How To Become A Navy Officer In Australia: A Complete Guide

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Students want to know how to become navy officers in Australia.


Do you have exceptional technical and leadership skills and dream of working in the Navy? If yes, a career as a Navy Officer could be ideal for you.


Navy Officers are among the most respected men and women who serve the country. These specially trained military leaders manage the Navy's ships, personnel, weapon systems, and aircraft.


There are several pathways to enter this profession for men and women who meet the age, nationality, and health and fitness requirements. Both graduates and non-graduates can apply for a Navy Officer position in the Australian Defence Force. After joining, ADFA provides specialised training to prepare new hires to work in this role.


This blog will teach you about a Navy Officer's profession, duties and responsibilities, eligibility criteria, entry and age requirements, how to join the Navy, average salary, and ways to materialise your career aspirations.



1. What Is A Navy Officer?


A Navy officer in Australia is a highly educated and trained technical expert who leads and trains officers and sailors in wartime and peacetime.


They serve on submarines, board ships, and manage the daily operations of a vessel.



2. Is Joining The Australian Navy Worth It?


The job of Navy Officers is rewarding, lucrative, and satisfying. Below is the list of compelling reasons to convince you why you should pursue this career.


  • World-class management training

  • Degree sponsorship for undergraduate applicants

  • Plentiful opportunities for career development and progression

  • Good salary and employee benefits 

  • Travel and leave entitlement

  • Work-life balance

  • Hefty superannuation

  • Free dental and mental examination

  • Supportive management

  • Positive working environment

  • Government-funded accommodation

  • Ongoing learning opportunities within your field



3. Different Types Of Navy Officers In Australia


The following are the different types of Navy Officers:


  • Unrestricted Line Officers: They command ships, aircraft squadrons, fleets, submarines, and shore bases unrestricted


  • Restricted Line Officers: They are responsible for a variety of assignments related to aviation, aerospace engineering, engineering, or special duty assignments


  • Staff Corps The  Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps or the Officer Development School commissions officers in this category. They include physicians, chaplains, attorneys, civil engineers, nurses, and other professionals.


  • Limited-Duty Officers: These officers are previously enlisted sailors receiving extensive formal training and experience later in their fields and getting commissioned as officers.



4. Duties Of A Navy Officer In Australia


The daily duties of navy officers are as follows:


  • Command a submarine or a ship

  • Led teams in both peacetime and wartime operations

  • Specialise in combat-related areas, including maritime engineering, weapons engineering, or maritime warfare and non-combat duties such as medical, legal, finance, supply, or logistics areas

  • Makes policy decisions and prepares financial budgets, reports, and other management plans

  • Approve the release of information, and deal with PR activities

  • Establish operational and administrative processes by considering the organisation's operating environment 

  • Manage operations and staff performance, and ensure achievement of targets and adherence to standards, procedures, and budgets

  • Led teams of non-commissioned sailors and officers. 

  • Keep marine and military skills up to date.



5. What Skills Do Navy Officers Need?


If you have the following skills, you can succeed in this profession:


  • Passion for working for the nation and safeguarding the naval borders 

  • Good physical and mental medical fitness

  • Self-motivated and capable of leading and inspiring others

  • Comfortable staying away from home for a few weeks to months

  • Prepared to move anywhere within Australia and abroad

  • Willing to accept responsibility

  • Meet aptitude, fitness, and medical requirements

  • Able to work as part of a team

  • Courage

  • Confidence

  • Determination



6. Navy Officer Qualifications In Australia


To become a Navy officer, you need to meet the following qualifications:


1. You must be at least 17 years of age


2. You must hold Australian citizenship


3. Gain your Year 12 education in English and three other tertiary-accredited subjects


4. Successfully pass aptitude tests, medical assessments, and selection interviews


5. Choose from the below education and training pathways to apply as a Navy officer:


  • As a non-graduate, direct-entry officer

  • As a sponsored undergraduate

  • After completing a degree through the Australian Defence Force Academy 

  • As a graduate by completing a selected range of specialist degrees 


Entry to degree and non-degree officer roles require completing the New Entry Officer Course at the Royal Australian Naval College, HMAS Creswell.


6. Graduates from the degree will then have to complete specialist training with the Navy to become capable of working in this role.



7. How To Become A Navy Officer After College?


Do you aspire to be a Navy Officer in the Australian Defence Force? Keep reading to know what it takes to get to that position. 



Navy Requirements In Australia 


You must meet the education requirements of the position you are applying for. 


All Navy Officer roles are open to men and women 17 years old or above.


  • You must be an Australian Citizen

  • Be at least 17 years old

  • Must have passed Year 10 education in Maths and English

  • Complete a background check and achieve the minimum-security clearance

  • Hold a current driver's license to perform specific duties

  • Should complete a physical examination and a Pre-entry Fitness Assessment to demonstrate your medical health and fitness



Ways To Apply For The Australian Defence Force


You can pursue your profession as a Navy Officer in the following four ways:



  • Defence University Sponsorship: If you are currently studying a relevant degree and have completed a minimum of one year of a 3-year or 4-year course or at least two years of a 5-year or 6-year degree. Eligible candidates can apply for defence university sponsorship for the remaining studies.


  • Without A Degree: If you have completed Year 12 education in English and Maths, you can start your Navy career by undertaking leadership, management, and military training at the Royal Australian Naval College. Get directly admitted into the 19 weeks of the New Entry Officer Course with fully-paid training.


  • Gain A Degree: Those who complete a nationally-recognised degree from the University of New South Wales can participate in military training at the Australian Defence Force Academy. It helps to develop the essential skills to work in this role. Graduates from the degree course can become Navy Officers.



Selection Procedure


Applicants, who meet the eligibility criteria and educational requirements, can browse the available job openings and apply for the role they are interested in.


  • Interested candidates can apply online or by visiting the local defence force recruiting centre with contact details, job preferences, and academic achievements. 

  • Next, pass an aptitude test and complete a medical questionnaire followed by a physical fitness assessment test. 

  • When successfully passing the assessment rounds, they call you for an interview in front of a panel of Navy officers and a psychologist. 

  • After they assess your capabilities, teamwork, leadership, and other abilities, shortlisted candidates will undergo a fitness test and medical checkups to get hired as a Navy Officer.



Undertake A Specialist Training


New Navy recruits complete specialised training teaching them about the primary responsibilities of an officer, military discipline, how to act and behave as a Navy officer, operating defence ammunitions and weapons, physical training to survive at sea, first-aid training, and more.



8. What Should We Study To Become A Navy Officer?


One of the mandatory conditions for becoming a Navy Officer is successfully passing the Navy Aptitude test. 


For that, you will need a good understanding of certain subjects. You can find textbooks and online learning resources helping you develop firm conceptual knowledge in the above areas.



Here is a complete list of navy subjects list you need to focus on if appearing for a Navy selection examination:


  • Mathematics

  • English

  • General Science 

  • General Knowledge



9. What Is The Defence University Sponsorship, And Who Can Benefit From It?


The Defence University Scholarship is for university students studying for a degree at an accredited Australian university. They can apply for it after completing at least 1 or 2 years of their degree, based on the duration of their qualification. 


If they get a sponsorship, they will join the Navy and complete their studies while earning and enjoying other benefits.


Furthermore, those who apply to ADFA in their Year 11 may be eligible for the ADFA Education Award. This award is presented yearly to Year 12 students recognising their exceptional achievement during the ADFA recruitment.


Applicants who already possess specialised degrees are not eligible for the scholarship. They may apply for "a direct entry into the Defence Force" as Graduate Navy Officers.


After joining, they must complete the New Entry Officer Course to become Navy officers in their area of specialisation.



10. Work Conditions


Navy officers serve the sea by staying for several days to months on submarines or board ships. The job may require working anywhere within the country and overseas, sometimes in dangerous situations.


When talking about their work arrangements, Naval officers work 8-hour shifts, including public holidays and weekends, either at sea or onshore. You may also be required to remain on call beyond your standard shift hours during operational conditions.



11. Job Opportunities for Navy Officers In Australia


Navy officers can work with numerous systems on the ship in science, healthcare, and chaplaincy. Some of the available Navy Officer Jobs that you can apply for are:


  • Maritime Warfare Officer 

  • Maritime Warfare Officer Submariner

  • Information Warfare Officer

  • Drone Mission Commander

  • Naval Flight Officer

  • Wellbeing Officer

  • Health Services Officer

  • Chaplain

  • Engineering Duty Officer

  • Dentist

  • Doctor

  • Nurse

  • Psychologist

  • Supply Corps

  • Shipping Industry Liason Officer

  • Meteorologist and Oceanographer

  • Training Systems Officer



The Navy offers various career specialisation and progression opportunities making working in this profession a continuous learning experience. Based on your qualification, experience, and expertise, you can get promoted to the following Navy Officer ranks:


  • Admiral of the Fleet - O - 11

  • Admiral - O - 10

  • Vice Admiral - O - 9

  • Rear Admiral - O - 8

  • Commodore - O - 7

  • Captain (RAN) - O - 6

  • Commander - O - 5

  • Lieutenant Commander - O - 4

  • Chaplain

  • Lieutenant - O - 3

  • Sub Lieutenant - O - 2

  • Acting Sub Lieutenant - O - 1

  • Midshipman

  • Warrant Officer of the Navy - E-9

  • Warrant Officer - E-9

  • Chief Petty Officer - E-8

  • Petty Officer - E-6

  • Leading Seaman - E-5

  • Able Seaman - E-3

  • Seaman - E-2



12. Job Prospects Of Navy Officers In Australia


As leaders, Navy officers are responsible for daily Navy operations and personnel management. The growing need for technological and readiness capacity leads to the demand for highly educated and trained Navy officers in Australia.


Presently, job growth and opportunities for Navy officers and other military personnel remain positive through 2028. The Australian Defence Force recruits qualified navy officers throughout the year.



13. How Old Do You Have To Be To Join The Navy In Australia?


To enter the Australian Defence Force Academy, you must be a minimum of 17 years of age and meet entry requirements for a relevant degree at the UNSW or equivalent.



14. What Is The Navy Officer Salary In Australia?


According to Pay Scale, salaries at the Royal Australian Navy range between AU$ 57,321 and AU$ 122,452 a year. The average navy officer's salary in Royal Australian Navy is AU$83,833 a year.



15. Conclusion


Besides diverse and rewarding work, a career as a Navy Officer offers several career opportunities, lifestyles, and financial benefits that make it worth pursuing. 


If you have the passion, determination, and ambition to work in the Navy, the Australian Defence Force offers you the best opportunities to realise your goals.


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