Royal Navy Officer Careers

How to become Royal Navy Officer

What does a Royal Navy Officer do?

Royal Navy officers may work on ships, submarines, aircraft, naval air stations and shore establishments. They are responsible for the management of non-commissioned personnel, looking after their welfare, career development and discipline. They are also trained in one of a variety of specialist operational roles, including:

  • warfare officer
  • engineer officer
  • logistics officer
  • aircrew officer
  • air traffic controller
  • submarine warfare officer
  • information systems officer
  • training management officer.
Officers who carry out their own professions include medical and dental officers, chaplains, and nursing officers in the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service (QARNNS).

Duties will vary depending on the officer's specialist role. Detail of the roles can be found on the Royal Navy website (see Further Information).

What's the working environment like working as a Royal Navy Officer?

Royal Navy officers are on call 24 hours a day, generally working eight-hour duty shifts. This can include weekends and public holidays.

While serving at sea, officers may be separated from their families for several months. Officers must be prepared to move within the UK and overseas.

What does it take to become a Royal Navy Officer?

To be a Royal Navy officer you should:

  • be a resilient, resourceful leader, able to inspire and motivate your team
  • have self-discipline, confidence and determination
  • be able to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the men and women in your command
  • have the ability to think and react quickly
  • be ready to accept responsibility and make decisions
  • be able to communicate with people at all levels
  • be physically very fit with a good level of stamina
  • be prepared to operate in dangerous combat situations
  • have an interest in science and technology.

Royal Navy Officer Career Opportunities

The Royal Navy recruits around 500 new officers each year. All jobs are available to women as well as men apart from submarines and clearance diving.

As a Royal Navy officer, you could expect a new appointment every two or three years.

Officers advance through a structured system from midshipman/woman (aged 17 to 26); through sub lieutenant (aged 20 upwards); lieutenant; lieutenant commander; commander; captain (usually reached by around age 45); to admiral. Speed of promotion depends on a number of factors, including ability, qualifications and training.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Royal Navy Officer 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. The addresses of these can be found in telephone directories (listed under armed services and reserve forces and careers advice/careers guidance services).

The Royal Navy

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

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