Officer or Non-Commissioned Member
You can apply to the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) as an Officer or a Non-Commissioned Member. The path that you choose will depend on your skillset, interests and educational background.
Officers in the CAF hold positions of authority and respect. They are responsible for the safety, well-being and morale of a group of soldiers, sailors, air men or air women. Analyzing, planning, making decisions and providing advice are a few aspects of an Officer’s role.
Education and training to become an Officer
To become an Officer in the CAF, you must have a university degree that relates to your chosen occupation.
If you are already a university graduate, you will join under the Direct Entry Program. After basic training, you will begin occupation training, which will introduce the basics of your chosen career in a military environment. You may also be required to complete some on-the-job training before you are assigned to your first position.
If you join under the Paid University entry plan or you are attending the Royal Military College of Canada, you will complete the Basic Military Officer Qualification course during the summer between first and second year. In the following summers you will do career training courses and on-the-job training with the CAF.
The Basic Military Officer Qualification course focuses on honing the leadership skills required by all Officers in the CAF. In addition to rigorous fitness training, basic training for Officers ensures that each candidate has the leadership potential, motivation and ability to lead in a military environment.
To ensure that you have the skills necessary to effectively lead small teams in simple operations, you will have opportunities to apply your military skills in training exercises involving force protection, field training, navigation and leadership. Second language training is also available and is based on the individual needs of each Cadet.
Non-Commissioned Members are skilled personnel who provide operational and support services in the CAF. Non-Commissioned Members start out as recruits and are trained to do specific jobs.
As a technician or a technologist, you will supervise and direct the repair and maintenance of a variety of systems, equipment or weapons. You may also perform technical inspections and tests, control inventories or maintain records. As an operator, you may operate military vehicles, or use electrical, electronic or mechanical equipment. In a support role, you may perform administrative or health services tasks.
Education and training to become a Non-Commissioned Member
The Basic Military Qualification course focuses the skills required to succeed in a military environment. In addition to fitness training, basic training for Non-Commissioned Members ensures that each recruit has the potential, motivation and ability to work as an effective team member.
You will have opportunities to apply your military skills in training exercises involving force protection, field training and navigation.
After completing basic training, you will continue training specific to your career in the Navy, Army or Air Force:
- Navy recruits attend a five-week fleet school where they learn about naval history, watch keeping and firefighting duties, and develop the skills necessary while at sea
- Army recruits attend a 20-day course to undergo more in-depth physical training, weapons handling and tactical maneuvers
- Air Force recruits attend a four-day course to learn about the history of the Air Force, evolutions in aviation technology, and Air Force customs and traditions
The next step is occupation training, which will introduce you to your new military career with some on-the-job training. This phase can last from a few months to a year.
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