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

You may have the opportunity to serve beyond this, depending on what you want and the needs of the Royal Navy. If you want to leave, you can send us your request one year before completing your specified return of service. How long this return of service is, will depend on the branch you join. You will need to give 12 months’ notice.

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?

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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 a Royal Navy officer 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 tests are designed to assess whether you have the qualities needed to successfully become an officer once you’ve completed your training.

Before you arrive
You will receive a biographical questionnaire before you arrive for the AIB. It’s important that you complete it as fully and as accurately as you can.

When you’re done, bring this along with you and hand it in to the candidates’ reception at HMS Sultan. This will be the evening before your two day AIB. Reception will also tell you where you will stay over the following days.

AIB day one

During your first full day, you’ll need to do the following: 

  • A 20-minute verbal test designed to demonstrate your general reasoning and ability with words
  • A 13-minute non-verbal reasoning test, again measuring your reasoning power, but this time without the emphasis on verbal skills
  • A 25-minute numerical test covering numerical fluency, reasoning and statistics
  • A 15-minute speed and accuracy test, measuring your concentration and mental agility
  • A 15-minute spatial orientation test, involving directions, relative positions and movement
  • A short general service knowledge test to provide the Board with an indication of your research into the Royal Navy

Essay
You will also need to choose one of four topics and write an essay within 45 minutes. This will help us assess your written communication skills.

Fitness assessment
To test your fitness you will need to do a multi-stage fitness test (commonly known as the ‘bleep test’). There is no pass or fail with this but your performance will be graded – so you need to give it your all. We will send you some preparation guidelines before you come. But it’s a good idea to start doing regular exercise as early as possible.

AIB day two
The second day of the AIB includes a practical leadership task, a planning exercise and a competency interview. You’ll find out if you have passed by the end of the day. If you’re successful you will have to stay on and take a medical exam.

Practical leadership task
Working within a team in the gym, you will have to solve a practical problem, put a plan into action and respond to difficulties as they come up. 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’ll get a written brief containing the details of a fictional scenario. You will have 15 minutes to study the information. We’ll then introduce a problem into the scenario setting, and you’ll have 15 minutes to discuss possible solutions with your group and reach an agreed plan. You will then present this to the Board as a group. We will question each person in your group to examine everyone’s grasp of the situation, before you individually present your final solution to the problem.

Competency interview
This involves a 30 minute interview about things you have done throughout your life. To prepare for this you should think about times when you have been a leader, organised something, been in a team and shown courage.

We will ask you why you want to join the Royal Navy, your understanding of your chosen specialisation and your hopes and ambitions. You will also need to demonstrate a wider knowledge about the Royal Navy beyond what is available in leaflets.

AIB results


You will know whether you have passed that same afternoon. If you’ve made it through you will need to stay on a little longer to complete a medical exam.

But be aware, that passing the AIB doesn’t guarantee your entry into training. Everyone is placed in 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 medical and educational standards.

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

Download AIB Details (PDF)

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