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How to join the Royal Air Force

There are over fifty jobs within the Royal Air Force. Some require graduate training while others have only minimal entry requirements. The benefits of a career with the RAF include a good pension and wage and great accommodation. You also also get paid for sporting opportunities. This guide will show you how to join the RAF.

Basic requirements

You must be a British citizen, a British national and hold dual British nationality. You must also be a citizen of the British Commonwealth or the Irish Republic. You must pass the RAF medical assessment, the details of which can be found on the RAF careers website: You must pass a fitness test. Again, guidance for this test can also be found at the RAF careers site. For each specific role within the airforce, there are separate minimum entry requirements.

School leavers

School leavers can join as airmen/airwomen from the age of 16. There are a variety of trades that you can carry out and each comes with training. The more qualifications you have, the greater the variety of jobs are available to you. If you are thinking of enlisting straight from school, check out the various roles that you could do at the website or visit your local RAF Careers Office. Alternatively, you might like to apply for an RAF apprenticeship. They offer apprenticeships in a variety of RAF roles and they last from six months to three years in duration, depending upon the apprenticeship undertaken. All the time that you are doing the apprenticeship, you earn regular RAF wages with a guaranteed RAF job at the end of it.

Fancy a change of job

The RAF is very welcoming to people who have already started a career, whether as a secretary, chef, catering assistant, driver or teacher, and who now want to join the RAF. This is why the majority of their roles are open to people up to the age of 36. Doctors, nurses, lawyers and chaplains are always needed by the RAF and they enter at officer level.


The RAF takes graduates into many of its officer roles and provides training unique to each role. You can even get sponsored by the RAF whilst at university. To become an officer in the RAF, you need to meet the basic requirements and then, you will need to pass the Officer Selection and Assessment Centre. This is a residential assessment lasting for three days at RAF College Cranwell in Lincolnshire. It will test your aptitude, physical ability and whether you are suitable for the RAF. If you pass, you will be offered a place on the 30 week Initial Officer Training Course which is also also at Cranwell.

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