Royal Marines commando

RM commando

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would be part of the Royal Navy and would take part in frontline combat on land and at sea. You would also deal with emergencies such as natural disasters.

After first training, you would be a general duties marine. You would later move into a specialist role. You could be based in a unit or group such as:

  • 3 Commando Brigade – you would respond to global emergencies as part of the Joint Rapid Reaction Force
  • Fleet Protection Group – you would support the Navy and protect UK nuclear weapons
  • Fleet Standby Rifle Troop – you would be trained to board ships at sea

With around two years’ experience, you could train in a specialist area. Specialist roles open to you would depend on your experience and rank.

You might become:

  • Aircrew – you would work with helicopters, fly reconnaissance missions and get supplies to the frontline
  • A communication technician – you would use electronic equipment to listen to enemy radioactivity
  • An assault engineer – you would build bridges, obstacles and train to use explosives
  • A signaller – you would provide communications between land, sea, and air and commandos in the field
  • A chef – you would learn to feed commandos in all conditions

With the right skills, attitude and experience you could go on to join the special boat service (SBS). This is the Royal Navy branch of the UK Special Forces. You would then use your skills to perform highly specialised military operations at sea and on land.

Working conditions

Hours

You would usually work shifts and be on call at all times. During exercises and operations, your hours may be long and irregular.

Environment

Your work and training could take place in all conditions, from deserts and mountainous regions to jungle environments. You could be working under conditions which are physically and mentally challenging.

Travel

You must be prepared to go wherever you are needed around the world, and you will probably spend long periods away from home.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Working as part of a team
  • Following instructions
  • Working with your hands
  • Being physically fit
  • Finding solutions to problems
  • Being logical
  • Coping with pressure
  • Planning and organising
  • Making decisions

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

Keep track of your skills in your account and find the jobs, opportunities and courses that suit you.

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

There are no minimum qualifications to become a Royal Marines Commando. A good general education is useful.

You'll need to pass the Naval Service Recruitment Test (NRST) covering basic English, maths, problem solving and an understanding of mechanics. 

Most Royal Marines Commandos start their career as General Duty Marines, before going on to train for one of the many specialist jobs and gain relevant qualifications. 

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Science and technologies subjects such as engineering and ICT
  • Modern languages
  • Physical education 

You will also need

Before joining the Royal Marines you'll need to pass:

  • The Naval Service Recruitment Test (NRST)
  • A formal interview
  • Medical and eyesight tests 
  • The Royal Marines Pre-Joining Fitness Test
  • The Potential Royal Marines Course (PRMC)

Once you've completed the joining process, you'll begin your basic training which lasts 32 weeks. 

The Royal Marines Commandos have strict eligibility criteria. To be successful you'll need to be: 

  • A British, Irish, Commonwealth or dual nationality citizen who has lived in the UK for the last five years
  • Aged between 16 and 32 years old when you start basic training. If you are under 18 years of age your parent/guardian need to agree with you joining
  • At least 151.5cm tall and weigh at least 65kg (women do not have to meet this requirement)
  • Within the healthy range for Body Mass Index (BMI) 

You will need to complete a full security check. 

Any tattoos which would be visible in parade uniform are not allowed. There are also restrictions on body piercings.

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that show teamwork, determination, physical and mental stamina, such as: 

  • Skills for Work Uniformed and Emergency Services (SCQF level 4)
  • SQA  Leadership Award (SCQF level 5/6)
  • Cadet Organisation or other Youth Awards

If you show the right commitment, skills and academic ability, you could become a Commissioned Officer at any time during your career.