Job type

RAF airman / airwoman

£15k - £35k

Typical salary

37 – 40

Hours per week

Royal Air Force (RAF) airmen and airwomen use specialist skills for support roles in defence and peacekeeping missions.

More info

  • Use specialist skills to work in a wide range of roles, mainly on the ground
  • You'll need the ability to follow orders & initiative to make decisions
  • You can apply to become a commissioned officer

Your exact role will depend on your specialist skill or trade. You'll also carry out military tasks like guard duties, and take part in military exercises and training.


You'll provide specialist support in one of the following areas:

  • Aircrew including non-commissioned aircrew and weapon systems operators
  • Engineering and technical roles like aircraft technician
  • Catering and hospitality jobs like catering officer
  • Security and defence in areas like firefighting and the RAF police
  • Medical and medical support work in dental, nursing, medical and laboratory roles
  • Personnel support, including administration and training
  • Air operations support, like air traffic controllers
  • Communications and intelligence roles like photographer and intelligence analyst
  • Logistics and equipment, including driver and supply officer roles


You could work at a military base or in a warzone. You're likely to be on-call at all times. You may be posted to RAF bases anywhere in the UK or overseas. You'll need to be prepared to go into combat zones at any time, where you'll be working in difficult, dangerous and sometimes life-threatening situations. Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.

You'll need

This role would be ideal for someone with the ability to follow orders, initiative to make decisions, the ability to stay calm under pressure, good organisational skills, and attention to detail.

You'll need to be at least aged 16, a citizen of the UK, Republic of Ireland or the Commonwealth, have a good level of fitness, pass a medical check, pass security checks and pass enhanced background checks.

You can apply directly to join the RAF if you have at least 3 GCSEs grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) including English and maths, and a science for some roles. If your initial application is accepted, you'll be invited to talk to someone at your local armed forces careers office about what you want to do, and take an aptitude test. If you successfully complete the initial stage, you'll be invited to attend further interviews and assessments, which include fitness and medical tests.

Alternatively you could apply to join the RAF through an HM forces serviceperson intermediate apprenticeship. You'll still need to apply directly to the RAF to discuss which is the best apprenticeship route for you. This will depend on your qualifications and which service role you're interested in.

You can join the RAF Reserve to get some experience of what life is like in the air force and to learn new skills. You'll need to be between 18 and 54, commit to at least 27 days a year and attend a 2-week training camp each year. If you're between 13 and 18 years old, you can join the Air Cadets. You'll visit RAF bases and develop some of the key skills that the RAF will be looking for in their recruitment selection process should you go on to apply.


As an airman or airwoman you could move up the ranks to a more senior position like corporal or sergeant. You could also apply to become a commissioned officer. You could go into a wide range of careers once you leave the RAF, depending on your skills, training and qualifications. The Career Transition Partnership, Quest and Troops to Teachers have more information on careers outside the armed forces.