Medical Assistant (Submariner)

Fast track role A high priority role with an accelerated joining process.
Service:Submarine Service
Humanitarian aid

The role at a glance

What you’ll do

You’ll embark on a medical career that offers more variety and adventure than you’d ever experience in civilian medicine. Doing this role as a submariner sets it even further apart. You’ll need to think on your feet in challenging situations, within the operational confines of a state-of-the-art submarine. Being a submariner means joining an elite team like no other. Your crewmates will look to you to safeguard their health and wellbeing, whatever the mission, wherever you are in the world.   

If you have questions, talk to us

Your role

  • Work on vessels at the forefront of our nation’s defence: a Vanguard class ballistic missile submarine (our nuclear deterrent) or an Astute class attack submarine.
  • Make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of your crewmates, as you carry out highly classified global missions.
  • Work across all medical departments, learning directly from specialists in a number of fields.
  • You’ll become more than a medic, monitoring the boat’s life support systems such as air and water generation, plus radiation on our nuclear vessels.

What you’ll get

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • Study for GCSEs, A-Levels, NVQs or even a degree, paid for by us 
  • Gain specialist vocational qualifications as your career progresses

Skills you'll develop

  • Learn about first aid, environmental and preventative medicine, anatomy and physiology
  • Develop your skills in specialist areas, like pharmacy or nursing

Career progression

What you'll need


  • You’ll need to be aged 17 to 39
  • No qualifications are required for this role
  • British National (or hold Dual Nationality iaw UKSV policy)
  • You need to be a minimum height of 157cm
  • A Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18 and 28 (between 17 and 27 if under 18)
  • Pass the Naval Swimming Test

Skills and interests

  • A quick thinker with a passion for helping people
  • Great team players who thrive on working with others
  • Enthusiasm for working in high-pressure environments
  • Hands-on people who can react quickly in an emergency
Check Eligibility

Starting your career

Joining process

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

  • Submit an application

    Once you’ve registered your interest and have satisfied the basic eligibility criteria, you will be sent an online application form

  • Defence Aptitude Assessment (DAA) 

    You’ll be tested on: Verbal Reasoning, Numerical Reasoning, Work Rate, Spatial Reasoning, Electrical Comprehension and Mechanical Comprehension.
    To prepare, you can practise the DAA

  • Interview

    A formal interview to talk through your suitability for the role. This is normally conducted using your own device over the Shine video platform

  • Medical and eye tests

    These are quite comprehensive and must be completed by one of our Ministry of Defence-approved doctors

  • Pre-Joining Fitness Test (PJFT)

    This involves completing a 2.4km run on a treadmill within a certain time, at a fitness centre near you

  • Candidate Preparation Course (CPC)

    This four-day induction to life in the Royal Navy, including a Swimming Test and a fitness assessment, is a pass or fail course

  • Start training

    Once you’ve passed a Security Check, you’ll be offered a place at HMS Raleigh

Initial training

Your Royal Navy career begins with 10 weeks’ basic training at HMS Raleigh, a shore base in Torpoint, Cornwall. The discipline, teamwork, organisational, firefighting and weapon handling skills you learn here will stay with you right through your career.

Aim to get yourself as fit as possible before you arrive. You’ll be doing a lot of physical exercise, and you’ll find it much easier if you’re already in shape.

There's also a swimming test, so if you can't swim, make sure you learn by the time you join us.

Professional training

Once you have the essential military and maritime skills under your belt, it’s time to start your specialist training, as a Medical Assistant. This will see you in a Tri-service environment working with the Army and RAF at Defence Medical Services (DMS) Wittington. The training is 40 weeks long and broken down into classroom lessons and placements. During lessons you will learn, First Aid at Work, be given an insight into primary health care, pharmacy, environmental health, medical administration and other essential skills needed to be a Medical Assistant. Once you have gained the underpinning knowledge you will then undertake a 6 week clinical work based placement in various locations around the UK.

On completion of your first clinical placements you will return to DMS Wittington to undertake Royal Navy single service training. This consists of 7 weeks learning the specific and vital skills required of a Medical Assistant with the Royal Navy. This is followed by placements in primary and secondary healthcare facilities in various locations around the UK lasting for 11 weeks. Finally you will return to DMS Wittington for a period of consolidation before graduating and being assigned to a Medical centre or a Boat.

After successfully completing your professional training, you will then commence your Submarine Qualification (SMQ) at HMS Neptune, Faslane, Scotland near Glasgow; the home of the Royal Navy’s Submarine Service. You’ll learn about submarine operations, including: warfare, weapons, nuclear propulsion and escape training, and go to sea in a submarine. After this, there’ll be a test to check your knowledge. When you pass, you’ll earn your ‘Dolphins’ – the coveted badge of a qualified Submariner.