Royal Navy officer

Security, uniformed and protective services

Career outlook for royal navy officer

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would lead a squadron or unit on board ships or submarines in the Royal Navy.

You would be responsible for the welfare and discipline of those serving under your command.

You would also have a specialist role. You could become:

  • A warfare officer – control weapons and defence systems, and help navigate
  • An air engineering officer – prepare aircraft for flight and work with experts to improve aircraft design
  • A weapons engineering officer – look after weapons delivery, detection and communications equipment
  • A logistics officer – manage the delivery of supplies and equipment, and give legal and financial advice
  • A medical or nursing officer – give medical care on ships, submarines and land

Working conditions


You would usually be on call 24 hours a day, generally working eight-hour shifts, which would include weekends and public holidays.


You would live and work on board a ship or submarine for several months at a time. Living quarters are cramped. You may face a wide variety of conditions including extremes in weather, as well as mental, physical and emotional challenges.


You must be prepared to move within the UK and overseas. Whilst serving at sea, you would be separated from your family for several months.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Resilience
  • Delegating
  • Taking responsibility
  • Making decisions
  • Managing resources
  • Developing a plan
  • Understanding
  • Verbal communication
  • Cooperating
  • Problem solving

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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.


You will need at least five National 5 qualifications and Highers at C or above valuing 180 UCAS points, for example BBC.

You must have gained these qualifications within a maximum spread of 13 months and they need to be of a sufficient academic content. Equivalent qualifications at SCQF levels 5-6, Higher National Certificates (SCQF level 7) and Higher National Diplomas (SCQF level 8) will also support entry.

Some roles will require a relevant degree (SCQF level 9/10) acquired prior to applying or in some cases you can apply before entering a degree or when you have partially completed a degree to access bursary support.

To enter as an Engineering Officer you need a degree accredited to IEng or CEng level by the Engineering Council. Alternatively an honours degree in either mathematics or physics accredited by either the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) or the Institute of Physics(IoP). An Engineering Officer Bursary is available.

There may be opportunities to study for an MSc or MA once in this career.

You may apply to be a Training Management Officer with a UK-recognised honours degree in any subject.

To become an Environmental Officer you will require a BSc or MSc in Environmental Health accredited by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.

To become a Nursing Officer (Adult) you require a BA or BSc in Adult Nursing. You can apply in the final year of completing your Nursing degree, to be selected subject to registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

Medical and Dental Cadetships are available. 

Useful subjects

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

You will also need

You need to be aged between 16 years and 36 years old, however you can apply when you are at least 15 years old and 9 months. Certain roles may have different age ranges which you should check.

You will need to be a minimum height of 151.5cm. The only exception to this rule is the Submarine Service where you will need to be a minimum height of 157cm. You must also be within the healthy range for Body Mass Index (BMI).

Some roles may require you to have normal colour vision.  

You will need to be a British, Irish or Commonwealth citizen or have dual nationality.

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.

You will need to pass the Royal Navy Recruiting Test (RT) a psychometric ability test used to assess specific academic ability and shows your ability to cope with the technical and academic aspects of training. There are four separate parts to this test which you will need to complete within a strict time limit. These measure general reasoning, verbal ability, numeracy and mechanical comprehension. 

You will also need to pass medical and eye tests and the Royal Navy Pre-Joining Fitness Test.  

Once you’ve passed all the tests, you must attend and pass the Pre-Royal Navy Course to enter this career.

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that demonstrate the Royal Navy's core values of commitment, courage, discipline, respect, integrity and loyalty, 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