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A career as a Royal Irish Officer

All officers attend the 44-week Commissioning Course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS). During the course you will learn all the skills necessary to become an Officer in the British Army.

From the moment you join the Royal Irish Regiment your future will be planned with great care. All officers join the Army on Length of Service Terms and Conditions, which ensure that you spend sufficient time in each rank before being promoted to the next.

Initially you will spend some time as a platoon commander, after which postings become more varied, but equally challenging. Each step of the way you will be guided in the direction most suitable for you and your career. Much depends on your own talents and preferences. You may decide that you would like to specialise in the various tactical and technical aspects of military operations.

You may complete the rigorous selection and training for attachment to the Special Air Service Regiment, which incidentally, is always well subscribed to by our officers. You could add to your qualifications by taking a university, technical or language course. All officers on promotion to Major undergo staff training at the Defence Academy and those, on promotion to Lieutenant Colonel compete for entry to the Joint Command Staff College.

It is some indication of our high professional standards that we have provided the Army with many of its most senior officers. It will come as no surprise that we have officers in every rank from Second Lieutenant to Lieutenant General - from a Platoon Commander to the Commander of The Field Army.

Choosing a commission

The ‘stepping stone approach’ to Commissioning allows you to take a series of planned and carefully co-ordinated steps forward in developing your career. It allows you to assess how long you want to serve and under what conditions.

Short Service Commission

For most officers their initial engagement will be for a period of three years on a Short Service Commission. If you wish, and if your Commanding Officer supports your desire to do so, this period can be extended to allow you to remain for up to a maximum of eight years. During that time, once you have received two annual reports, you can apply for the next level of Commission, provided that your Commanding Officer supports your request.

Approximately 72 per cnt of all Short Service Commission officers completing their military training will be able to make this transition. Bear in mind that some will not wish to do so, having opted for relatively short periods of service before embarking upon a civilian career.

Intermediate Regular Commission

The next level is known as the Intermediate Regular Commission. Once you have been awarded this Commission you will be eligible to remain in the Army for a period of eighteen years of Reckonable Service. After two years you will be eligible to apply for the final level of Commission; once again this is dependent on the support of your Commanding Officer.

Approximately 63 per cent of those allocated Intermediate Regular Commissions will be able to convert to the next level. Remember that some will never plan to do so and will leave the Army at this stage in order to embark upon a civilian career.

Regular Commission

The third and final level is the Regular Commission. Once you have reached this you will normally be able to serve for a full pensionable career, eligible for promotion to Lieutenant Colonel, selection and subsequent progression to the highest ranks.

Undergraduate Awards

The Army Bursary Scheme is awarded to approximately 200 candidates each year. It is an annual tax-free lump sum, and is designed for those undergraduates who only wish to commit themselves to a three-year Commission. However, it can also apply to those who have longer-term aspirations as well.

Army Officer Selection Board (AOSB)

Assuming you meet the minimum criteria you will attend the Army Officer Selection Board. It is at this stage that your potential to be trained as an officer in the British Army will be assessed.

The Army Officer Selection Board is made up of two parts - Briefing and Main Board. Once you have a date for Briefing you should get in touch with Regimental Headquarters to arrange an interview with the Regimental Secretary. At that interview you will learn how The Royal Irish Regiment selects its officers out of Sandhurst. For Regular Army candidates opportunities to visit the Regiment's 1st Battalion will also be discussed then.

If you are interested in a career as a Regular or Reserve Officer in The Royal Irish Regiment and you cannot find the information you need above then please e-mail the Regimental Secretary at
RHQRIRISH-REGT-SEC@mod.uk to find out more.


I am a citizen of the Republic of Ireland. Can I join The Royal Irish Regiment as an officer?
Yes, as long as you meet the minimum criteria to be considered for a commission in the British Army. Check eligibility criteria from the links on the right of this page.

I am over 26 years old. Can I join as an officer?
Yes. You must be under 30 years of age when you start at The Royal Military Academy if you want to commission into the Infantry. The Royal Irish Regiment is an infantry regiment.

Do you have to be Irish to join The Royal Irish Regiment?
No. Whilst the Regiment is Irish in culture and 70-80% of our officers and soldiers are from the island of Ireland or have Irish ancestry it is not necessary to be Irish to be considered for a commission in The Royal Irish Regiment. We are much more interested in whether you are intelligent, fit and determined and have a personality which will be compatible with the officers and men of the Regiment.

Can I serve in The Royal Irish Regiment and stay in Northern Ireland?
Yes, if you join our Reserve battalion.

I have another career but want to serve Part Time in the Regiment - can I?
Yes, subject to meeting the entry criteria. You should e-mail the Regimental Secretary and he will put you in touch with the 2nd Battalion who can support you as you go through the application process to join the Reserves.

How old do I need to be before I can visit the Regiment?
You need to be at least 18 years old before you can attend a familiarisation visit with The Royal Irish Regiment but you can apply for a commission and register your interest before that.

What to do next

lf you have not already made contact with us or you need further information about a commission in The Royal Irish please contact:

Telephone: 02890 420629

Email: INFHQ-POW-RIRISH-RegtSec@mod.uk

Regimental Secretary
RHQ The Royal Irish Regiment
Palace Barracks
Holywood BT18 9RA

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