Army Service

How to become an Army Officer

Job roles

As an officer, you’re in charge of a team of soldiers. It’s up to you to use their skills and direct their work to get the job done. You look after their welfare and deal with any problems to keep your team working at its best. Most officers are graduates, but you don’t need to have a degree – your personal qualities are as important as your qualifications.

Officer training

Officer training develops your leadership and management skills and shows you how to adapt them to the special demands of Army life. You learn to make difficult decisions under pressure. You also work on your fitness and learn the same military skills as the soldiers you will be leading. The course takes place at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and lasts 44 weeks for Regular officers, or three weeks for Territorials.

Applying your skills

After you’ve completed your initial officer training at Sandhurst, you will go on a course to provide you with the specific skills you’ll need in your first appointment. How long this course lasts will depend on the type of role you'll be doing. Training is delivered by experienced officers and generally involves realistic exercises based on the kind of situations you can expect to face as a junior officer on operations.

Got qualifications?

If you have certain qualifications you could be on the fast track to becoming an officer. The Professionally Qualified Officers’ (PQO) Course lasts for ten weeks and is open to doctors, dentists, nurses, lawyers, pharmacists, physiotherapists, veterinary surgeons, environmental health officers, operating department practitioners and chaplains with the relevant degrees and experience. PQOs can expect to be commissioned in a higher rank, and at a correspondingly higher pay grade.