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Bomb disposal technician

Bomb disposal technicians identify, defuse and destroy explosive devices.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: Variable average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

The most common way to become a bomb disposal technician is by joining the armed forces and applying to work in the bomb disposal unit. You can train in the: 

  • British Army, as a soldier before moving into the Royal Logistics Corps (RLC) or the Corps of the Royal Engineers
  • Royal Air Force, as a weapons technician before volunteering for training
  • Royal Navy, as a mine warfare specialist or mine clearance diver

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • the ability to think quickly and make decisions under pressure
  • the ability to keep calm in difficult situations
  • excellent judgement and problem solving skills
  • an eye for detail and a steady hand

3. What you'll do

You’ll usually start in one of the armed forces, and work in a warzone or civilian setting. 

Your job title will depend on the branch of the armed forces you join:

  • in the British army you’ll be known as an ammunition technician or an ammunition technical officer
  • in the Royal Air Force you’ll be a weapons technician
  • in the Royal Navy you could be either a mine warfare specialist or a mine clearance diver

You’ll identify, make safe or dispose of different kinds of explosive devices, including:

  • unexploded military ammunition, like grenades, shells or depth charges in water
  • landmines
  • improvised explosive devices, makeshift explosives like pipe or car bombs

Your duties might include:

  • working with the police to make sure dangerous areas have been evacuated
  • finding, identifying, defusing and destroying explosive devices using remote control robots and metal detectors
  • making sure your colleagues are safe in dangerous areas
Disposal of explosive devices might only be part of your job. You might also work in ammunitions storage facilities, looking after and maintaining munitions and weapons or loading missiles onto fighter aircraft.

4. Salary

Starter: Variable

Your salary will depend on your rank in the armed forces.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

Your working hours will depend on which armed forces you join and and the particular job. 

When you're not on exercises or operations, a working day can be from 8am to 5pm. During exercises and operations you may work much longer and irregular hours, and be away from home for long periods of time.

You could serve in the UK or overseas in combat or ex-combat zones. 

You’ll work in a variety of conditions, ranging from onboard a ship or a submarine, to working in an ammunitions store or destroying terrorist bombs in a warzone or civilian setting.

You’ll wear a bomb suit or heavy suit of body armour.

You’ll spend a lot of time on training exercises.

6. Career path and progression

With extensive experience, you could work as a consultant for organisations like governments, environmental companies, non-governmental organisations, or the United Nations. 

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Last updated: 21 December 2016