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Royal Marines Commando

Royal Marines Commandos take part in frontline combat, and are sent at short notice to deal with emergency situations.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £14,750 to £47,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

You don’t need qualifications, but you must be:

  • aged 16 to 32
  • a national of the UK or Ireland, a Commonwealth citizen who has lived in the UK for the last 5 years, or a dual national
  • a minimum height of 151.5cm 
  • physically fit and a BMI of between 18 to 28

You’ll need to pass the Royal Navy recruitment process.

You could get experience by volunteering with the Royal Marine Reserves.

If you’re 13 to 18 you could volunteer with the Royal Marine Cadets.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • resilience, resourcefulness and a determination to succeed
  • the ability to work and live in close proximity to others
  • the ability to follow orders
  • the ability to think and react quickly under pressure
  • practical skills

3. What you'll do

Once you’ve completed your initial training you’ll become a general duties marine, based in a unit like:

  • 3 Commando Brigade – responding to emergencies around the world as part of the Joint Rapid Reaction Force
  • Fleet Protection Group – supporting the navy and protecting UK nuclear weapons
  • Fleet Standby Rifle Troop – trained to board ships at sea

After 2 years, you’ll train in a specialist area, like:

  • aircrewman – working with helicopters, flying reconnaissance missions or getting supplies to the frontline
  • communication technician – using electronic equipment to listen to enemy radio activity
  • assault engineer – building bridges, obstacles and using explosives
  • signaller – providing communications between land, sea, and air and commandos in the field
  • chef – feeding commandos whatever the conditions or environment

You could go on to join the special boat service (SBS), the Royal Navy branch of the UK Special Forces who perform military operations at sea and on land.

4. Salary

Starter: £14,750 to £18,000 (qualified)

Experienced: up to £29,000

Highly Experienced: up to £47,000 (Warrant Officer)

Extra allowances are paid when you’re away from your family and on special service. 

Medical and dental care is free. 

Where housing is provided, deductions may be made from your salary.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work shifts and be on call at all times. During exercises and operations, your hours may be long and irregular.

You must be prepared to go wherever you’re needed around the world, and for long periods away from home.

Your work and training could take place in all conditions, and will be physically and mentally challenging. You may sometimes be working in dangerous combat situations.

6. Career path and progression

You could advance to the rank of Corporal and then on to Sergeant and Warrant Officer.

You could also gain a commission to become an officer which would give you a higher salary.

You could move into a wide range of careers once you leave the marines. The Career Transition Partnership and Quest have information on careers outside the armed forces.

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Last updated: 05 May 2017