Airforce Airman or Airwoman

Job Description:

Air Force airmen and airwomen use specialist skills for support roles in defence and peacekeeping missions.

Job Category:
Aerospace & Defence

What you will do:

Your day-to-day duties will vary depending on your role. You could:

  • operate aircraft weapon systems
  • be responsible for keeping explosives and munitions safe
  • keep communications networks secure
  • plan menus and prepare meals in the mess or a field kitchen
  • provide security and defence in areas like firefighting and the RAF police
  • provide medical support in dental, nursing, medical and laboratory roles
  • work in admin roles like training or recruitment
  • coordinate airspace and aircraft operations
  • analyse data or photographic intelligence
  • deliver equipment to the frontline


You’ll need:

  • physical fitness and endurance
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
  • to pass a medical check
  • to pass security checks
  • to pass enhanced background checks

As well as:

  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to work well with others in a team (teamwork)
  • concentration skills and quick reactions
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be flexible and open to change (adaptability skills)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become am Air force airman or airwoman you typically need to have completed your secondary education qualifications.

  1. English Language: English is essential for communication and understanding instructions, both of which are critical in any RAF role.
  2. Mathematics: Mathematics skills are important for various aspects of RAF work, including technical roles and aviation-related positions.
  3. Science: Depending on the specific role you’re interested in, having studied science subjects like Physics, Chemistry, or Biology can be advantageous, particularly for technical or engineering roles.
  4. Physical Education (PE): Physical fitness is a crucial aspect of Air Force training, so a good foundation in PE or a similar subject can be beneficial.
  5. Information Technology (IT): Many modern Air Force roles involve working with advanced technology and computer systems, so IT skills can be valuable.
  6. Foreign Languages: While not a strict requirement, having proficiency in a foreign language can be an asset, especially if you’re interested in certain intelligence or communication roles.

It’s important to note that the specific requirements may vary depending on the entry level and the specific trade or job you’re interested in within the Air Force. Additionally, the Air Force may have updated requirements and it is recommend to visit the official Air Force website for the most up-to-date information.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • a volunteer programme
  • applying directly


You could apply to join the Air Force through a serviceperson intermediate apprenticeship.

You’ll still need to apply directly to the Air Force to discuss which is the best apprenticeship route for you. This will depend on your qualifications and which service role you’re interested in.


You can join the Air Force Reserve to get some experience of what life is like in the air force and to learn new skills.

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 key skills that the RAF will be looking for in their recruitment selection process, should you go on to apply.

Direct Application

You can apply directly to join the RAF.
If your initial application is accepted, you’ll be invited to talk to someone at your local armed forces careers office about what you want to do, and take an aptitude test.

If you successfully complete the initial stage, you’ll be invited to attend further interviews and assessments, which include fitness and medical tests.

Working Hours and Environment:

Your weekly work hours are variable, and you could work evenings / weekends / bank holidays away from home.

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

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.

Career Path & Progression:

As an airman or airwoman you could move up the ranks to a more senior position like corporal or sergeant. You could also apply to become a commissioned officer.

You could go into a wide range of careers once you leave the Air Force, depending on your skills, training and qualifications.