Careers advice and planning

HR, engineering, logistics or regular: which Army officer role is for you?

21 Jun 2023, 15:41

With more than 101 different career paths on its books, many open regardless of whether you’re leaving school or completing a degree, is it time you considered applying for Army officer training?

A female Army officer

Engineering, cyber security and human resources (HR) – you’ll find that many of the jobs frequently cited as the most sought after by students have parallel Army officer roles. As well as financial and educational support, the Army offers professional qualifications that are recognised worldwide by civilian employers, ensuring you’re climbing the career ladder while serving as an officer.

Forget parades in uniform and rain-soaked drills in combat gear (though it has to be acknowledged that there’s a bit of this too); today’s Army looks for a variety of qualities in its officers. That means your educational background, home life and physical appearance are less important than your leadership potential, motivation and passion for your subject. Army officer training really is less about where you’ve come from and more about where you are going.

Bursaries and bonuses

If you’ve got the aspiration, aptitude, drive and brain power for the most academically demanding professions but have been put off by the prospect of years of university fees and student debt, there are options in the Army that will help you achieve your goals. Select roles are eligible for a student bursary of up to £75,000, including a bonus on completion of officer training. Take pharmacy, medicine and dentistry as examples. There’s the prospect of entering the Army programme at several points – as a school leaver, as a current undergraduate, after graduating, or as a qualified professional. The financial incentives allow you to complete a high-octane degree without stressing about your bank account, or you can apply to study on approved Army university courses and start as you mean to go on.

Wide-ranging, world-class

The military has its own Royal Signals officers, Engineer Troop officers and Royal Logistic Corps officers. Sign up (and get accepted) and you will receive top-grade training and backing, and the chance to use state-of-the-art equipment and systems in the course of your day-to-day work.

The Army encourages its recruits to continue postgraduate studies and to gain professional qualifications as they become officers, useful if and when you return to civilian life at a future date. Depending on the role, professional body memberships are supported alongside your training, ensuring your experience is recognised and valued beyond the military.

For example:

  • Education and training . Officers in this sector develop highly transferable knowledge, studying for fully funded PGCE, PGDIP and MSc programmes as they teach soldiers and other officers a range of skills, including cultural awareness and international relations.
  • Science . If you have an aptitude for science consider Army officer roles such as Environmental Health officer , where you can take degrees and earn qualifications in environmental or biomedical science.
  • HR . Professional bodies such as the Chartered Management Institute recognise in-house Army training and the personal development courses undertaken as a HR officer .

In other roles, you can apply existing professional qualifications to your career within the Army, and train in additional specialties. For instance:

  • Law . Army Legal Service (ALS) officers are barristers, solicitors and Scottish advocates, whose qualifications can lead into operational law, or advising on rules of engagement during overseas operations, or training other officers on discipline and prosecuting soldiers at court martial, for example.
  • Medicine . Recently qualified doctors go on to specialise, just as they would if they continued to practise in hospital medicine. That means as you complete your medical training within the Army, you can become, for instance, a surgeon, anaesthetist, psychiatrist or general practitioner (GP).

Give something back

Many of the skills you’ll gain while serving as an Army officer are applicable in life beyond the military, so if you want to satisfy your core values, such as making a difference to society or helping overseas communities, you can do this too. You may find yourself deployed in civilian relief operations, or helping governmental organisations, or working in strategic planning. All this adds up to experience that will stand you in good stead however your career shapes up.

Thrills, adventure and beyond

As part of officer training, you’ll get a chance to push your physical and personal limits beyond what you thought possible. Adventurous Training gets you out of your comfort zone and takes you to a whole new level of achievement and attainment. You might find you are brilliant at skiing, mountain biking or sailing, white water rafting or scuba diving, or perhaps paragliding gives you a thrill – and if you have a passion and talent for these, you can become a coach or instructor and help others achieve their goals. There are also opportunities to represent in Army sports teams. If your wildest dreams include trekking solo across Antarctica, or descending to explore the deepest, darkest caves, there’s a good chance you will be encouraged to turn these dreams into reality.

Read the Army's article on training and development and visit its website to find out more about Adventurous Training.

The time that you spend in Army officer training will lead into a job that sets you up for life. Such preparation goes beyond civilian graduate schemes and makes more of your attributes than an apprenticeship or degree ever could. If you want to investigate these choices further and decide to invest in your future self, visit the officer role pages on the Army careers website , where you will find videos and clips about the diverse range of professions. Training as an Army officer could kick-start your working life and open doors to who-knows-where-next.

Find out more and apply

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