Royal Navy officer
Royal Navy officers manage the day-to-day operations of ships and submarines, and are responsible for the welfare, training and development of the people under their command.
1. Entry requirements
To start Royal Navy officer training you'll need:
- to be 17 or over
- at least 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English and maths
- at least 2 A levels
- to be at least 151.5cm tall
- to be a British, Irish or Commonwealth citizen
- to be in good health and physically fit
- If you’ve a degree you could join the Royal Navy’s graduate programme
You’ll need specific qualifications for some officer roles, like:
- as an air engineering officer, you'll need an engineering degree
- to join the medical support services as a doctor, you’ll need (or be working towards) an approved degree in medicine and registration with the General Medical Council
- to be a chaplain you must be ordained, recommended by your church and have 3 or more years’ experience
When you apply, you’ll be put through a series of selection tests, a medical examination and an interview.
You’ll need clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
You’ll also need a full security check.
Royal Navy Careers has information on the full range of officer specialisms.
2. Skills required
- leadership skills and the ability to assess those under your command
- resilience and resourcefulness
- self-discipline, confidence and determination
- the ability to assess the strengths and weaknesses of those under your command
- good physical fitness levels and stamina
- the ability to operate effectively in combat situations
3. What you'll do
You’ll work on board ships and submarines in all types of situations, from combat exercises at sea to humanitarian operations.
You’ll be responsible for the welfare and management of those serving in your squadron or unit. You’ll also have a specialist role, like:
- warfare officer – controlling weapons and defence systems, and assisting with navigation
- air fleet officer – as part of ground support, making sure the ship’s aircraft are ready to fly when needed, or as a Navy pilot flying aircraft and helicopters
- engineering officer – overseeing the maintenance of a vessel's engines, weapon delivery systems, detection sensors and communications equipment
- logistics officer – managing the control and delivery of supplies and equipment
- medical or nursing officer – providing medical care to staff and their families on ships, submarines and ashore
Experienced: £34,000 to £39,000 (depending on rank)
Highly Experienced: £79,000 (commander)
These figures are a guide.
5. Working hours, patterns and environmentYou’ll usually be on call 24 hours a day, and work 8-hour shifts, including weekends and public holidays.
You must be prepared to move within the UK and overseas. Whilst serving at sea, you may be away from home for several months at a time, sometimes working in dangerous situations.
6. Career path and progressionWith experience you could be promoted to sub-lieutenant, lieutenant and higher ranks.
When you leave the Navy, you could move into a wide range of careers including management or teaching.
The type of career open to you will depend on the skills, training and qualifications you gained whilst serving.
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Last updated: 13 September 2017