Royal Navy Ratings: The joining process

As a Royal Navy Rating, you’ll be right at the heart of challenging operations, in unique environments, all over the world. It’s a tough job, which is why the joining process is really in-depth and can seem long. It involves interviews, plus mental and physical tests, to ensure a career in the Royal Navy is right for you – and that you’re right for the Royal Navy. It might seem a lot, but don’t worry, we’ve got some advice in section 3 on how you can prepare for each stage.

Once you’ve confirmed your eligibility, the joining process is as follows



The first step is choosing the role that you think is right for you. There are lots of ratings roles available, from working as a Chef, to becoming an Engineering Technician, with each offering you the chance to develop different skills and shape the career you want. Every role has its own specific entry, qualification and eligibility criteria, depending on its discipline and skillset. With so many opportunities available, there’s no need to be 100% sure of your role at this stage. To find the role that's right for you click on the button below.

Find your role


We'll then arrange for you to take the Defence Aptitude Assessment (DAA), which all potential recruits have to complete. It tests your general intellectual ability, and how well you do shows your capacity to cope with the technical and academic aspects of training for the role you’ve chosen.

Practise the DAA


We’ll invite you to a formal virtual interview to assess your suitability for a career in the Royal Navy, and specifically the role that you have chosen. This is much like any other job interview, so you should prepare accordingly and ask your AFCO for help if required.



The medical and eye exam are quite comprehensive, because life in the Royal Navy is physically demanding.

Your tests must be completed by one of our Ministry of Defence-approved doctors, who are based all around the country. Capita Medical will arrange an appointment for you at a convenient time and location.



Before you can join you'll have to pass the Royal Navy's Pre-Joining Fitness Test, which involves completing a 2.4km run on a treadmill within a certain time, at a fitness centre near you. You’ll need to be in the best possible shape to have the greatest chance of passing, which will also help with basic training.

You’ll find more details about fitness in our ‘joining’ section.

Depending on the branch you've applied for, some roles will also require further interviews at this point. More information will be provided as you pass through the joining process.


Candidate Preparation Course (CPC)

Once you’ve been given an entry date, you’ll need to attend a four-day assessment, the Candidate Preparation Course (CPC). The CPC is a comprehensive physical examination, including a number of running and swimming tests, which will confirm that you’re ready for entry. This is also your chance to sample life in the Royal Navy.



Once you've passed all the stages, you'll also need to pass a Security and Reference Check. After that, you'll be given details of your Notice of Provisional Selection and Confirmed Offer of Service with a provisional place at HMS Raleigh where you'll complete your Basic Training. Your local AFCO will buy your train ticket to help you get there, provide some joining instructions, and tell you what kit you need. After Basic Training, you'll then begin the professional training that’s unique to your role.

Basic Training for Ratings takes place over 10 weeks at HMS Raleigh. 

Training is covered in more detail in the ‘What's the Training Like’ section.