Defence Force

Job snapshot

SALARY average:

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fixed or variable remuneration: Fixed salary

number of open jobs: varies by country


The Role

What Members of the Australian Defence Force Do

There are hundreds of jobs available with the Australian Defence Force, though each specialty supports national interests in one way or another. While many expect military careers to be a lifetime of tanks, weapons, planes, or ships, the Army, Navy, and Airforce need people to work in countless vital ground and office positions to support their work as well.

Who would enjoy a career in Defence Force?

Careers in the Defence Force can be a good move for almost anyone, as the various branches are willing to provide training and there are many jobs to choose from. Those who do best tend to be self-starters and natural leaders, all with a strong desire to support their country and work together for a common goal. Interestingly, the modern ADF is also highly flexible in terms of work arrangements, and may be able to accommodate part-time schedules, job sharing, and even telecommuting, which means it can also be a viable option for those with families as well as anyone who seeks work/life balance.

Who mightn't like the career?

Choosing a Defence Force career is not just a job choice; it’s a lifestyle choice. While there are many benefits, such as flexible work arrangements, housing subsidies, healthcare, and education offered, individuals are still required to live where they’re needed. The ADF pays for relocation, but anyone who isn’t willing to move or be away from home for training or other needs isn’t going to be happy in the career.




Unlike other careers, there are not many requirements or educational expectations for those getting into many ADF careers. The base requirements include:

  • Being an Australian who is at least 17
  • Having passed Year 10 English and Maths (or be able to pass equivalency tests)
  • Being able to pass background checks
  • Being of general good health
  • Having any licenses required of the job
  • Being willing to serve a minimum period (generally 2-6 years)


There are fitness requirements for those entering the ADF, which include having a BMI between 18.5-32.9 (29.9 for pilots). For more information about physical requirements, see the breakdown by branch.

The interview process includes two visits to a recruiting centre. During the first visit, an aptitude test is given, and a recruiter helps the candidate choose which jobs he or she is qualified to apply for. The candidate’s health history is also evaluated. During the second visit, the candidate interviews with a senior ADF interviewer, doctor, and psychologist. If the candidate is being considered for an officer role, he or she will also have to sit an Officer Selection Board, which is similar to a traditional job interview.

Moving into Defence Force from another career

There are many jobs with the ADF, and just as many that jobs transition well into it too. Career opportunities range from aviation to various trades, hospitality, business, education, IT, healthcare, and more. Because of this, virtually anyone from any background can transition into a career with the ADF.

relevant skillshare courses



There are hundreds of unique career paths within the ADF. To learn more about the various paths and opportunities for growth available, visit the ADF website and use the Job Finder Tool to explore them.

Travel Opportunities

Travel is generally a big part of an ADF career. Individuals must work and train wherever they’re needed, which could mean traveling or relocating throughout Australia and across the globe.



The trainee pay schedule ranges from the low $20,000s through the low $70,000s, depending on the individual’s background and what he or she is training for. New recruits entering the ADF under the traditional basic training path earn $36,571 annually. From there, salaries start at the mid 40s through the low 100s. As rank climbs, salaries do as well. Officers range from 53k to 103k and senior officers reach nearly 400k at their peak.

The ADF website has a full list of pay by rank or trainee level.


No additional pay through bonuses is provided, though allowances are added based on one’s job duties.



Why Members of the Australian Defence Force move on

Job skills learned through the ADF, as well as the character attributes developed, position individuals well to transition to related careers outside the military. Moreover, the ADF also offers university sponsorships, enabling those who want to follow career paths the ADF finds useful the opportunity to learn free.

Careers that transfer well vary based on one’s career within the ADF, and with hundreds of jobs available to choose from and train for, it’s easy to select a career that will prepare an individual for civilian life. For some, the decision to join is intentionally short-term. They may sign up for the minimum duration, learn skills, and transition out upon completion. Others stay in their careers until retirement.


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