Royal Navy officers serve onboard ships, submarines and onshore in establishments like the naval base at Faslane. They lead and manage teams of naval ratings. They have responsibility for the training, welfare and discipline of the men and women under their command.
You can choose from 19 officer jobs from the six branches:
warfare – navigating ships and operating defence and combat systems
engineering – includes marine, weapon, training management and information systems engineers
medical – includes medical, nursing and dental officers
aviation (Fleet Air Arm) – includes air engineer, air traffic control and aircrew officers (pilots and observers)
logistics and administration – getting personnel and supplies to the right place at the right time
chaplaincy - Naval Chaplains.
You could be:
leading your team in combat operations at sea
organising exercises at sea, at home or abroad, to practise for battle
leading your team in peacekeeping and humanitarian operations
assisting in search and rescue when there are disasters at sea
participating in drug trafficking enforcement
supervising the maintenance of a ship's propulsion system
doing administrative work at your base in the UK or abroad
carrying out other duties, which vary according to the branch of service and area of duty.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
what job you do.
The starting salary for a Royal Navy Officer when joining Britannia Royal Navy College is £27,272 a year. After training and experience, you could go on to earn £32,780 a year.
Sub-Lieutenant - £33,931
Lieutenant - £42,009
Captain - £98,909.
You get extra allowances in some jobs and for being overseas.
The Royal Navy provides subsidised food and accommodation, uniforms and protective clothing, free healthcare and a pension.
You may be away from home and family for several months on end.
You are entitled to 6 weeks annual leave plus public holidays. You will also get an extra allowance for time spent at sea.
You can be sent anywhere in the UK or abroad, sometimes at short notice.
At sea, conditions may be freezing cold, stormy, windy and wet.
Hours might be irregular and you might have to work shifts.
Space for living and working on ships, and particularly on submarines, is limited.
It is not always adventurous and exciting; there is a lot of routine work.
You need 96 UCAS tariff points (3-4 Highers, depending on the grades) plus 5 subjects at National 5 including English and Maths. There are some Royal Navy scholarships for school students taking Highers.
For some roles you require a degree, for example Air Engineer Officer or Dental Officer. There are some Royal Navy cadetships and bursaries for students taking a degree.
You must meet residency and nationality requirements – they are shown on the Royal Navy website.
You must be aged between 16 and 39 – the upper age limit varies according to your chosen specialism and depends on entry route and type of commission.
If you are under 18, you need permission from a parent or guardian.
You must be fit and healthy, and have good eyesight – there is a strict medical examination.
You must be at least 145cm, or 157cm for the submarine service, and your weight must be in proportion to your height. You need a BMI of between 18 and 28 (between 17 and 27 if you are under 18).
The selection process can vary depending on the role you apply for, but generally includes:
the Defence Aptitude Assessment (DAA), which includes English, maths and problem solving skills (sample test available on Royal Navy website)
an informal interview with a local Royal Navy or Armed Forces recruitment office
medical and eye tests
a pre-joining fitness test
a formal interview
the Admiralty Interview Board, which takes place over a day and a half and includes a wide range of tests and assessments and an interview.
If you are accepted:
you start an Initial Commission of 12 years but you can get an extension for up to 20 years or age 40, whichever is later.
the conditions on leaving and how much notice is required vary depending on which branch or specialism you are in. The Royal Navy or Armed Forces recruitment offices would advise on this.
able to take responsibility and inspire confidence
a good leader and able to enforce discipline
courageous and self-disciplined
resilient and resourceful
able to remain calm under pressure and work effectively even during conflict
able to react quickly and make decisions under pressure
able to handle complex information
able to work alone and also as part of a team.
You should also have:
a sense of adventure
excellent communication skills
excellent organisational skills
good physical and mental stamina.
Your initial training mainly takes place at the Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) in Dartmouth, but also at HMS Raleigh and at sea, which lasts 30 weeks.
Officer training consists of two parts: Phase 1, Basic Training, also known as Initial Naval Training (Officer) (INT(O)) is two 15-week courses carried out at BRNC; this is followed by Phase 2, Professional Training tailored to meet the requirements of your chosen specialisation.
To help you stay at the top of your game, you will continue to develop your skills throughout your career.
You will be selected for a further commission 2-3 years after you have finished your initial training.
There is a clearly defined promotion route from midshipman to sub lieutenant, lieutenant, lieutenant commander, commander and beyond.
Experience in the Royal Navy can be useful for a variety of jobs after you leave.
For detailed information about the Royal Navy phone 0345 607 5555 or visit its website.