Ranks & roles

You will join the Royal Naval Reserve as a rating and will learn the skills to do specific jobs within the Royal Navy team to the same standard as the full time professionals.

  • Able Rate

    Whatever your job, you'll start your career as an Able Rate
  • Chief Petty Officer

    The rank of Chief Petty Officer gives you more responsibility in the team, with the officers relying heavily on your skills and experience.
  • Leading Hand

    With some experience and further training, you could be promoted to Leading Hand, often managing a small group of Able Rates.
  • Petty Officer

    As a Petty Officer, you'll have responsibility for certain sections within your department.
  • Warrant Officer 1

    WO1 is the highest rank you can achieve as a rating
  • Air Branch

    Entry to the RNR Air Branch is restricted to personnel with prior service in the Fleet Air Arm. Air Branch Reservists are attached to regular squadrons, air stations, units and HQs to support operations on land and at sea. Reservists may be used in front-line roles but are primarily used to backfill key posts such as instructing, training or providing niche skills.

    Minimum Qualifications vary. Please speak to an adviser.

    • Rating: Previous service in the Royal Navy or Royal Marines in the relevant specialist area and left the service within the last three years.
  • Amphibious Warfare

    If you have a Merchant Navy background you are ideally placed to serve as the Senior Naval Officer (SNO) in merchant ships chartered for military purposes. You will liaise with the ship’s Master on naval matters including defence of the vessel and will take charge of any naval party working on board with you. As SNO you provide the vital link between Merchant Navy Masters, the Royal Navy Task Group Commander and the Royal Marines Commandos.

    Minimum Qualifications:

    • Rating: None
    • Officer: 180 UCAS points and five GCSEs (A* to C) or Scottish Standard grades or equivalent, including English and maths.
  • Amphibious Warfare Specialist Skills

    If you have a Merchant Navy background you are ideally placed to serve as the Senior Naval Officer (SNO) in merchant ships chartered for military purposes. You will liaise with the ship’s Master on naval matters including defence of the vessel and will take charge of any naval party working on board with you. As SNO you provide the vital link between Merchant Navy Masters, the Royal Navy Task Group Commander and the Royal Marines Commandos.

    Minimum Qualifications:

    • Serving or former Merchant Navy Deck or Marine Engineer Officers, with at least nine months' service on a British-managed ship.
    • 180 UCAS points (including 2 non-overlapping subject areas). Each subject must be worth at least 45 UCAS points.
    • Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB) Deck or Marine Engineer cadets with at least nine months' service on a British-managed ship, and still undergoing cadetship training at a nautical college.
    • Deck Officers: Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Certificate of Competency STCW 95 II/1 (OOW Unlimited Power), or higher.
    • Engineer Officers: Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Certificate of Competency STCW 95 II/1 (OOW Unlimited Power), or higher.
  • Chaplain

    You’ll be a vital part of the Naval Chaplaincy Service, trained to deploy both at sea and on land with Royal Navy and Royal Marine personnel.  Your diverse parish will seek spiritual, moral and pastoral support and you’ll be a friend and adviser to all regardless of rank or religion. 

    Minimum Qualifications:

    • 180 UCAS points (including 2 non-overlapping subject areas). Each subject must be worth at least 45 UCAS points.
    • You must be ordained and a practising member of one of the sending churches: Anglican, Roman Catholic, Church of Scotland, Congregational, Presbyterian, Baptist, United Reformed, Assemblies of God, Elim Pentecostal or Methodist.
    • When you make a formal application, you must have at least two years' parish experience after you have been ordained or completed your full-time ministerial training.
  • Communications Technician

    Entry as a Communications Technician is restricted to personnel with ex-Regular service in that Branch. You’ll be intercepting and analysing signals from around the world. You’ll use the Royal Navy’s range of sophisticated recording, receiving and analysis equipment, and give confident written and verbal briefings to senior officers. There are more specialist jobs available if you‘ve been trained in computer analysis of radio signals, or foreign languages. 

    Minimum Qualifications vary. Please speak to an adviser.

    • Rating: Previous service in the Royal Navy or Royal Marines in the relevant specialist area and left the service within the last three years.
  • Diving

    Your main role will be to work at maximum depths of 30 metres as part of a specialist diving team. The task will primarily involve underwater searches and minor repair work to ships. If you’re not a former service Diver then you’ll have to hold a recognised civilian diving qualification to BSAC Ocean/PADI Open Water standard.

    Minimum Qualifications:

    • Rating: Recognised military or police diving qualification or evidence of recent diving experience.
    • A minimum and current recognised civilian or commercial diving qualification of: a) Padi Advanced Open Water or b) BSAC Advanced Diver or c) HSE Part 4 Commercial Diver
    • Officer: All of the above plus 180 UCAS points and five GCSEs (A* to C) or Scottish Standard grades or equivalent, including English and maths.
  • Information Operations

    You produce plans, information and materials to give military commanders a crucial edge in battlefield operations. Working on land or at sea, you could be involved in anything from operational security and military deception planning to psychological operations and electronic warfare.

    Minimum Qualifications:

    • Rating: None
    • Officer: 180 UCAS points and five GCSEs (A* to C) or Scottish Standard grades or equivalent, including English and maths.
  • Intelligence

    Entry to the RNR Intelligence specialisation is via sideways transfer from other RNR specialisations following successful completion of a selection weekend. Initially you’ll be trained as an operational intelligence analyst, gathering and assessing information on the movements of ships, people and aircraft.

    Minimum Qualifications:

    • Rating: At least four years' service in the RNR and you will need to pass a selection board.
    • Officer: All of the above plus 180 UCAS points and five GCSEs (A* to C) or Scottish Standard grades or equivalent, including English and maths. Officers would normally be expected to have reached the rank of Lieutenant.
  • Logistics

    Based on shore at a Forward Logistics Site (FLS), you’ll be responsible for ensuring the Royal Navy and Royal Marines have everything they need to fulfil their mission. You’ll make sure spare parts, mail and people are in the right place at the right time; this will involve managing documentation, and driving around dock areas and between military sites. 

    Minimum Qualifications:

    • Rating: None
    • Officer: 180 UCAS points and five GCSEs (A* to C) or Scottish Standard grades or equivalent, including English and maths.
  • Maritime Trade Operations

    Your role is to act as the interface between commercial merchant shipping companies and the Royal Navy. The UK regularly works with other NATO and European Union countries so your training will be on sophisticated computer systems that provide essential advice for the Masters of merchant ships, ranging from shipping movements to safe navigational information in hazardous sea areas. 

    Minimum Qualifications:

    • Rating: None
    • Officer: 180 UCAS points and five GCSEs (A* to C) or Scottish Standard grades or equivalent, including English and maths.
  • Media Operations

    You’ll ensure the media get accurate information when they need it. This may involve accompanying news crews that are attached to Royal Navy units, on land or at sea. You could find yourself working in an MOD Press Office in the UK but you’re much more likely to be in a Press Information Centre, working alongside multinational or NATO land forces. 

    Minimum Qualifications vary. Please speak to an adviser.

    • Rating: Previous service in the Royal Navy or Royal Marines in the relevant specialist area and left the service within the last three years.
  • Medical Officer

    You’ll combine your specific civilian skills with a vital military role, caring for armed forces personnel across the globe, at sea or on land. Your primary role will be to go to sea in RFA Argus, the Royal Navy’s 100-bed Primary Casualty Receiving Facility. Increasingly, Medical Officers are also deployed on land operations to provide support to servicemen and women, worldwide. 

    Minimum Qualifications:

    • Fully registered with the General Medical Council
    • Fully accredited Consultant or Specialist Registrar (within three years of completing your training) working in Emergency Medicine, Anaesthetics, General Surgery, Neurosurgery or Orthopaedics.
  • Mine Warfare

    You’ll be part of the Royal Navy team responsible for making the seas safe for our warships and supply ships on exercises and operations. You’ll work in the Royal Navy’s Mine Counter Measure Tasking Authority (MCMTA), which directs all mine hunting and clearance operations. You could find yourself working on shore or at sea, but you’ll require a lot of sea experience first. 

    Minimum Qualifications:

    • Rating: No previous qualifications needed. However, you will need previous Seaman Reserve experience.
    • Officer: 180 UCAS points and five GCSEs (A* to C) or Scottish Standard grades or equivalent, including English and maths.
  • Naval Nurse

    Alongside your civilian nursing job, you’ll be a member of the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service (Reserves). When deployed, you could find yourself anywhere in the world, caring for Royal Navy and other armed forces personnel. You may be based at sea in RFA Argus – the Royal Navy’s 100-bed Primary Casualty Receiving Facility.  

    Minimum Qualifications:

    • Qualified and currently registered on the RGN?RN (Adult) or Part 1 or 13 of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Register. Degree level or at least two years' post-registration experience.
    • You will need proven experience in Orthopaedics, Intensive or Critical Care, Emergency Medicine, Operating Theatre Recovery or Anaesthetics.
  • Royal Naval Reserve

    A part-time force of civilian volunteers providing the Royal Navy with additional support.

    Minimum Qualifications:

    • None
  • Seaman

    Working on deck as an armed sentry in all weathers, you’ll be responsible for protecting your ship. You’ll work closely with the Royal Marines Fleet Protection Group, be trained in close combat, how to use an assault rifle, general purpose machine gun, and minigun. This highly responsible job also entails you being taught to understand and implement rules of engagement. 

    Minimum Qualifications:

    • None
  • Submarine Operations

    In this demanding specialist officer role, you initially work in a shore HQ. Your tasks will involve managing submarines’ communications, tasking and safety. Later you will work at sea as part of the Submarine Advisory Team, providing essential advice on how the submarine can best support the military commander’s task force of ships and aircraft. 

    Minimum Qualifications:

    • 180 UCAS points (including 2 non-overlapping subject areas). Each subject must be worth at least 45 UCAS points.

All reservists join as ratings. If you're interested and you have the right skills and qualifications however, you could become one of two types of officer. Take a look at these below.

  • General Royal Naval Reserve Officer

    You’ll have been recommended for promotion and will go through the same officer selection process as the full time regulars: the Admiralty Interview Board.
  • Specialist Royal Naval Reserve Officer

    As a qualified civilian doctor, nurse, religious minister or certain Merchant Navy officers, you can apply for direct entry into the Royal Naval Reserve as a Officer in your field of expertise. As a specialist you’ll have to meet certain academic standards and also pass the Admiralty Interview Board.
  • General RNR Officer

    You'll have been recommended for promotion and will go through the same officer selection process as the full time regular regulars: the Admiralty Interview Board.

  • Royal Naval Reserve Ex-Regular

    Continue to develop the skills you learned in the regular Armed Forces as a volunteer in the Royal Naval Reserve.

    Minimum Qualifications:

    • None
  • Royal Naval Reserve Specialist Skills

    Continue to develop the skills you learned in the regular Armed Forces as a volunteer in the Royal Naval Reserve.

    Minimum Qualifications:

    • GCSE
  • Specialist RNR Officer

    As a qualified civilian doctor, nurse, religious minister or certain Merchant Navy officers, you can apply for direct entry into the Royal Naval Reserve as an Officer in your field of expertise. As a specialist you'll have to meet certain academic standards and also pass the Admiralty Interview Board.