How to become a Army Officer

Army officers command, train and motivate soldiers for both peacetime and wartime tasks. They are the leaders and managers of the Army, working at the middle and executive management level.

Personal requirements of a Army Officer

  • Able to cope with the physical demands of the job
  • Good organisation skills
  • Leadership qualities
  • Good interpersonal and communication skills
  • Meet aptitude and medical requirements
  • Willing to serve anywhere in Australia or overseas
  • At least 17 years of age
  • Australian citizenship

Education & Training for a Army Officer

To become an Army officer you usually have to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education with passes in English and three other tertiary entry units, preferably including mathematics and a science unit. To join the Army you will need to successfully complete a series of aptitude tests, medical assessments and selection interviews. If you are successful there are four different education and training pathways to become an Army officer. You may apply to join the Army as a non-degree direct entry officer cadet; complete a degree through the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA); apply as a sponsored undergraduate through the Defence University Sponsorship; or you may apply after completing one of a selected range of specialist degrees. Entry as a non-degree officer cadet requires the completion of 18 months of training at the Royal Military College, Duntroon, ACT. This is followed by specialist training with the Army. Entry to ADFA usually requires you to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education with an appropriate score in prerequisite subjects relevant to your chosen area of study. All ADFA students are required to complete a 3 or 4-year course of academic study at ADFA, followed by a year of military training. The Defence University Sponsorship is available to students pursuing an engineering or health discipline at a recognised tertiary institution. Sponsorship is available to undergraduate and graduate students. Undergraduates must have completed one or two years of their degree before sponsorship can commence. Graduate students must have already obtained a relevant undergraduate degree before being eligible to be sponsored for the graduate medical or dental program. Following completion of their specialised degree, they are appointed as Graduate (Specialist Service) Officers. People who already have specialised degrees may also apply for direct entry into the Army as Graduate (Specialist Service) Officers. Before becoming fully operational in their specialised field, these applicants are required to complete a 32-day Specialist Service Officer First Appointment Course at the Royal Military College, Duntroon, followed by specialised employment training. Different specialised occupations have different entry requirements. For full details on this option, contact your nearest Defence Force Recruiting Centre or visit www.defencejobs.gov.au/education/graduate.

Duties & Tasks of a Army Officer

Army officers:

  • provide leadership and motivation as required within a team
  • ensure the unit is managed efficiently
  • communicate and cooperate closely with both military and civilian organisations
  • teach members of their unit efficient procedures and practice
  • take on further professional and military training to expand their experience and responsibility
  • manage their personnel and equipment under both administrative and military exercise conditions.

Working conditions for a Army Officer

Working conditions vary greatly, from working in an office to spending extended time in rough conditions in the field. Army officers may be posted to a wide range of locations, in Australia and overseas.

Employment Opportunities for a Army Officer

Recruitment into the Australian Defence Force is conducted on an Australia-wide basis all year round.

Additional Information
To enter ADFA, you must satisfy entry requirements for a relevant degree at the University of New South Wales or equivalent. As it is a competitive process, it is recommended that you apply in Year 11. Year 11 students who apply to ADFA may be eligible for an ADFA Education Award. The Education Award is presented annually to Year 12 students in recognition of outstanding achievement shown during the ADFA entry recruiting process.
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