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Army officer

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Summary of occupation

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.

ANZSCO description: Army officers lead troops in a variety of peacetime and wartime situations.
Alternative names: General Service Officer
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

An RAA officer needs:

  • to meet strict aptitude and medical requirements
  • the ability to motivate and lead others
  • physical and mental resilience
  • organisational skills
  • to be at least 17 years of age
  • to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
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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.

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Salary details

Trainee army officer recruits undertaking officer training can expect to earn at least $767 per week ($39 891 per year), including the Trainee Service Allowance. Army officer graduates can expect to earn at least $1 393 per week ($72 446 per year) (including service allowance), depending on their duties, rank, role and level of experience.

As an army officer gains experience and progresses through the ranks their pay rate increases. Salary may also vary based on your deployment location and conditions.

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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.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become an army officer in the Australian Defence Force you can choose from multiple entry pathways. You can apply for:

  • direct entry through the Royal Military College (RMC) in Duntroon, for people without a degree;
  • a degree program through the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) in Canberra;
  • a Defence University Sponsorship in a specifically approved field of study, and complete your undergraduate degree at a university of your choice; or
  • a Specialist Service Officer position, if you have already completed a university degree in a specialist field such as medicine, engineering, teaching or dentistry.

To apply you must be an Australian citizen and be at least 17 years old. You will undergo a series of written, physical, psychological and medical checks and interviews. You will also need to undergo a National Police History Check and must 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 the Defence Force Recruiting Centre for more information.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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