Army soldier, army non-commissioned officer (NCO), army reserve

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Soldiers take part in peacekeeping missions, supporting humanitarian efforts or fighting in combat zones around the world.

Salary range: £15,671 to £35,151

How to become a soldier

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly


You could apply to join the army through an HM forces serviceperson intermediate apprenticeship.

You’ll need to apply directly to the army to find the best apprenticeship route for you. This will depend on your qualifications and which service role you’re interested in, for example, infantry, artillery or medical.

Entry requirements

  • entry requirements vary

More information

Volunteering and experience

Join the Army Reserve to get experience of what life is like in the regular army. You’ll also learn new skills at the same time.

You’ll need to:

  • be aged 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

If you’re between 12 and 18 years old, you can join the Army Cadet Force.

Direct application

You can apply directly to join the army. You don’t need any specific qualifications unless you’re applying for a technical role like engineering or communications.

You’ll also need to be:

  • aged between 16 and 33
  • physically fit

If your application is accepted, 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 information about careers in the army through Army Careers.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • physical fitness and endurance
  • concentration skills and fast reactions
  • active listening skills and the ability to follow instructions quickly
  • the ability to work well with others in a team
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • thinking and reasoning skills and the confidence to act quickly
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties will depend on your job. Roles you might work in include:

  • combat – as an infantry soldier or aviation crewman
  • engineering – as an aircraft technician or vehicle mechanic
  • HR, finance and support – as an HR specialist or military police soldier
  • intelligence, communications and IT – as a military intelligence operator or communication systems engineer
  • medical – as a healthcare professional or veterinary technician
  • logistics and support – as a chef or logistics supply specialist
  • music and ceremonial – as a musician or ceremonial gunner

Working environment

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

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

You may need to wear protective clothing and a uniform.

Career path and progression

When you join the army, you sign up for 4 years. You can leave at any time after this as long as you give 12 months’ notice. If you want to stay you can extend your 4-year contract.

With training and experience you could move up through the ranks or into a specialist unit like the commandos. You could also gain a commission to become an officer which would give you a higher salary.

You could move into a wide range of careers after leaving the army. The Career Transition Partnership, Quest and Troops to Teachers have more information on careers outside the armed forces.

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