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Careers / Life in the navy
shaping your career
Careers / Life in the navy

shaping your career

Whichever level you join at, how you shape your career – and how far you take it – are all in your hands.

Your route through the ranks

You’ll have a structured route through the ranks, with fast-track, on-the-job training as a constant feature.

As a rating

Promotion in the Royal Navy is based entirely on merit. It’s not just about experience, it’s about capabilities. So the faster you learn, the further you’ll get. Plus, if you show the right potential, you could go to officer selection at any point.

As an officer

Qualifying as an officer is just the start of your career. You’ve got a clear progression pathway, which means you can go to the next level as soon as you’re ready. You can see your earning potential too, which means you’re always motivated to learn and develop.

Working your way up

No matter which role you choose, you’ll start your career as an Able Rate. All ratings join the Royal Navy at this rank, on an annual salary of over £18,500 which goes up to £23,496 after six months. You’ll remain an Able Rate throughout your Initial Naval Training, and well into the role-specific training that follows it. 

First promotion
With dedication, determination and hard work, you’ll be promoted to Leading Hand, on a salary of £36,729. You’ll become a role model, mentor and manager to the Able Rates in your team, maintaining the high standards that are expected of you as you lead by example. Further professional training gives you the in-depth vocational knowledge that’s expected of more senior ratings.

Second promotion

If you excel as a Leading Hand, you’ll work towards becoming a Petty Officer, on a salary of £41,415. While you’ll still be hands-on, you’ll take on a more managerial role, leading and developing your team of ratings, to equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to excel, just as you will have done. 

Further promotions
If you keep up the good work and maintain the exacting standards that have got you to this point, you can be promoted to Chief Petty Officer and even on to Warrant Officer, on a salary of £56,383. This is the highest rank you can reach as a rating. At this level, you provide a crucial link between your officers and the ratings in the team that you lead.

Become an officer
At any point during your time as a rating, you can apply to become a Commissioned Officer. If you have what it takes, you can climb the ranks to Captain, with earning potential of over £110,000.

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Transferable skills

A future in the Royal Navy doesn’t just give you industry-leading qualifications and hands-on experience in your chosen role. It’s much more than that. What we do is unique, and the fact that you’re interested and reading this already sets you apart from most people.

Whether you join as a rating or an officer, you’ll have responsibilities appropriate to your role from the very start. You’ll learn practical and professional skills like time management, leadership, teamwork and problem-solving, and how to deal with challenging situations. On a more personal level, your unique working environment will teach you a lot about people, yourself included, and communicating with them at all levels.

Crucially, all of this happens on the job, so your future is fast-tracked, on every level.

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Qualifications for life

Regardless of the role you choose, you’ll have a fast-track route to a wide range of vocational and academic qualifications. These go far beyond those that enhance your naval role, like the Basic Sea Safety Course, or the role-specific curriculum you’ll complete as part of your training.

You’ll also have the opportunity to work towards the qualifications you want, from NVQs or GCSEs, through to Masters Degrees, and everything in between. Not only that, you can gain industry-specific Charterships (in the Engineering or Logistics branches, for example) much more quickly than in an equivalent civilian role.

A future in the Royal Navy means you’ll get further, faster. How far you want to go is up to you.

Royal Navy crewmembers waving at a helicopter on the flight at sunset

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