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Soldier Army soldier, army NCO, army reserve

Soldiers take part in peacekeeping missions, support humanitarian efforts or fight in combat zones around the world. They may do this in front line or support roles.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £14,637 to £27,054 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll need to:

You won't need any qualifications unless you're applying for a technical role such as engineering or communications.

Men and women can apply to join the army, although some units, like the Infantry only recruit men.

The army recruitment process involves a number of stages.

Army Reserve

To join the Army Reserve, you'll need to:

  • be between 18 and 49 - there are higher age limits for specialised roles
  • serve at least 19 or 27 days (depending on your unit) each year
  • attend a two-week training camp each year

Army Cadet Force

You'll need to be between 12 and 18 to join the Army Cadet Force.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • excellent teamworking and communications skills
  • the ability to think and act quickly under extreme pressure
  • to be able to understand and follow instructions

If you want to join a specialist unit such as the Corps of Royal Engineers, you'll need the practical and technical skills they require.

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day duties will depend on your job, the unit you join, and whether you work in a combat or non-combat role.

4. Salary

Starter: £14,637 (while training)

Experienced: £18,125 (trained soldier)

Highly Experienced: £27,054 (Corporal)

You could also get a 'Golden Hello' payment of between £1,250 and £2,500 if you have certain qualifications and skills the army needs. Soldiers in some roles will be paid a further £4,500 after specialist training.

You’ll also get help towards the cost of food and housing.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

Your working hours will depend on which part of the armed forces you work in. Your normal working hours will usually be 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. During exercises and operations you may work long and irregular hours.

You could be posted in the UK or overseas and may be away from your family for long periods of time.

Depending on your role and regiment, you may be based in an office, engineering workshop or field hospital.

6. Career path and progression

The Army offers training and apprenticeships in a wide variety of skills and trades. With training and experience you could move up through the ranks or into a specialist technical or managerial role.

Last updated: 10 October 2016