What qualifications do I need to join the RAF

The Royal Air Force is the oldest independent air force in the world. It is the largest air force in the EU, the second largest in NATO and the fifth largest in the world. It operates over 1,000 aircraft, and employs people irrespective of their gender, race, religious beliefs or sexual orientation.

If you are a school leaver there are plenty of other careers to choose from and the RAF prides itself in finding a diverse range of people to fill those roles.

To join the RAF you will need to meet the following criteria:

• You must be a British, Irish or Commonwealth citizen, or have dual nationality with Britain and another country and for security reasons for some roles you must have been a UK citizen and resident since birth
• You must be between the ages of 15 years and 9 months and a maximum age which varies depending on the job you are interested in. 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 RAF
• Steady income and good promotion paths
• World class 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
• Meeting discipline requirements
• Arduous training

GCSEs
The more GCSEs you hold, the more options you will have, but even applicants with just one GCSE grade G/6 will have a something to apply for. For more details check out the RAF jobs page

How long will it take to get qualified?
This really depends on the job or role you persue - again you should check with the RAF jobs page

As of late 2009 the RAF employed 44,300 regular employees and 2,500 volunteers.

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/rafpayscales

Useful websites
HM Forces www.hmforces.co.uk
RAF MOD www.raf.mod.uk
RAF News www.rafnews.co.uk