About the Job

Unlock your potential and learn to lead others by spending a memorable year developing your leadership and management skills through world-class training.

If this sounds like you, apply to be a Gap Year Army Officer (also known as GSO and Officer). You'll be trained from the ground up with all the skills you need to take lead of a team of highly capable soldiers in new and exciting environments. Become a leader who's committed, shows initiative and works well in the ultimate team environment. Even if you've already studied at university, or if worked for a couple of years since leaving school, your training as an Army Officer will enhance your abilities, teach you how to think (not what to think) and how to confidently make decisions.

Upon completion of training, Gap Year Army Officers can preference a specialisation within Infantry, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Transport, Ordnance, Engineering, Armoured, Artillery, Signals, Military Police and Health.

As a participant, you'll receive extensive training to learn what it takes to be an Army Officer. Initial training will occur in three locations; Kapooka NSW, Holsworthy Barracks NSW and the Royal Military College - Duntroon ACT.

Once you a have completed your training, you'll be posted to various locations around Australia including Darwin NT, Edinburgh SA, Sydney NSW, Brisbane QLD or Townsville QLD.

At the completion of your Gap Year, the Army is confident you'll make leadership in the ADF a full-time career, and every effort will be made to place you in a posting where you'd like to live.

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Key Information

Preparing for Your Recruitment Process

This document provides information that will assist applicants for roles in the Navy, Army and Air Force, including details about the recruitment process, how to prepare yourself for assessment, and what to expect if you are successful in joining the Australian Defence Force.

Salary & Allowances

In the Army you'll get paid a good salary from day one regardless of your age, experience or qualifications; and your pay increases as you progress through training.

In addition to your salary you'll receive a variety of allowances, extra pay for relevant qualifications – plus 16.4% superannuation, a far higher rate than you're likely to find in the civilian world.

For more details download our Salary Scales.


As part of the Gap Year Army Officer program you will begin your training at Kapooka NSW, before being posted to the Sydney University Regiment, NSW to learn the skills and knowledge required to be an Army Officer.

Upon completion of your Initial Employment Training, you will be posted to an Army unit in:

  • Darwin, NT
  • Edinburgh, SA
  • Sydney, NSW
  • Brisbane, QLD
  • Townsville, QLD.

At the completion of the ADF Gap Year Army Officer Program, you are encouraged to provide ongoing service in the Army Reserve and every effort will be made for a posting to a unit in a location close to where you live.

You will not be considered for operational deployment or international operations whilst undertaking the Gap Year program.

However, you may participate in domestic exercises and Defence Assistance to the Civil Community (DACC) tasks.



Gap Year candidates must be 17-24 years old on enlistment and be at least 18 years old by completion of military training.

Education & Experience

An applicant must pass English and three other Year 12 subjects that meet Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) requirements. Or you may be in your final year and expect to reach these levels. (South Australian officer applicants may achieve a pass at Year 11 English and a pass in a language rich subject at Year 12 and three other subjects).

Medical & Fitness

To be enlisted or appointed, you must be medically and physically fit for entry to your chosen occupation. This is partially assessed from the completion of an extensive questionnaire covering your medical history, followed by a physical examination.

You will also be required to successfully pass a physical fitness assessment before appointment.

For further details on medical and physical fitness standards refer to Physical Fitness Standards for Entry into the ADF and Medical Process for Entry into the ADF.

Combat positions. Applicants require a higher level of strength and aerobic fitness than non-combat employment categories. Applicants may be expected to pass the relevant Combat Arms Physical Employment Standards before the end of their initial employment training.

Period of Service

Your Gap Year experience will commence on enlistment at the start of the year and will conclude 12 months later. Subsequent periods of service in the Regular or Reserve Force may be offered subject to the requirements of the ADF and your suitability for further service. You may request discharge at any time by providing 21 days’ notice.

Additional Requirements

Special Requirements
  • Entry is restricted to people with no prior military service.
  • Entry is restricted to people who have not previously participated in the ADF Gap Year Program, unless the participant exited previous programs early for compassionate or compelling reasons
  • Participants must meet the same standards and requirements as all other officers in training and employment situations. Failure to meet any officer training requirement will result in the participant's withdrawal from the program. Depending on the circumstances, the participant may be offered an opportunity to complete their Gap Year as a soldier

Entry Requirements

Current or former serving military personnel (ADF or foreign service) are not eligible for Gap Year.


The Job Opportunities Assessment (JOA) is completed as part of the application process to join the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Some jobs may also require you to complete a further evaluation at a later date.

The JOA is used by Defence to establish suitability for ADF entry, and then identify jobs that best match your abilities.

Further information about the JOA can be found in the Guide to the Job Opportunities Assessment for the ADF.

To get a feel for the types of questions that are used in the Job Opportunities Assessment and how they will look on your screen some examples can be found in the Job Opportunities Assessment Example Questions.


To serve in the ADF you must be an Australian Citizen.

If you are a permanent resident of Australia, the ADF may consider a temporary deferral of the citizenship requirement if the position for which you are applying cannot be filled by an applicant who meets all the citizenship requirements, and then only in exceptional circumstances. You will be required to obtain Australian Citizenship as early as possible following enlistment or appointment.

Find out more in our Citizenship page or ask your local ADF Careers Centre.

Security Requirements

The Department of Defence requires ADF employees to have a security clearance appropriate to their employment.

A process of background checks, collection of relevant information and if required, interviews, enables the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency (AGSVA) to make an informed assessment of an applicant's suitability for a security clearance.

The minimum security clearance level required is Negative Vetting Level 1 (NV1), and current policy requires applicants to have a checkable background for the previous 10 years.

This means applicants must provide credible referees (non-family members) who are able to provide information about the applicant covering an extended period of time. Required information for an NV1 includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Residence
  • Employment
  • Education
  • Financial information
  • Travel

Some ADF jobs may require a higher level of security clearance such as Negative Vetting Level 2 (NV2) or Positive Vetting (PV). Your individual circumstances will determine the number and complexity of the questions and the supporting documents required for these levels.

Australian Citizenship is a requirement for a security clearance and a clearance will only be granted to a non-citizen in exceptional circumstances.

The security clearance is critical to an applicant's successful progression through the recruiting process. It is strongly recommended that all applicants action the Security Clearance Package (ePack) and provide the required documentation without delay to provide the best opportunity to commence training and be employed in their preferred employment category.

For more detailed information on the security vetting process and specific clearance level requirements set by AGSVA, please refer to the AGSVA website.

Support will be provided by DFR during the initial application process.


Military Training

As an Army Gap Year Officer recruit, you’ll complete an accelerated version of the Army Reserve Officer training continuum.

Army Gap Year Officer First Appointment Course (FAC)

You’ll learn to embody the ADF Values of Service, Courage, Respect, Integrity and Excellence. You’ll also learn the leadership, management, operational skills and knowledge required of a junior officer to command a platoon.

Training is conducted through varied methods including the University Regiments. But is centrally coordinated by the Royal Military College. You will learn:

  • How to lead
  • How to critically assess problems in a dynamic environment in the field or in tactical simulation
  • How to guide a team in the field conducting military operations
  • Operate and maintain military weapon systems
  • How to plan military operations and logistics
  • How to administer an organization both in the field and in the barrack
  • Take responsibility for cutting edge equipment and technology

Training Block 1 – Military Foundation Skills
Duration: Approximately 5 weeks.
Location: 1st Recruit Training Battalion, Kapooka, NSW.

During training, you will take part in physical training, weapon handling and shooting, first aid, drill and field craft. You'll be challenged both mentally and physically.

Training Block 2 – Small Miliary Team Leader Theory
Duration: Approximately 2 weeks.
Location: Holsworthy Barracks, NSW.

During this block, you will build on the skills introduced in Training Block 1 and learn the skills, knowledge, and attitudes required to operate as part of a section (60 soldiers).

Training Block 3 – Small Military Team Leader
Duration: Approximately 2 weeks.
Location: Holsworthy Barracks, NSW.

You will take your first step along the way to learning the leadership and management skills that you will need to successfully command soldiers in the Australian Army.

Training Block 4 – Command, Leadership and Management
Duration: Approximately 3 weeks.
Location: Holsworthy Barracks, NSW.

During this training block, you will be provided with the theoretical knowledge required to command at platoon level and conduct platoon level operations.

Training Block 5 – All Corps Army Reserve Platoon Commander
Duration: Approximately 4 weeks.
Location: External Training Wing, Royal Military College – Duntroon (RMC), Majura, ACT.

You will learn the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to command at platoon level. This course will also confirm you have all attributes, skills and values to become an Officer in the Australian Army.

On the successful completion of Training Block 5, you will be commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Australian Army Reserve. After graduation you will be assigned to one of the Army's specialised branches, known as Corps, and posted to a full-time Army unit where you will be mentored by high performing junior officers. During this time you will undertake the relevant Regimental or Logistical Officers Basic Course for your allocated corps.

On conclusion of your Gap Year, you may choose to continue service as a Lieutenant in the Army Reserve, Standby Reserve or you may choose to separate from the Army. If you wish to continue service full-time in the Army, you will be required to apply through the Directorate of Officer Career Management - Army and should expect to undertake further training at RMC-D.

Employment Training

Just prior to your completion of Initial Military training, you'll be appointed to one of the Army's specialised branches, known as Corps. For example, the Transport Corps is responsible for transport of Army personnel and all kinds of equipment via land, air and sea.

Corps allocation is based on your preference, competitiveness, and availability of positions. Gap Year Army Officers can preference a specialisation within Infantry, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Transport, Ordnance, Engineering, Armoured, Artillery, Signals, Military Police and Health.

You will then be posted to a full-time Army unit where you will be mentored by high performing junior officers as you put your new found skills and knowledge to the test in barracks and on exercise.