Army Officer

Job Description:

Army officers command, manage and motivate teams of soldiers.

Job Category:
Aerospace & Defence

What you will do:

Your day-to-day duties will depend on your role.

In a combat role you could:

  • command an infantry platoon on operations
  • pilot a helicopter and lead your crew and ground troops
  • take charge of a tank troop and their vehicles
  • lead an artillery team

In a medical or healthcare role, you could:

  • care for injured soldiers as an adult nurse
  • provide dental care for army personnel and their families
  • work with military animals as a veterinary officer

You could also:

  • manage the supply of things like petrol and ammunition
  • manage engineering projects
  • specialise in intelligence and security
  • manage military police soldiers
  • provide support and guidance to soldiers and their families as a chaplain



You’ll need:

  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • leadership skills to manage and motivate soldiers
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • thinking and reasoning skills for making quick decisions
  • persistence and determination
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • concentration skills and fast reactions (adaptable)
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • the ability to work well with others in a team (teamwork)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become an Army officer, you don’t need specific GCSE subjects, but certain subjects and skills can be beneficial for pursuing a career as an officer in the Army. These subjects and skills can help you prepare for the academic and leadership aspects of military training. Here are some relevant GCSE subjects and skills:

  1. Mathematics: Strong math skills are essential for various aspects of military service, including navigation, logistics, and technical roles.
  2. Physics: Physics principles are important for understanding technology, mechanics, and systems used in the Army, especially in engineering and technical roles.
  3. Physical Education (PE) and Sports: Physical fitness is a critical aspect of military training. Engaging in sports and physical education can help you develop the stamina, strength, and agility required for military service.
  4. English: Good communication skills, including reading and writing, are vital for effective leadership, clear orders, and documentation.
  5. Geography: Geography knowledge can be beneficial for navigation, understanding terrain, and planning military operations.
  6. History: A basic understanding of history can provide insights into military strategy, tactics, and the historical context of armed conflicts.

While specific GCSE subjects can be helpful, becoming an Army officer generally involves further education and training through a military academy or officer training program. The specific requirements and processes can vary by country and armed service branch.

Post School

You could get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • volunteering
  • applying directly

You can do a degree course before you apply for officer training although it’s not essential.

You could work towards this role by doing a relevant subjects likea  Diploma in Public Services (Level 2 or 3 in the UK). This would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this career.

You can work towards this role by starting with an intermediate apprenticeship as a Serviceperson in the Forces.

You’ll need to apply directly to the army to find the best apprenticeship route for you.

You can join the army reserve as a part-time officer to get some experience of what life is like in the regular army and to learn new skills at the same time.

You’ll need to:

  • be between 18 and 49
  • commit to at least 19 or 27 days a year, depending on your unit
  • attend a 2-week training camp each year

Direct Application
You can apply directly for officer training.

You’ll need to:

  • be between 17 years 9 months and 28 years and 11 months
  • get a GP’s medical report

In the UK, you’ll also usually need a minimum of:

  • GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths, science or a foreign language
  • 2 A levels or equivalent

You’ll be invited to talk to someone at your local army careers centre about what you want to do. You’ll then attend an assessment, which includes medical and fitness tests.

Working Hours and Environment:

You could work at a military base, be based overseas 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 & Progression:

With training and experience, you could rise up through the ranks from lieutenant to captain, major, colonel and beyond.

On leaving active service, you could use your skills, qualifications and experience to go into a new career, for example in management, planning or teaching.

In the UK, the Officers’ Association gives advice and support to officers on finding a career outside the army.