How to become a Navy Officer

Navy Officer

Navy officers manage, lead, train and take responsibility for maintaining the team spirit and safety of the Navy's non-commissioned officers and sailors.

Personal requirements for a Navy Officer

  • Able to lead and motivate others
  • Prepared to accept responsibility
  • Meet aptitude, physical fitness and medical requirements
  • Australian citizenship

Education & Training for a Navy Officer

To become a Navy officer you have to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education with passes in English and three other tertiary-accredited subjects. To join the Navy 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 for Navy officers: you may apply to join the Navy as a non-degree, direct-entry officer; complete a degree through the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA); apply as a sponsored undergraduate; or apply after completing a selected range of specialist degrees.Entry to all degree and non-degree officer positions requires completion of the New Entry Officer Course at the Royal Australian Naval College, HMAS Creswell at Jervis Bay, NSW. This is followed by specialist training with the Navy.Entry to ADFA requires you to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education with an appropriate score in prerequisite subjects relevant to your chosen study. All ADFA students are required to complete a 3-year course of academic study at the Academy, incorporating the Academic Military Education and Training (AMET) program.Defence University Sponsorship allows university students to apply for a role in the Navy while still studying for a degree at any accredited university in Australia. They can apply having completed at least one or two years of their degree, depending on its duration.If accepted for sponsorship, they will join the Navy, then able to concentrate on their studies while enjoying a salary and many other benefits. On completion, they are guaranteed a job in the Navy.People who already have specialised degrees may apply for direct entry into the Navy as Graduate Officers. These applicants are also required to complete the New Entry Officer Course before becoming officers in their specialised field. Different specialised occupations have different entry requirements. For full details on this option, contact your nearest Defence Force Recruiting Centre.

Additional information

To enter ADFA, you must be at least 17 years of age and have satisfied entry requirements for a relevant degree at the University of New South Wales or equivalent. Applications usually close in September of the year prior to entry.Some specialisations may have additional age restrictions. Check the Australian Defence Force website for full details. Students who apply to ADFA during Year 11 may be eligible for the ADFA Education Award. The Education Award is presented annually to Year 12 students in recognition of outstanding achievement shown during the ADFA recruiting process.

Duties & Tasks of a Navy Officer

A Navy officer may specialise as:

  • Aerospace Engineer - maintain Navy helicopters and associated systems, specialising in either Aeronautics or Aircraft Electronics.
  • Maritime Aviation Warfare Officer - the Mission Commander onboard a helicopter, strategising the helicopter’s weapon and sensor systems, communications, navigation and more.
  • Navy Pilot - fly Navy helicopters, leading search and rescue missions, evacuating medical emergencies from the scene of natural disasters, and intercept vessels engaging in illegal activity.
  • Navy Lawyer (Legal Officer) - practice military and discipline law, civil and administrative law, and international and operations law in order to assist boards of enquiry; appear before court martials; and provide legal aid to Navy personnel.
  • Marine Engineer - the ship’s or submarine’s technical expert. They work hands-on to manage the teams that maintain, operate and repair numerous systems.
  • Navy Doctor (Medical Officer) - responsible for the general health of all Navy personnel and provide high standards of care under challenging conditions and with minimal medical support.
  • Nursing Officer - responsible for the medical needs of all personnel and may become involved in specialist areas like perioperative or emergency care.
  • Maritime Warfare Officer - take command as watchkeepers of advanced Navy ships and submarines, contributing to the defence of Australia.
  • Maritime Logistics Officer - manage logistic support functions required by both vessels and Navy personnel, including replenishment, catering, financial accounting and business operations.
  • Training Systems Specialist - responsible for developing and monitoring the design, quality control and delivery of training in the Navy.
  • Electronic Engineer (Weapons Electrical Engineering Officer) - lead a team that works on and maintains complex technologies on ships or submarines including radar, sonar, communication, navigation, combat and weapons systems.


  • Prepares reports, authorises the release of information, and handles public relations activities..
  • Makes policy decisions and accepts responsibility for operations, performance of staff, achievement of targets and adherence to budgets, standards and procedures..
  • Prepares budgets and other management plans..
  • Represents the organisation in dealings with other organisations and the public..
  • Establishes lines of control and delegates responsibilities to subordinate staff..
  • Controls the collection and interpretation of management information to monitor performance..
  • Establishes administrative and operational procedures by taking account of the organisation's operating environment..
  • Controls the use of, and accounting for, the assets and facilities of the organisation..

Employment Opportunities for a Navy Officer

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


Navy Officer

Navy officers manage, lead, train and take responsibility for maintaining the team spirit and safety of the Navy's non-commissioned officers and sailors.

  • Average age
    Average age
    33 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    17% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    51 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Very high skill
  • Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    92% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    6,600 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 27.8%
    NSW: 27.4%
    NT: 4.5%
    QLD: 19.1%
    SA: 4.9%
    TAS: 0.5%
    VIC: 10.9%
    WA: 4.4%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 6%
    20-24: 16.8%
    25-34: 30.5%
    35-44: 21.4%
    45-54: 16.9%
    55-59: 5.6%
    60-64: 2.1%
    65 and Over: 0.7%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 12.7%
    Bachelor degree: 29.7%
    Certificate III/IV: 6.5%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 26.1%
    Year 10 and below: 1.9%
    Year 11: 0.8%
    Year 12: 22.2%
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