Life as an Officer

Joining the Royal Navy as an officer means you become part of our command team during vital missions – both in times of conflict and peace. You’ll also be responsible for the training, development, welfare, morale and ultimately the lives of your teams. You will have lots under your charge but with the training you’ll get at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) Dartmouth, you will develop all the skills you need to be an effective leader. 

Your work in the Royal Navy

You can choose between approximately 19 officer jobs from the six main branches of the Royal Navy – Warfare, Engineering, Logistics, Medical, Chaplaincy and Aviation. Find out more about each branch below.

Eligibility & qualifications

What we are looking for

People with leadership potential. Who think on their feet and are responsible. People who aren’t afraid of a challenge and know the value of teamwork – because at the end of the day, lives are at stake.

 

Qualifications

  • The minimum academic requirements for officer entry into the Naval Service are 5 GCSEs at grades A-C, including English Language and Maths
  • 180 UCAS points from the UCAS tariff table, which must include 2 non-overlapping subjects and each subject must be allocated at least 45 UCAS points. You must have normally gained qualifying subjects within a maximum spread of 13 months and they need to be of a sufficient academic content. We will also consider equivalent educational qualifications.

Career progression

Skills for life:

We give you all the specialist skills you’ll need to excel at your job but you can also build on this knowledge throughout your career. You will have the chance to gain qualifications that are recognised and valued by both the Royal Navy and civilian employers – like NVQs, GCSEs, BTEC awards or even university degrees – allowing you to develop an enviable set of transferrable skills. 

Promotion:

Like all Royal Navy careers, where and how far you go during your time as an officer is up to you and depends on your choices and achievements. To start off with, you will join as a Midshipman with promotion to Sub Lieutenant after one year of service. Subsequent promotion to Lieutenant is also automatic as long as you perform to the required standard. From then on promotion is on merit. Excel at what you do and you could one day be commanding a large ship – or become a fully-fledged Admiral, the highest active rank in the Royal Navy.

Pay & benefits

Initially we will offer you a career for 12 years. For ratings, when you are first promoted your offer will be extended to 20 years or until age 40, whichever is later. For officers, you will automatically receive this same extension when you achieve a key point in your career path or by selection on merit. Everyone may have the opportunity to serve beyond this, depending what you would like to do and the needs of the Royal Navy.

If you would like to leave the Royal Navy you can send us your request one year before completing your return of service. A return of service is the length of time you must stay in the Royal Navy after you reach a certain stage in your training. Ultimately it will depend on the branch you join but the return of service is usually around 4 years.

Learn more about pay and benefits

Roles by Branch & Service

Chaplaincy

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The Royal Navy is a tight knit community. And as its chaplain your ‘parish’ will be a group of ordinary people doing everyday jobs in extraordinary circumstances and places. Your role gives you the remarkable privilege of being friend and adviser to all – regardless of rank. 


Engineering

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From sensitive electronics and information systems to massive gas turbine engines and nuclear weapons. As part of the Engineering branch you’ll be responsible for some of the world’s most cutting edge technology – and keeping it ready for action in extreme, often hostile environments. Where else can your technical skills turn critical situations around?

 

Fleet Air Arm

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As part of the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm you could be flying fast jets or helicopters, delivering air power and air support from sea and shore bases. As part of air operations support, on deck or on the ground, you could be offering vital support to some of the most challenging operations in military aviation. Whether behind the yoke or behind the scenes, you’ll be critical to the success of every mission.

Logistics

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Protecting our nation’s interests at home and worldwide is a huge operation. The Logistics branch makes sure that our ships, submarines and our 35,000 people have everything they need to be operational for weeks – even months at a time. From food, to equipment, administrative support and even personnel. You’ll have to be switched on to do this job – because up to 1,000 crew members will be depending on you.

Medical

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Whether on shore or on board our ships and submarines, during conflict or peacetime, you’ll need to keep the people around you fit, healthy and effective. Serving in the Medical branch of the Royal Navy gives you the unique opportunity to travel and practise hands-on medicine in sometimes extraordinary circumstances.

Royal Marines Reserve

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The Royal Marines Reserve is a part-time force of civilian volunteers, who give the Royal Marines extra manpower in times of peace and humanitarian crisis or war. You’ll be trained to the same standards as the regular Royal Marines, have to pass the same commando tests and, of course, wear the same coveted green beret.

Royal Naval Reserve

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The Royal Naval Reserve is a part-time force of civilian volunteers, who provide the Royal Navy with the additional trained people it needs at times of tension, humanitarian crisis, or conflict.

Warfare

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The Warfare branch is our ‘fighting team’, or combat operations arm, that includes our ships, submarines and aircraft. But this branch also does much vital work in peacetime too, helping humanitarian and aid missions and patrolling waters. You’ll need to be cool under pressure and a confident seaman and navigator. And if you show the potential, you can move up the ranks to command your own ship or submarine.

Admiralty interview Board

They're looking for you to think on your feet and not get rattled.

Admiralty Interview Board

Officer Training

Now the real work begins with basic training at Britannia Royal Naval College. Have you got what it takes to make it through and join the ranks?

Find out more

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How to join

Joining process

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1. Find the Job role for you using our Role Finder Tool.
2. Check your eligibility.
3. Fill out your application online.
4. We'll book you in for the Recruitment Test (RT). Find out more.
5. We'll then review the results with you and chat through the most suitable jobs.
6.Take the medical tests and the Royal Navy pre-joining fitness test. Take a look at our fitness programme.
7. Pass the Admiralty Interview Board.
8. Once you’ve passed all the tests, we’ll make you a formal job offer.
9. Join the Royal Navy.

Find out more about the joining process

 

Admiralty Interview Board

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If you want to become an officer in the Naval Service you will need to attend the two day Admiralty Interview Board (AIB) at HMS SULTAN in Hampshire and show us that you’ve got what it takes – both mentally and physically.

The competency based assessment process  is designed to assess whether you have the qualities needed to successfully become an officer, once you’ve completed your training.

AIB Day One

On your first day, you’ll need to arrive at HMS SULTAN by mid-day where, after ‘in-processing’ you will be welcomed by one of the Permanent Board Presidents.  During the remainder of the day you will write an essay and be given a series of detailed briefs about the activities ahead of you on day two.  You will then be accommodated overnight at the AIB.

Essay

You'll need to choose from one of six topics and write an essay, on a computer, within 45 minutes.  This will help us assess your written communication skills.

AIB Day Two

The second day of the AIB includes a Practical Leadership Task (PLT), a planning exercise and a competency based interview.  You’ll find out whether you will be forwarded for selection, later in the day.

Practical Leadership Task

In the gym, you and your group will be set a series of tasks, involving crossing a space using various planks, ropes, poles and spars.  You may have to take an item with you and cross the gap more than once and the task may be over a water filled tank.  Each candidate will lead one of the tasks.  Before the tests begin, you'll each be given a written brief for the task you'll be leading, including the objective of the task and a list of the equipment you'll be using.  You'll have 15 minutes to study it on your own and develop your plan.  The task is designed to test your teamwork and leadership ability, your verbal powers of communication, your resilience and strength of character.

Planning exercise

You will get a written brief containing the details of a fictional scenario.  You will have 15 minutes to study the information.  After entering the Boardroom we’ll then introduce some problems into the scenario setting, and you’ll have 15 minutes to discuss possible solutions within your group and reach an agreed plan.  You will then present this, to the Board, as a group.  We will question each member of  your group to examine everyone’s grasp of the situation, before you individually present your own final solution to the problem.

Interview

This involves a 30-40 minute interview where we will explore your motivation to join the Naval Service and examine your courage and values.  You will be able to provide examples of things you have done in support of your answers so, in preparation, it is worth recalling activities and events during your life.  You may also be asked about how your chosen career will contribute to both the Naval Service and to wider Defence Policy.

You will complete computer-based psychometric tests on the second day and these will be conducted around your interview.  These tests include the following:

  • A verbal test designed to demonstrate your general reasoning and ability with words
  • A non-verbal reasoning test, again measuring your reasoning power, but this time without the emphasis on verbal skills
  • A numerical test covering numerical fluency, reasoning and statistics

Fitness assessment

On completion of the tests and interview you will undertake a fitness test consisting of an outdoor, timed 2.4km run.  In addition to counting towards your overall grade this is a pass or fail assessment.  If you do not reach the required standard for your age and gender you will not be considered for selection, no matter how well you did in the rest of your time at the AIB – so you need to give it your all.  Take a look at our fitness programme and preparation guidelines before you come.

AIB results

You will know whether you have been forwarded for selection that same afternoon.  But be aware, that being forwarded doesn’t guarantee your entry into training.  Everyone is placed in an order of merit.  The final selection will depend on the number of vacancies available at the time and the number of successful candidates who reach the required fitness, medical and educational standards.

But whether you are forwarded for selection or not, most people enjoy their visit to the AIB and go away having learned something about themselves in the process.

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