How To Join The Australian Army: Become A Soldier

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Students want to know how to become a soldier or army officer in Australia, including what do you need to study for it.


Many people dream of joining the Australian Army. It is a matter of utmost pride and honour for them to train hard, wear the uniform, and serve the nation from the front.


When you join the Australian Army as a soldier, you will become part of a proud and long heritage. The Army strictly focuses on tradition, teamwork, commitment to excellence, courage, and pride.


Today, they also provide young army aspirants with a modern, dynamic, and sophisticated environment, offering all types of opportunities.


So if you wish to be a part of the Australian Army, read the post below to learn how to join the Army in Australia, the requirements, the maximum age, and how you can join as a foreigner to challenge yourself to be the best.



1. Why Join The Australian Army?


You will enjoy plenty of benefits as a soldier in the Army, such as gaining recognised qualifications, world-class army training in Australia, the opportunity for career advancement, ongoing job security, and an excellent pay scale.


No experience is required to apply, although previous qualifications or studies may receive recognition. Above all, joining the Army will help you get the best out of yourself. You will acquire professional skills and personal qualities that will remain with you throughout your life.



2. Major Tasks and Duties of a Soldier


  • Help in the execution and preparation of military movements.

  • Take part in classroom lectures and field training in administration, leadership, vehicle maintenance, fieldcraft, computer skills, and navigation.

  • Maintain and operate a wide variety of military equipment.

  • Ensure the safety and maintenance of military bases and equipment.

  • Conduct reconnaissance, surveillance, and board operations.

  • Guard airfields and other defence force bases.

  • Crew armoured fighting vehicles.

  • Establish and maintain command, control and communications facilities and equipment.

  • Provide firepower to ground-based air defence.

  • Serve as an infantry soldier.

  • Operate shipboard weapons, ground and surface-based defence systems, artillery, and other advanced specialist military equipment and weapons.

  • Clear minefields, erect bridges, demolish targets using explosives, repair airfields, construct temporary roads, and build field defences.



3. What Types of Jobs Can You Do As a Soldier in Australia?


The Australian Army has more than 50 jobs for a soldier, so you are bound to find one that interests you. As a soldier, you will receive civilian recognition and get trained in all areas of your work.


You can choose to undertake trade jobs, which help you study a specialised trade qualification as you learn at a TAFE institute. You can also select a non-trade job that has unique training requirements. 


The table below shows a few examples of trade and non-trade jobs:


Trade Jobs Non-Trade Jobs



  • Cargo Specialist

  • Groundcrewman Mission Support

  • Groundcrewman Aircraft Support

  • Bearer System Operator

  • Command Support Systems Operator

  • Communications Operator

  • Electronic Warfare Operator

  • Marine Specialist

  • Combat Engineer

  • Artillery Operator

  • Movement Operator

  • Air Dispatcher

  • Rifleman

  • Main Battle Tank Crewman

  • Australian Light Armoured Vehicle Crewman

  • Anti-Aircraft Missile Operator

  • Preventative Medicine Technician

  • Medical Assistant

  • Steward

  • Petroleum Operator

  • Petroleum Operator

  • Finance Clerk

  • Administration Clerk



4. What Are The Educational Requirements To Become A Soldier in Australia?


To apply for a trade position, you must complete year ten or equivalent and achieve sound achievement in Science, Mathematics, English and one other field.


To apply for a non-trade position, you must complete Year 9 or equivalent. You must achieve sound achievement in Mathematics and English. Some trade jobs may also require you to have prior study experience in Science subjects like Physics. 


You may even need additional educational requirements. To get more details, visit the defence jobs website.


Note: A 'sound achievement' or a 'pass' means the result that places you among the top 70 per cent of students.



5. How Old Do You Have to Be To Join The Army In Australia?


The minimum age requirement to join the Australian Army is 17 years. However, you can start the application process when you are six months away from turning 17.


  • Suppose you are under 17 and want to join the Army. In that case, you must get your application authorised in writing by both your legal guardians and parents. It would help if you did this because you are still considered a minor. Here are some other things you must consider:


  • There is no fixed maximum age to join the Army in Australia, as it entirely depends on the position you are applying for. However, according to the guideline, you can only enter the Army if you are three years away from the obligatory retirement age for a particular position.


  • As proof of birth date, you must present your birth certificate. In some cases, evidence in the form of a Statutory Declaration is also accepted.


  • Photocopies or replicas of birth certificates or receipts by a District Registrar are unacceptable unless officially issued or certified.


  • If you are under 17 but older than twelve and a half years, you can join the Australian Defence Force. This is to get a taste of what it's like to join the Army to learn team-building, leadership, and survival skills.


  • Anyone can join the Australian Army as there are no gender restrictions.



6. What Are The Australian Army Fitness Requirements?


You will have to take a pre-enlistment fitness assessment before joining the Army. It is not that hard, but you will require a fair degree of fitness to pass the test. The fitness assessment takes place almost two weeks before your enlistment day, and you must pass the test to get enlisted.


The assessment evaluates cardiovascular strength and muscular endurance through sit-ups, push-ups, and a 20-meter shuttle run test. You need to take the test as it is compulsory for training purposes. Also, the assessment validates the recruit's essential fitness and indicates how prone the candidate is to injury.


Physical fitness is a crucial part of the Army as the recruits need to meet challenging physical tasks of their job. Even army training in Australia mainly focuses on developing endurance, body strength, and coordination. The pre-enlistment fitness assessment (PFA) is the initial part of the physical development process and offers a solid platform for activities.


Here are the details about the three main components of the PFA:





You need to perform sit-ups in military style. The feet are 90-degree anchored, and the angle is formed at the knee, between the lower and upper legs. It helps if you place your hands along the top of the upper leg, and one sit-up counts when the wrist reaches the kneecap.


The hands run up and down the legs freely and are not used to pull up the torso. You need to complete one repetition every three seconds. Also, it is vital to listen to the physical training instructor during the test and perform the sit-ups correctly. Here are the standard sit-up requirements to pass the test:





  • Female: 45

  • Male: 45




  • Female: 45

  • Male: 45





You must do the push-ups in military style, in which the toes and the hands are directly in touch with the ground, and the back remains straight (parallel to the floor). The shoulders are lowered to produce a 90° angle at the elbow, between the lower and the upper arm.


It is vital to keep the back straight during each push-up. For both women and men, the push-up style is the same. You must listen to the instructions given by the physical training instructor to perform the push-up correctly during the assessment. Here are the standard push-up requirements to pass the test:





  • Female: 8

  • Male: 15



Full- time


  • Female: 8

  • Male: 15


Note: Special forces must achieve 60 sit-ups, 40 push-ups, shuttle runs to level 10.1, and 6 over-grasp heaves (pull-ups).



Beep Test


The Beep Test, also called Multi-Stop Fitness Test, comprises a sprint sequence or 20-meter shuttle run. You will need to perform several sprints or shuttles at each exam level. As the test proceeds, the time allowed for each shuttle reduces, and the speed required to finish the shuttle increases in the given time.


The test starts at a rate slightly above a fast pace of walking and accelerates to full speed by reaching level 7.5. The trial at level 7.5 takes around six minutes and thirty seconds to complete and incorporates 56 shuttles.


Furthermore, the test demonstrates individual aerobic fitness and the ability of the body to cope with the dynamics of the recruitment program. You must listen to the instructor carefully before starting the beep test. The following are the shuttle run scores required to pass the test.






  • Female: 7.5

  • Male: 7.5



Full Time


  • Female: 7.5

  • Male: 7.5



7. Can You Join The Army With A Criminal Record In Australia?


You can apply for the Australian Army irrespective of your criminal past. But entry into the Army depends entirely on the seriousness of the offence committed and how hard you try to pitch yourselves to the recruiters.


If you want to enrol, do not hide your past, as they will find out. Always be honest — the worst scenario is that they will ask you to apply again in one or two years.


Focus on your fitness as it will help any unfavourable perceptions. Also, it is a good idea to work on your problem-solving skills and mathematics and English abilities. Online practice tests and books are available to assist you with enlistment tests.



8. How To Join The Australian Army as a Foreigner?


Overseas applicants from allied nations with relevant military experience can seek to join the Armed Forces in Australia. Also, you need to apply for Australian citizenship to be a part of the Australian Army. 


Under certain conditions, if an Australian citizen cannot fill a post, citizenship needs can be revoked, and applications might get accepted. However, citizenship is a must-have in specific defence fields, particularly any sensitive work involving collaboration with ASIS or ASIO.


As an overseas applicant, you need to meet the following eligibility requirements to apply for a post in Army:


  • At the time of application, you must be less than 50 years old.

  • You must possess skills, qualifications, and helpful experience in the Army.

  • You must be a currently serving member of the foreign military or left your services three years ago. 

  • You must demonstrate proficiency in the English language (writing, reading, speaking, and listening) as directed by the international English language test system.

  • You must have at least five years of full-time military experience.

  • You must be eligible to undertake Australian citizenship.

  • You must hold and obtain an appropriate ADF (Australian Defence Force) security clearance.

  • You must pass the medical entry standard set by the ADF.

  • You must resign from your current military service and have no obligations to complete any Reserve service.

  • You must obtain subclass 186 - an Employer Nomination Scheme Visa from the Department of Home Affairs. You and your accompanying family must also meet specific character and health requirements.


Visit the Australian army website to get more information about the eligibility criteria and the application process for overseas applicants.



9. How Much Does a Soldier Earn in Australia?


The Army pays quite well compared to other civilian employers in Australia. The minimum Australian army salary for soldiers during their basic military training in Australia is more than AU$25,000 per annum. 


When you start your Initial Employment Training (IET), your salary will jump over AU$28,000. After completing your course successfully, you may receive between AU$44,000 and AU$49,000, depending on your chosen role.



10. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)



How Long Does It Take To Be A Soldier in Australia?


From initial expression of interest to joining the Australian Army as a soldier, the entire process may take 18 to 30 months.



How Long Is Basic Training?


All full-time soldiers in the military must complete Soldier Training at the first RTB (Recruit Training Battalion) Kapooka, close to Wagga Wagga. This introductory training takes 80 days to complete.



What Is It Called When You Finish Your Time in The Military?


It is called "End of Active Service" or EAS," where you exit the military entirely upon completing your contract.



How Much Does The Military Pay?


Army members receive a military salary once every fortnight. You may also receive bonuses or allowances that get added to your salary.


You can check your salary on the salary rates table based on rank, pay grade, and increment. You are entitled to receive salary increments each year as per the current Workplace Remuneration Arrangement.


Army members performing continuous full-time service in the Permanent Forces or on Servop C receive an annual rate. While those who are a member of the Reserves doing reserve days receive a daily rate.



How Long is The Army Contract?


The Australian Defence Force offers some one-year positions. Still, most general entrants have to commit for two to six years. Officers serve at least three to fourteen years. The longer the training is needed, the longer the commitment.



Can You Leave The Australian Army at Any Time?


As Army members receive world-class training, they serve a specific period based on their entry type, job, and type of training completed. 


The minimum period needed to serve the ADF is:


  • During Basic Recruit Training: You may leave three weeks after you submit a request if you decide the Army isn't for you.

  • Soldiers: Between two and six years.

  • Graduate Entry Officers: Between three and six years.

  • Direct Entry Officers: Between three and ten years.

  • ADFA Officer and Staff Cadets: It depends on the duration of your degree course and training, plus one year.

  • Defence University Sponsorship Officers: Your sponsorship duration plus one year.

  • Officer Entry applicants: They need to serve a minimum period between 3 and 14.5 years based on the area of specialisation.

  • Army Reserve members: You must serve at least 20 days per year after they complete their training. 



Can You Quit The Army After Three Years?


Usually, the longer the training you undergo, the longer the commitment/serving period in the Army.


Soldiers usually need to serve between two and six years based on their entry type, job, and length of training undertaken.



Do You Get Weekends off in The Army?



In The Case of Part-Time soldiers:


You do not get any weekends off while undergoing the recruitment course. As the course is short, you will get ample opportunity for time off after you finish the recruit training.



In The Case of Full-Time soldiers


You will require working every weekend during your recruitment training course. However, you will visit the City of Wagga in the fourth week of the training course. You will get three hours to shop and relax. Later, you will also get some free time and may access some of the Kapooka facilities.


Remember that the recruit training course isn't very long. Once the course ends, you will proceed onto Initial Employment Training at the Corps school and have much more free time.



How Much Does The Army Get Paid in Australia?


Australian Army men and women usually receive a salary per the ADF Military Salary - Permanent Rates pdf. Your salary is determined based on your rank and increment level. It may increase with skills acquired, length of service, and rank.



Do Australian Soldiers Pay Taxes?


As per the law, most Australian Defence Force members must pay tax on their salary, allowances, and wages earned in the financial year. However, being an ADF member, you can claim a broad range of tax deductions on your annual return.


Exemption from income tax applies to those who are positioned abroad on eligible duty in a definite location.


They will require submitting a certificate the Chief of the Defence Force allotted to get the exemption.



Will I Lose My Job if I Join The Military?


The Fair Work Ombudsman, Australia and Defence Reserve Service (Protection) Act 2001) aims to protect Reservists' civilian employees committed to volunteering and using their valuable military experience and skills to serve their country. It is to enable them to balance their civilian and military commitments.


According to the legislation, employers must not hinder, dismiss or prevent their employee Reservists from undertaking Defence service. They should release them to render defence service and continue employing them once they return after performing their military obligations. 


Employers are not legally entitled to pay employees while they accomplish defence services, including training. However, most employers provide paid leave to support their employee Reservists, as military pay for Reservists is lower than their civilian pay.


However, such legal protection only applies when the Army member is employed before joining the military and remains absent from defence service.


Additionally, they must have an existing military commitment when taking leave. If they meet these conditions, they are legally entitled to remain absent from that employment to render defence service.



Is It Hard To Join The Australian Army?


The difficulty or ease of joining the Australian Army depends on your circumstances, the role you are applying for, and your current physical fitness. All of these can impact your chances of selection in the Army.


Though it isn't hard, you must have good physical stamina to pass the Physical Fitness Assessment to get enlisted. The required passing scores for the test depend on your age and gender.


Suppose you score higher than the required score and demonstrate a good fitness level in the assessment. Your chances of getting considered for more physically demanding roles will increase in that case.


Besides fitness, you also need mental aptitude and education standards that they will assess with an online test during recruitment. You would also require completing a series of medical examinations and meet medical requirements to confirm your sound physical and mental health and suitability for the position.


If you pass the fitness, education, and medical tests, the last step to joining the Army is to crack the interview round. The difficulty of this assessment stage depends entirely on the person itself. 


Overall, the difficulty level of joining the Army depends on your natural abilities and best efforts to overcome your weak zones and improve your strengths to reach the goal.


Now that you know everything about how to become a soldier in Australia, you are ready to embark on your fitness journey and start preparing for the career of your dream.


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