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Royal Navy officer

Alternative titles for this job include

Royal Navy officers manage ship and submarine operations and are responsible for all personnel under their command.

Average salary (a year)

£31,000 Starter


£57,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

Variable variable

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays away from home

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Royal Navy officer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • applying directly


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:

  • a degree in science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) to be an air engineering officer
  • an approved degree in medicine to join as a medical officer
  • 3 years' post-ordination experience and a theological degree to be a chaplain

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, Devon, to begin officer training.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

More Information


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 18 and 42
  • 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.

Direct Application

You can apply directly for officer training.

You'll need a minimum of:

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.

More Information

Career tips

You will need to pass physical fitness assessments, including swimming, to be accepted into the Royal Navy. Get fit to Join has information on how to check your current fitness and how to improve to the level required.

Further information

You'll find more details about how to become an officer from Royal Navy Careers.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • leadership skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • 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:

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As a Royal Navy officer, your duties will depend on your role. 

You could:

  • gather intelligence to support operations planning
  • navigate a ship or submarine
  • pilot aircraft and helicopters
  • manage the maintenance of a vessel's engines, weapons systems and communications
  • co-ordinate the delivery of supplies and equipment
  • provide medical care to staff and their families on ships, submarines and ashore

Working environment

You could work at a military base, on a ship or in a warzone.

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

You may need to wear a uniform and protective clothing.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience you could be promoted to sub-lieutenant, lieutenant, commander and the higher ranks.

Throughout your navy career, you'll have the opportunity to gain qualifications in your area of expertise.

On leaving active service, you could use your skills, qualifications and experience to go into a new career. You can find details about support and opportunities from:

Current opportunities

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Current opportunities

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