Working in the armed forces with a degree (or similar)

With a degree, you can enter as an officer in the Royal Navy (including Royal Marines), the British Army, RAF or Merchant Navy.

After several months of training, you will command a group of Royal Navy ratings, British Army soldiers or RAF airmen/women. You may have a specialism too, for example in engineering, accountancy, catering or logistics.

Example jobs

Royal Navy officer
Including engineer on a ship or submarine, weapons or Royal Marines.

British Army officer
Including engineer, transport, admin, education or medical officer.

RAF officer
For example, logistics officer, pilot or air traffic controller.

Approximate pay levels

Figures supplied as a guide only

Salaries rise in line with promotion and experience. Your training salary will be lower than the salaries shown here.

Food and accommodation are provided. The cost is taken from your pay.

Pay levels graph

Typical working conditions

  • Some jobs are mainly indoors and office-based, while others involve a mix of indoor and outdoor work.
  • Conditions in a ship, submarine or aircraft can be cramped.
  • Working hours may be long, especially when training or on operational duty, and the work can be very fast-paced.

Qualifications needed

Your degree can be in any subject, although some specialisms require a particular degree, such as engineering. You need to be self-reliant and able to make quick decisions under pressure. You also need to show that you have leadership qualities. There are age limits.

Career path

After training you will start as a junior officer and progress to more senior ranks. You will gradually take command of more people and more complex situations. For some promotions there are exams. You may also study for qualifications in your specialism or for management qualifications.

Useful links

Pearson is not responsible for content on external websites.

The Royal Navy

The British Army

The Royal Air Force