What qualifications do I need to join the Army?

The British Army is the largest of the three armed forces. Traditionally it is involved with land based operations in areas of conflict, most recently in Afghanistan and Iraq. If you decide on a career in the Army you must be prepared to be involved in such overseas missions. It is also worthwhile discussing such issues with your family before going too far down the application procedure, and if you are between 16 or 18 you will need parental consent.

To join the Army you do not need any formal qualifications as such but you will need to pass an entrance test which covers basic reasoning, maths and literacy.

You will also need to meet the following criteria:

• You must be a British, Irish or Commonwealth citizen, or have dual nationality with Britain and another country. Some career paths are only open to British citizens
• You must be between the ages of 16-33 (17-43 for TA) Anyone under 18 needs parental consent.
• You must pass a medical and physical assessment

Pros
• A good range of varied and exciting roles and opportunities within the Army
• Steady income and good promotion paths
• Overseas travel, but be aware you may be away from home for long periods of time
• Good training which will teach you leadership skills and responsibility
• Good benefits such as health care, allowances etc...
• Dealing with a wide range of people and cultures
• A good environment for keeping fit

Cons
• Spending long periods of time away from home
• Meeting discipline requirements
• Arduous training
• Risk of being injured on duty

How long will it take to get qualified?
If you join as a school leaver you will either train for 42 weeks at the Army Foundation College or for 20 weeks at an Army Training Regiment (ATR). If you are over 17 years old and are planning to join the Royal engineers, the Royal Artillery or the Household Cavalry/Royal Armoured Corps will train for 12 weeks at an ATR. If you are planning to join the infantry you will train at the Infantry Training Centre (ITC) which provides complete training for the Infantry and lasts 24 weeks.

As of April 2010 the British Army employed 147,100 soldiers made up of 114,000 regular soldiers including 3,840 Gurkhas, 33,130 Territorial Army soldiers and 4,000 Gurkhas.

Typical salary
As a new entrant you will receive around, £13,000 although salaries for senior officers are much higher. An average salary would be around £19,000. For more information see www.armedforces.co.uk/armypayscales

Useful websites
HM Forces www.hmforces.co.uk
Army MOD www.army.mod.uk
Soldier Magazine www.soldiermagazine.co.uk