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The joining process

These are the steps it takes to join the Regular Army or the Army Reserve.


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Getting started

Create an online account so you can fill in and submit your application. (There’s a ‘save’ functionality so you don’t have to do it all at once.) If you have any questions at all, chat to our Advisers on Live Chat or pop in to an Army Careers Centre.

Once your application has been received and your basic eligibility assessed, you’ll be sent a link to complete an online form about your general health.

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If you're medically fit, you'll get a Candidate Support Manager (CSM) to support you.

You will be expected to contact or visit a Reserve unit and decide which one you would like to join. If you need help with this, your CSM can help you. Once you have decided on a suitable Unit, you will be invited for a Unit interview. This lets you ask questions and allows the unit’s recruiting team to see if you are suitable for the Army Reserve. This is important because it also allows you to ensure that the unit is right for you

After your interview you will need to fill out your medical declaration (RGMD), this is handed to your GP, and Optician (if needed).

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If you meet eligibility requirements and have completed any training and development set by your unit, you’ll be invited to spend 2 days at an Assessment Centre. Here, you’ll do physical and mental tests to judge your fitness and military potential, plus have a medical examination.

After you've completed your pre-employment checks (you will be given guidance on these), the next step in officer assessment is at the Army Officer Selection Board (AOSB). This is in two parts: a 24-hour briefing and a 3½ day Main Selection Board:

24-hour briefing (over a 2 day period)
At the briefing you'll undertake physical and practical exercises designed to test your leadership and teamwork potential. This is your chance to learn and prepare for the next step, Main Board selection. The AOSB prep document will help you get ready for this.

Main Board
Once you pass AOSB Briefing you will be asked back to attend Main Board. Over a 3½ day period you’ll be assessed physically and mentally to demonstrate your abilities.

You'll then start officer training at a local Officer Training Corps – this will be agreed between your Unit and the OTC to optimise the time you will now spend undertaking officer training.

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You can complete your officer training in modules or in one go depending on your circumstances. Both options will see you receive your commission on completion of your training at Sandhurst.

Leadership skills

Initial officer training is a series of modules to develop your military, leadership and tactical skills teaching you the same skills as Regular Army officers. Each of the first 2 modules are either broken up into 7 weekends with an Officer Training Corps or each done as a consolidated 2 week module at Sandhurst. The third module, also lasts for 2 weeks and takes place at Sandhurst.

Commissioning Course

The fourth module is the Reserve Commissioning Course at Sandhurst, which is considered to be the culmination of your leadership and management training. The 2 week course is designed to further develop your leadership ability and give you the key military skills required to have a successful Reserve career. All four modules are run back-to-back at Sandhurst, allowing you to complete all of your Reserve Officer training in a single eight week package, if appropriate. The course ends with a, formal Commissioning Parade in front of Old College to which family and friends are invited.

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Specialist training

Once you’re commissioned you will always have the option to further develop your management and leadership skills. Continual professional development is a theme of Army life and you will have the opportunity to gain professional qualifications, as well as adventurous training qualifications.


PQ Officers

As a Professionally Qualified Officer, selection will be at the Army Officer Selection Board, but there are some differences depending on the trade you wish to join. There is no option for modular training - training consists of two two-week courses.

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How to get ready

Lots of people worry about whether they’re fit enough to join up. Or about how they will do in the interviews and selection tests. You don’t need to be anxious, we'll help you to get ready for all the tests.

FAQs - How to join

Where can I get help with my application?

You can talk to your local careers office, contact our advisers on Live Chat or call us on 0345 600 8080. If you are planning on joining the Army Reserve, your local unit will support you throughout your application.

Why haven't I heard about my application?

Application timings can vary depending on the role you’ve applied for, but you should have received an email from us within 2 weeks from the date you first applied. If you haven’t received an email from us, or to find out about the progress of your application, get in touch with us using Live Chat.

How do I apply for AFC Harrogate?

To apply to AFC Harrogate you can use our normal Army application form, which you'll find it in My Account (you'll need to create an account to access this part of the site). Or if you'd like to talk to someone face to face about your options, visit your local Army Careers Centre.

When can I restart my application?

Restarting your application will vary depending on your individual circumstances. When you are told that you have not met the criteria, you should receive an indication of when you can reapply. If you have a question on this then go to Live Chat where someone will be able to advise on your circumstances.

How long will it take for me to reach the next stage in my application?

The whole application process can take around 3 – 5 months to complete, depending on the role you have applied for. The time to reach the next stage in your application can vary, so timings will not be the same for everyone. If you have a specific question about your application, use Live Chat to talk to us.

What documents do I need for my medical?

You do not need to bring any specific documents, but there are a few things that you can do to prepare for your medical. You will be asked questions about your family history and it would be helpful if you could be prepared for this. You should also bring your glasses with you and remove soft contact lenses 2 days before, and hard contact lenses 10 days before your assessment. In addition you are advised to avoid fizzy drinks, energy drinks, alcohol or coffee and sugary foods 12 hours before your medical.

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Call us on 0345 600 8080

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