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Royal Navy: career area

Royal Navy: career area

In a career in the Royal Navy you could work on sea and on land to protect the UK's interests and participate in humanitarian operations across the globe.

The Royal Navy helps keep the UK and its overseas territories secure, defends the UK’s interests worldwide and provides forces to participate in peace support and humanitarian operations. The Navy’s capabilities include the surface fleet, the fleet air arm, the submarine service – and the elite Royal Marines, the UK’s commando force.

Graduates usually enter the Royal Navy as officers at sub-lieutenant level.

You will have management responsibility for people and state-of-the-art equipment, working in ships, submarines, aircraft, naval air stations and shore establishments.

The largest part of the Navy is made up of ratings, who serve on ships or on shore supporting the sea-going fleet and personnel. Men and women are recruited into all branches of the naval services except the Royal Marines, the submarine service and mine clearance diving, which are only open to men.

Specialist career routes in the Royal Navy

There’s a wide range of opportunities:

  • Aircrew fly and control the Navy’s aircraft and helicopters – the Fleet Air Arm.
  • Air operations support covers air traffic control, moving and controlling aircraft, and maintaining aircraft and air equipment.
  • Catering and hospitality provides food and accommodation.
  • Chaplaincy looks after the spiritual and emotional well-being of the Navy.
  • Combat operations includes practical warfare roles such as mine clearance, submarine navigation and weapons operations.
  • Communications and intelligence involves using and maintaining communications equipment, or collecting and interpreting military information.
  • Engineering and mechanics keeps ships and aircraft running and maintains electronic weapons and defence systems.
  • Information and technology involves managing information systems and training others to use them.
  • Logistics and transportation makes sure that supplies are available and in good condition when and where they’re needed.
  • Medicine and dentistry looks after the health of the Navy on shore and at sea, and monitors the environmental safety onboard nuclear submarines.
  • Personnel and supply chain takes care of equipment and supplies at sea and is responsible for accounts, records, movements and pay.
  • Scientific monitors the weather, ocean and coastal conditions to support operations.
  • Seamanship involves manoeuvring ships, crewing decks and operating smaller boats.

Royal Navy recruitment

To become an officer in the Royal Navy:

  1. Choose the officer role that appeals to you and apply online via the Royal Navy careers website.
  2. Take the Royal Navy recruitment test (RT), which assesses your general reasoning, verbal ability, numeracy and mechanical comprehension. You'll also need to take medical tests and the pre-joining fitness test.
  3. Attend the two-day Admiralty Interview Board at HMS Sultan in Hampshire. This includes various aptitude tests, general Naval knowledge tests, an essay, leadership and planning exercises, and an interview.
  4. Successful candidates will start basic training at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) in Dartmouth.