RAF officer

Royal Air Force (RAF) officers manage teams of airmen and airwomen. They also carry out flying duties or work in specialist ground support.

Average salary (a year)

£27,273 Starter

to

£42,009 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

Variable variable

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays away from home

How to become an RAF officer

You can get into this job through:

  • applying directly

Volunteering and experience

You can 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
  • 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.

Direct application

You can apply directly for RAF officer training.

You'll need a minimum of:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English and maths, and a science for some roles
  • 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 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.

More information

Further information

You'll find more details about how to become an officer through RAF Careers.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • leadership skills to manage and motivate teams
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • thinking and reasoning skills for making quick decisions
  • persistence and determination
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • concentration skills
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

Restrictions and requirements

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
  • pass a medical check
  • pass enhanced background checks
  • pass security checks

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties will depend on your job. Roles you might work in include:

  • pilot and weapons systems officer - taking part in flying sorties, reconnaissance, and search and rescue duties
  • air traffic and aerospace flight operations officer - providing target information, coordinating refuelling, digitally mapping terrain and planning missions
  • aircraft and communications engineer - commissioning new aircraft, servicing fleets and managing resources
  • catering, security or training officer - providing day-to-day services for staff at base and in the field
  • medical, dental or nursing officer - managing specialist teams supporting the service

Working environment

You could work in a warzone or at a military base.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers and physically and emotionally demanding.

Career path and progression

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.

The Career Transition Partnership, Quest and Troops to Teachers have more information on careers outside the armed forces.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for an RAF officer right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Uniformed Services - Uniformed Public Services Level 3

  • Provider: DN Colleges Group
  • Start date: 02 September 2019
  • Location: Doncaster

Uniformed Public Services - NCFE Level 1 Diploma

  • Provider: CITY OF LIVERPOOL COLLEGE
  • Start date: 02 September 2019
  • Location: LIVERPOOL

JobsIn the United Kingdom

The Find a job service can help you with your search for jobs and send alerts when new jobs become available.

Exam results helpline

Received your exam results? Speak to a careers adviser for advice on the options available to you.

Call 0800 100 900 from 8am to 10pm, 7 days a week.

Calls are free from landlines and most mobile numbers.

Follow us on Twitter for more support.

Skills assessment

Take an assessment to learn more about your skills and the careers that might suit you.

Get help using this service

Call 0800 100 900 or use webchat

8am to 10pm, 7 days a week

More ways to contact us

Is this page useful?

Yes No