Job type

RAF officer

£27k - £42k

Typical salary

37 – 40

Hours per week

Royal Air Force (RAF) officers carry out flying duties, and lead and manage teams of airmen and airwomen.

More info

  • Carry out flying duties, and lead and manage teams
  • You'll need the ability to inspire and motivate others
  • You could move from pilot officer to flying officer, then flight lieutenant


As an RAF officer your day-to-day duties will depend on your job.

If you're a pilot and weapons systems officer, you'll:

  • Take part in flying sorties, reconnaissance, and search and rescue duties.

As an air traffic and aerospace flight operations officer, you'll:

  • Provide target information
  • Coordinate refuelling
  • Digitally map terrain
  • Plan missions

As an aircraft and communications engineer, you'll:

  • Commission new aircraft
  • Service fleets
  • Manage resources

If you're a catering, security or training officer, you'll:

  • Provide day-to-day services for staff at base and in the field

As a medical, dental or nursing officer, you'll:

  • Manage specialist teams supporting the service


Your hours will depend on your role. In some jobs you'll work 9am to 5pm over a 5-day week, although you may need to be on-call at all times.

For other roles you'll work shifts, weekends, and public holidays. If you're on exercises or involved in operations, your working hours will be longer and more irregular. 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 outdoors in all weathers and physically and emotionally demanding.

You'll need

This role would be ideal for someone with the ability to inspire and motivate others, self-discipline and confidence, leadership qualities, teamworking skills, good communication skills, the ability to operate advanced technical equipment, and good organisational skills.

To join the Royal Air Force (RAF) as an officer, you'll need to be over 17.5 years of age, be a British citizen, a citizen of a Commonwealth country or the Republic of Ireland, have a good level of fitness, and pass a medical check, enhanced background checks and security checks.

You can apply directly for RAF officer training if you have a minimum of 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English and maths, and a science for some roles and 2 A levels or equivalent. If your application is accepted, you'll be invited to talk to someone at your local armed forces careers office about what you want to do. You'll also need to take an aptitude test. If you're successful, you'll be invited to attend the Officers and Aircrew Selection Centre at RAF College, Cranwell in Lincolnshire. You'll take part in a 3-day selection process which includes tests for aptitude, initiative and fitness. You'll then have an interview and a medical examination.

You can also join the RAF Reserve as a part-time officer. This will give you experience of what life is like in the air force, and you'll learn new skills at the same time. 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 skills you'll need in the RAF recruitment process.


With experience, you could move up the ranks, for example from pilot officer to flying officer, then flight lieutenant or higher. You could go into a wide range of careers once you leave the RAF. Your career choices will depend on your skills, training and qualifications you've developed during your service.