Job type

Royal Navy officer

£27k - £45k

Typical salary

40 – 50

Hours per week

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.

More info

  • Manage the day-to-day operations of ships and submarines
  • You'll need leadership skills and the ability to assess those under your command
  • You could be promoted to sub-lieutenant, lieutenant and higher ranks

As a Royal Navy officer, 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
  • Navy pilot - flying aircraft and helicopter
  • 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


You could work at a military base, in a warzone or on a ship. Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding and outdoors in all weathers. You may need to wear a uniform and protective clothing. You'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.

You'll need

This role would be ideal for someone with 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, and the ability to operate effectively in combat situations.

You'll need to be a British citizen, a citizen of a Commonwealth country or the Republic of Ireland, be at least 151.5cm tall, have a good level of fitness, pass a medical check, pass security checks and pass enhanced background checks for this role.

You can apply directly for officer training if you have a minimum of 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths and 2 A levels or equivalent. Age limits vary depending on which officer role you're interested in. 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 have a medical and fitness check. There will be further assessments and interviews to complete and if you're successful, you'll be offered a place on a full officer training programme.

If you have a degree, you can apply through the Direct Graduate Entry route. For some officer roles you'll need specific qualifications and experience, for example, as an air engineering officer, you'll need an engineering degree, to join the medical support services as a doctor, you need to have or be working towards an approved degree in medicine, and to be a chaplain you must be ordained with 3 years' experience and have a theological degree. You can start applying before you finish your studies, as the process can take up to 6 months. If you're accepted, you'll attend Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth to begin officer training.

You can join the Royal Navy Reserve to get some experience of what life is like in the service, and to learn new skills at the same time. You'll need to be between the ages of 16 and 42 and able to commit to basic training which includes a 2-week course at Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth. If you're between 12 and 18 years old, you can join the Sea Cadets.


With experience you could be promoted to sub-lieutenant, lieutenant and the higher ranks. You can go into a wide range of careers after leaving the navy. The type of career open to you will depend on the skills, training and qualifications you've gained while serving. The Career Transition Partnership, Quest and Troops to Teachers have more information on careers outside the armed forces.