How to Become an Army Officer

How to Become an Army Officer

How to Become an Army Officer
Sahil Dahal

Becoming an army officer involves developing essential leadership skills as a core value and benefit. The army rigorously trains its officers to delegate tasks to subordinates, ensure that juniors meet high work standards, and effectively plan organizational activities. This article sheds light on the requirements for becoming an army officer, their duties, salary, and the path to achieving this career goal.

How to Become an Army Officer

If you aspire to have a fulfilling career as a soldier, understanding how to become an army officer is crucial. The military offers openings at various ranks, catering to individuals with diverse qualifications and experience levels. These ranks reflect an individual's tenure working within and outside the army. Here are the steps to guide you in becoming an army officer:

Join as a Direct Entry (Regular Officer)

Direct entry officers are candidates who apply directly to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) after completing their secondary education, university, or college studies. They do not pursue other routes, such as the Army Officer Internship or Scholarship/Bursaries. You will typically live and work on an army base as a full-time officer.

Attend a University Offering Army Training

Many individuals attend the RMAS, commonly known as Sandhurst, to become an army officer. Sandhurst is a competitive institution with many applicants seeking admission each year. While having a university degree can enhance your chances of admission, it is not mandatory. Engaging in military-sponsored programs and joining army reserves during university can be advantageous. For instance, you can take relevant courses to acquire the knowledge and skills required for this career. Additionally, having a university education provides access to the University Officers' Training Corps (UOTC).

The University Officers' Training Corps (UOTC) is an army reserve unit that recruits university students. UOTC participants undergo reserve officer training programs tailored to their academic disciplines. These programs cover fundamental aspects of the military lifestyle, from uniform regulations to leadership development within the army. Engaging in the UOTC allows you to acquire widely recognized leadership training. Requirements for joining the UOTC include:

Application: Contact the nearest UOTC, complete the medical and application process, and commence training.

Nationality: You must be a British Citizen, a citizen of the Irish Republic, or a member of the Commonwealth with indefinite leave to remain (student visas are not included).

Education: You should be enrolled in a university or college and have completed higher education.

Medical Condition: Be prepared to provide a medical history from your GP during enlistment to determine eligibility.

Age: You must be at least 18 years old.

Attend the Army Foundation College

Individuals aged 16-17 can enter the army through the Army Foundation College. This program involves enrolling in the college as a paid soldier and undergoing training until age 18. The duration of training is 20 weeks for short-term courses and 40 weeks for long-term courses. This is another pathway to join the army, albeit as a non-commissioned officer. Many non-commissioned officers in the army follow this route, and while serving as a soldier, you can apply to become a commissioned officer.

Earn a Degree

A university degree can also enhance your admission prospects to the Royal Military Academy. Pursuing relevant subjects, such as a Diploma in Public Service, can equip you with the necessary skills for this career. Requirements for joining the academy after completing your degree include:

  • At least two GCSEs with grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) or equivalent for a level 2 course.
  • Four to five GCSEs with grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent for a level 3 course.

Joining through Army Officer Internship

The Army Officer Internship program provides candidates with hands-on experience as an army officer. This program lasts six to 18 months and can be pursued during, before, or after university or higher education. Initially, participants undergo leadership training and lectures at RMAS, followed by further training tailored to their army roles. Afterward, they are attached to an army unit for six to 18 months, performing regular duties.

Army internships offer unique leadership training, providing insight and knowledge about the daily responsibilities of an officer, including leading up to 30 troops. Participants receive earnings throughout their internship and engage in adventurous sporting activities and military training, though they are not deployed on active operations. To qualify for an internship, you may need to meet the following requirements:

Age: Between 17 years, nine months, and 28 years.

Education: Hold or anticipate gaining 72 UCAS points or equivalent and possess 35 ALIS points, including at least C/4 grades in Mathematics, English language, a science subject, and a foreign language.

Physical Fitness: Achieve a high level of physical fitness to pass all necessary tests.

Application: Once you meet all the requirements, submit your online application between August 1st and December 31st. After completing your application, you may be registered for the Army's Officer Selection at Westbury.

Joining the Army as a Professionally Qualified Officer (P.Q.O)

The army requires professionals such as doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, and other specialists with relevant degrees and experience. If you are already a qualified professional, the army may send you for a ten-week course at Sandhurst to become an officer before joining your corps. If you are pursuing your qualification and intend to serve in the military afterward, you can qualify for a bursary scholarship to support your studies.

Also Read: How to Become an Architectural Engineer

How to Apply to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst

The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst has specific application requirements. Here are the steps to follow when applying to the academy:

Apply Online

Begin by expressing your interest in joining, providing details such as your age and nationality. This information will help determine the roles you can apply for and whether you are eligible to join. You can then register online, beginning your army career journey.


After completing your registration, your local recruiter may invite you for an interview. During this interview, they will assess your compatibility with the army and answer any questions you may have. Your local recruiter can also offer guidance on preparing for the next stage: the Army Officer Selection Board.

Complete the Army Officer Selection Board (AOSB) – Stage 1

The initial assessment takes place over 24 hours at Westbury. It serves as an opportunity to gauge your suitability for the army lifestyle and prepares you for the subsequent Main Board stage. During this stage, you will be evaluated on teamwork, practical abilities, physical fitness, and leadership skills.

Complete the AOSB Stage 2 – Mainboard

The Mainboard stage spans three and a half days at Westbury, with tests typically conducted during the week. For valid reasons, weekend boards are also available for those unable to attend during the week. This assessment determines your ability to work with individuals of different ages and genders, achieved by random group assignments of eight individuals each.

Passing this stage requires dedication and hard work. If you excel throughout these stages, you will proceed to the final step, which involves background checks and references. Following this, you will receive your starting date, corresponding to the role you applied for.

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Duties of an Army Officer

The duties of an army officer vary depending on their assigned role. In healthcare and medical teams, officers may:

  • Provide dental care for soldiers.
  • Care for injured soldiers.
  • Work with military animals as a veterinary officer.

In combat situations, officers may:

  • Pilot helicopters and lead ground troops into battle.
  • Command infantry platoons during operations.
  • Lead artillery teams.
  • Assume command of tank troops and their units.

Average Salary of an Army Officer

The salary of army officers varies according to their rank and years of service, with roles and qualifications also influencing earnings. On average, an army officer in the United Kingdom earns £29,007 annually.


What are the key qualities and skills required to become a successful army officer?

This FAQ will explore the essential attributes and competencies aspiring army officers should possess to excel in their roles.

What educational pathways can I pursue to become an army officer, and are there any age restrictions?

This question aims to clarify the various routes individuals can take to enter the army as officers and whether each path has age limitations.

How does the Army Officer Internship program work, and what are the eligibility criteria?

Here, we will explain the specifics of the Army Officer Internship program, including its duration, training components, and the qualifications needed to participate.

What are army officers' different duties and responsibilities in healthcare versus combat roles?

This question will help readers understand army officers' diverse roles and responsibilities, depending on their assigned field.

Can you outline the steps in applying to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and the assessment process?

This FAQ will provide a step-by-step guide to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst application process, including details about interviews and assessments.

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