Government & Defence

Navy Officer

Navy officers manage and lead non-commissioned officers and sailors in both peacetime and wartime.

  • Entry-level education

    Senior secondary school certificate or equivalent

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Navy Officer do?

Navy officers manage and lead non-commissioned officers and sailors in both peacetime and wartime. They serve on board ships and submarines, and manage the day-to-day operations of a vessel.


Work activities

As a Navy officer, you could:

  • lead a team of non-commissioned officer and sailors
  • be responsible for your team in both wartime and peacetime operations
  • command a ship or a submarine
  • specialise in combat- related areas such as weapons engineering, maritime warfare, or maritime engineering
  • specialise in non-combat duties such as legal, medical, finance or supply / logistics areas
  • keep both your military and marine skills up-to-date.

Key skills and interests

To become a Navy officer, you would need:

  • to be able to lead and motivate others
  • to be prepared to accept responsibility
  • good physical and mental medical fitness
  • to be able to work as part of a team
  • Australian citizenship.

Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

Naval officers usually work eight-hour shifts, which would include weekends and public holidays, either onshore or at sea. You may be required to be on call outside of your designated shift hours, especially during operational situations on board ships or submarines.


You must be prepared to move anywhere within Australia and overseas. Whilst serving at sea, you may be away from home for several months at a time, sometimes working in dangerous situations.


How to become an Navy Officer?

Entry Level Education

To become a Navy officer you usually have to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent with passes in English and three other tertiary entry units, preferably including mathematics and a science unit.

To join the Navy you will need to successfully complete a series of aptitude tests, medical assessments and selection interviews.

You can then become a Navy officer in a number of ways. You may apply to join the Navy as a direct entry officer (non-degree), complete a degree through the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA), apply as a sponsored undergraduate through the Defence University Sponsorship, or apply after completing one of a selected range of specialist degrees.

Entry to all non-degree officer cadet positions requires completion of the New Entry Officer Course, at the Royal Australian Naval College (RANC), HMAS Creswell at Jervis Bay, NSW. This is followed by specialist training with the Navy.

Entry to ADFA usually requires you to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent with an appropriate score in prerequisite subjects relevant to your chosen study. All ADFA students are required to complete a 3-year course of academic study at the Academy, incorporating the Academic Military (AMET) programme. To enter ADFA, you must be at least 17 years of age and have satisfied entry requirements for a relevant degree at the University of New South Wales or equivalent.


Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

The total number of active-duty and reserve personnel serving in the Australian Armed Forces is currently expected to remain roughly the same.

The Australian Defence Force recruits throughout the year.


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