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How to become a Royal Marines Commando

royal marines commando careers

What does a Royal Marines Commando do?

Royal Marines act as the emergency strike force of the Royal Navy. They are trained to very high standards for front-line combat on land and at sea, and are sent at short notice to deal with emergency situations. These may include military operations or natural disasters.

Those who join as musicians or buglers are not commando-trained and serve only with the Royal Marines Band Service.

When training is completed, most Royal Marines join a commando unit of around 700 men, where they serve as a rifleman in a troop. Some may join a ship’s detachment. Newly trained recruits join the General Duties specialism. Later, they can specialise in one of 26 trades, a full list is available on the Royal Navy website (see Further Information). It is possible to specialise in some roles directly after commando training through the Direct Specialisation Scheme (DSS), for example:

  • drivers
  • heavy weapons specialists
  • vehicle mechanics
  • signals.

What's the working environment like working as a Royal Marines Commando?

Royal Marines commandos usually work shifts and are on call at all times. During exercises and operations, hours may be long and irregular.

Marines must be prepared to go wherever they are needed around the world, which may mean long periods away from home.

Marines will work in a very wide variety of conditions and weather extremes.

What does it take to become a Royal Marines Commando?

As a Royal Marines commando, you should:

  • be resilient, resourceful and determined to succeed
  • be able to work as part of a team, living and working closely with other people
  • be self-disciplined and confident
  • be able to follow orders
  • think and react quickly under pressure
  • use your own initiative, accept responsibility, make decisions and manage people well
  • be good at practical tasks
  • be physically very fit, with high energy levels and stamina
  • be prepared to work in dangerous combat situations.

Royal Marines Commando Career Opportunities

The Royal Marines recruit new commandos and band members each year. Suitable applicants are always in demand, but entry is very competitive.

Marines typically advance to the rank of corporal after a few years of service and then on to sergeant. It is possible to gain a commission to become an officer from the ranks (see Royal Marines Officer profile).

Marines usually obtain qualifications as part of their work which are acceptable to civilian employers.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Royal Marines Commando that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Free leaflets and advice are available from all local armed forces careers offices (AFCOs). The addresses of these can be found in telephone directories listed under Naval Establishment.

The Royal Navy
Careers Enquiries: 0845 607 5555

Armed Forces Careers Office (NI)
Royal Navy and Royal Marines
Palace Barracks
Co Down
BT18 9RA
Tel: 028 9042 7040

Facts and Stats:

  • The Ministry of Defence is British Industry''s largest single customer
  • Every year, civil servants are responsible for public spending of around £300bn
  • If every MP turned up at the chambers of the House of Commons at the same time, there would not be enough seats for them all to sit down