Army officer


Also known as:

  • Air combat officer

What they do

Royal Australian Army (RAA) Officers lead troops in a variety of peacetime and wartime situations. They plan and carry out tactical military manoeuvres, which may include keeping the peace in other countries, defending Australia against military or other threats and providing key support during natural disasters. They lead a platoon into battle, direct the sections of a platoon and a unit's overall firepower, identify enemy targets and decide on the best way to engage with them.

Specialisations include: Air combat officer, Air defence officer (air force), Air force - general entrant, Air force technician/tradesperson, Armoured corps officer (army), Artillery officer (army), General service officer (army), Ground defence officer (air force), Infantry officer (army), Military police officer (air force) (NZ), Military police officer (army), Military police officer (navy) (NZ), Observer (navy), Security police officer (air force), Special service officer (army)

Working conditions

Army officers work in varied conditions during peacetime and conflict, or in other unstable or dangerous environments. They usually work regular office hours; however, during field exercises or combat they may be on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They may be required to work overseas for extended periods of time. Army corps are often involved in military operations, usually on the front line of battle. Conditions may be extremely dangerous and potentially life-threatening.

Female army officers perform the same role as their counterparts and may join all corps, except those where there is a high probability of direct combat.

Tools and technologies

Army officers may use a range of equipment depending on the kind of work they undertake. They may use military communication equipment such as radios, operate various small weapons or drive armoured vehicles.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become an army officer in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) you can choose from multiple entry pathways.

You can apply for:

  • direct entry through the Royal Military College (RMC) in Duntroon, for people with or without a degree
  • a degree program through the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) in Canberra
  • undergraduate entry (if you are studying a relevant degree at an Australian university you could be eligible for a Defence University Sponsorship and have your fees paid in return for a commitment to an officer role in the ADF)
  • graduate entry, if you have already completed a university degree in a specialist field such as medicine, law, engineering, nursing or dentistry (amongst others); or
  • the Graduate Medical Program, if you hold an appropriate undergraduate degree, have successfully completed the Graduate Australian Medical Schools Admission Test and have been accepted into an Australian university.

To apply, you must be an Australian citizen (although permanent residents may be considered under certain circumstances) and be at least 16 years and six months old. You will need to undergo a series of written, aptitude, physical, psychological and medical checks, and interviews. You will also need to undergo a National Police Check and pass the Officer Selection Board.

Successful applicants are required to complete further army training. The length of the training will depend on the entry pathway chosen.

You can also become an army officer on a part time basis in the Army Reserves.

The entry requirements for these streams and specialist roles will be different.

Visit Defence Jobs for more information.

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