How to join the ADF

There are several ways to join the Navy, Army or Air Force, with many roles offering more than one entry method. To help you choose the right path for you, we’ve broken down the different requirements for ‘General Entry’ and ‘Officer Entry’ below.

General Entry

An exciting career awaits

Most people will join the ADF via General Entry. No prior experience or qualifications are needed to pursue an exciting career in the Navy, Army or Air Force. The nationally recognised industry training we provide will place you among the best in your field and you’ll be paid while you train. Completing Year 12 is not essential to join, but it is worthwhile checking each job page for the specific entry and education requirements.

General non-technical positions
For more general roles and career opportunities
  • Choose from roles in administration, communications, logistics and more.
  • Completion of Year 10 (or equivalent) education required with passes in English and Maths.
  • Some roles require a pass in Year 10 Maths and Science, or passes in Year 11 (or equivalent) and above.

Technical and trade apprenticeships
For those seeking nationally recognised trade training to undertake hands-on tasks
  • Choose from roles in aviation, mechanical, electrical and constructions trades, communications and more.
  • Completion of Year 10 (or equivalent) required with passes in English, Maths, Science and one other subject.
  • Some trade roles also require Science with a Physics component.
  • Be paid while you learn trade skills.

Qualified positions
For those who are already qualified   
  • Pursue your profession in fields such as trades, healthcare, business and more.
  • Apply your skills to exciting new challenges in the ADF.
  • Requires appropriate qualifications specific to each role.
  • Competitive salaries plus allowances and benefits you won’t get with other jobs.

Officer Entry

Build on your ambition and become a leader in your field

If you're a driven and ambitious individual, become capable of leading teams, mentoring others and managing complex scenarios as an Officer. Officer roles are available for school leavers (successful year 12 completion), undergraduates, graduates and qualified professionals.

World-class training to unlock your leadership potential

Effective teams are made up of people with diverse educations and personal attributes. That’s why you don't necessarily need a degree to join as an officer. As a world-class training institution, we’ll equip you with the training and experience you need to achieve your ambition of becoming a great leader.

Navy Officer training
Initial and leadership training as a Navy Officer
  • Train at the Royal Australian Naval College (RANC), HMAS Creswell in Jervis Bay, NSW, with or without a degree.
  • Reservists complete a similar course with a reduced amount of residential training balanced with remote study.

Army Officer training
Initial and leadership training as an Army Officer
  • Train as an Army Officer with or without a degree.
  • Receive world-class leadership training at the Royal Military College - Duntroon (RMC) in Canberra, ACT.
  • Gain the skills, knowledge and values to lead a platoon of soldiers.

Air Force Officer training
Initial and leadership training to become an Air Force Officer
  • You’ll be trained to be a leader, learning management and mentoring skills and taking responsibility for those under your command.
  • Initial Officer Course at Officers’ Training School, RAAF Base, VIC.
  • Outside the classroom, participate in adventure training and airfield defence exercises.

Tertiary education options

If you are interested in, enrolled in or have completed study at an Australian university, we have a number of ways for you to join as an Officer. If you hold a relevant degree, you can join the Navy, Army or Air Force in a technical or specialist Officer role. Plus, you could have your tuition and training paid for.

Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA)
For those wishing to undertake a degree
  • Start a career as a Navy, Army or Air Force Officer via the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) in Canberra, ACT.
  • Gain a fully funded world-class degree in Arts, Business, Science, Engineering or Computing from the University of New South Wales (UNSW).
  • Earn a salary while you study and graduate HELP-debt-free.

Undergraduate entry
If you are currently studying for a degree
  • A Defence University Sponsorship (DUS) is available if you are currently studying a relevant degree at an Australian university.
  • You will need to have successfully completed a minimum of 12 months of your degree.
  • Earn a salary while you study and have the remainder of your university fees paid in return for a commitment to an Officer role.

Tertiary Aviation Reimbursement scheme (TARS)
Join the Air Force with a relevant degree
  • For women and Indigenous Australians studying Aviation
  • You may be eligible to have your academic costs reimbursed.
  • You will need to be studying or have completed a Bachelor degree in Aviation.

Graduate medical program
For those with a degree wishing to move into medicine
  • Successful applicants must have a relevant undergraduate degree and have passed the Graduate Australian Medical Schools Admission Test (GAMSAT).
  • You will need to have been accepted into an Australian university.
  • Be sponsored as a medical practitioner then serve as a Medical Officer.

Graduate entry
If you already have a recognised degree
  • Leverage your degree in Medicine, Psychology, Law, Dentistry, Nursing, Engineering, Business and IT among others.
  • Pursue your profession as an Officer and add an exciting new dimension to your work.
  • Receive further training and post-graduate study opportunities.

Flexible Commitment

There are many options in the Navy, Army and Air Force that have flexible commitments. For these roles, you can serve on a part-time or flexible basis, or for a shorter amount of time. These entry methods can be for General Entry and Officer Entry, so it’s best to check each job description.

If you want to serve part-time
  • Fulfilling work that makes a difference - help the community and give something back to your country.
  • Flexible part-time commitment with the ability to work on the occasional weekend, evenings or days off work.
  • Gain extra training and experience that benefits your day job.
  • Tax-free daily pay and allowances.

Gap Year
Get a 12-month taste of life in the Australian Defence Force
  • Completion of Year 12.
  • Only commit to 12 months.
  • Receive a salary and valuable training to help get you where you want to go.
  • Make unforgettable friendships and gain skills for life.