go into a wide range of careers once you leave the RAF. Your career choices will depend on your skills, training and qualifications you’ve developed during your service.