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, physical fitness 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.

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.

Duties & Tasks of a Army Officer

An Army Officer may specialise as:

  • Armoured Officer participate in a range of combat operations including direct attacks, reconnaissance and armoured mobility to infantry.
  • Artillery Officer – maximise combat power by providing indirect fire support, systematic surveillance, target acquisition and ground-based air defence.
  • Helicopter Pilot – fly Army rotary wing aircraft on a variety of complex missions ranging from combat to disaster relief.
  • Catering Officer – provide specialist catering support to the Army in barracks and on deployment.
  • Electrical and Mechanical Engineer – maintain the Army’s modern hardware and equipment.
  • Engineering Officer – provide general engineering support to maintain the mobility of Army forces and assist with geospatial intelligence efforts.
  • Infantry Officer – are the major combat element of the Army who kill and capture the enemy, seize and hold ground and repel attacks.
  • Intelligence Officer – manage the acquisition and dissemination of military intelligence to advise commanders and other Army staff on strategy and combat tactics.
  • Medical Officer – coordinate the health planning and leadership of health capabilities both on the battlefield and during deployment.
  • Military Police Officer – plan, execute and command military policing functions such as law enforcement, mobility and manoeuvre support, security and internment operations.
  • Ordnance Officer – are responsible for supply chain management, logistical support and the warehousing and issuing of Army equipment.
  • Signals Officer – provide communications, information systems, cyberspace operations and electronic warfare support to the Army.
  • Transport Officer – control and operate Army-owned land, sea and air transport to deliver vital supplies.

Employment Opportunities for a Army Officer

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

Future growth:


Employment by state:


NSW NSW 52.9%

NT NT 2.4%

QLD QLD 14.4%

SA SA 8.8%

TAS TAS 4.9%

VIC VIC 9.5%

WA WA 7.2%

Hours worked:



Average unemployment

Gender split:

Male 89.3%

Female 10.7%

Education level:

Age brackets:

15-19 - 0%

20-24 - 0%

25-34 - 1.4%

35-44 - 24.3%

45-54 - 54.1%

55-59 - 17.4%

60-64 - 2.7%

65 and Over - 0%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

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