Medical Assistant (Submariner)

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.   

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 different 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


  • There are no minimum qualification requirements
  • You’ll need to be aged at least 16 years and 9 months old when you apply, and under 37 years old when you begin basic training
  • You need to be a minimum height of 157cm and within the healthy range for Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • You must be a British or Irish national, a Commonwealth citizen who has lived in the UK continuously for the 5 years prior to applying, or a dual national

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

  • Recruitment Test 

    You’ll be tested on general reasoning, verbal ability, numeracy and mechanical comprehension

  • Interview

    A formal interview to talk through your suitability for the role

  • 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

  • Pre Royal Navy Course (PRNC)

    This four-day induction to life in the Royal Navy 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, where you’ll focus on developing your medical expertise for use in the maritime environment.

Start defence medic training, this is tri-service and you will train with your Army and RAF counterparts.  the course is 52 weeks long, including paramedical placements working with the ambulance service, Emergency Department placements in hospitals.  Alongside this you will have to complete exams and course work which makes sure your anatomy and physiology is up to scratch.  On completion of the training you will gain a qualification as a Emergency Medical Technician level 4.

Following Defence medic training you will go onto submariner training, part of this will include nuclear health physics, which is an additional role for submariner medics.