Apply to RN as Rating or Officer? Help please!

Discussion in 'Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting' started by Glor1a, Feb 8, 2014.

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  1. Hello,

    I would love to the join the RN. I'm a 27 years old and I have a background in aeronautical engineering. (HND qualified, EngTech accredited).

    I have been thinking about joining the RN for a while and now feel that I am at a crossroads - I hope that the good folk on this forum will give me some advice.

    In September this year I will start a two-year distance learning degree, to top-up my HND to BEng(hons). I understand that this is the minimum academic standard required to join RN as a commissioned officer. However, I will be almost 30 when I complete the course - perilously close to the maximum age at which I can apply for a commission.

    So I have been thinking about applying to join as a rating, working as hard as I possibly can (hopefully!) earning myself a commission along the way.

    My dilemma is this. If I hold out for my degree before I apply for a commission and I fail to make the grade, I will be too old to give a second go.

    If I join RN as a rating, I will take a £20K pay cut and I will have to sell my home. On a rating's salary, I may never get back on to the ladder.

    I have a good job, which I enjoy but I am looking for more and I have my heart set on RN. Should I throw caution to the wind and sign up as a rating or get my degree and take my chances at the OASC?

    Just to add to the equation - I want to be a submariner. I understand that dates from which the RN will be accepting applications from women are yet to be decided. I would still join to serve on surface ships, but submarines are my preference. If I apply now to join as a rating I won't be able to go for the submarine service.

    Any advice would be gratefully received.

  2. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator


    Firstly, HND aside, do you have the 5 GCSE's A*-C including maths & English...and A Levels at grade D or better, totalling 180 UCAS points? Are you British/Dual British?
  3. Thank you Ninja_Stoker.

    I have the required GSCEs. I don't have A-levels, but I do have a National Certificate in Aerospace Engineering. The NC is a level 3 qualification but I have no idea how many UCAS points it is worth, if any. I am British.

    I have an appointment at Guilford AFCO in a couple of weeks, to see a presentation and get some more information.
  4. I was in a similar position to yourself before joining, although only having a HNC in mech and man.

    I would have thought with your aeronautical background you would be more suited to AET, although if you add the possibility of serving on boats maybe ETME would be best.

    I joined up as an ETME rating, with a mechanical (fitter) background. All I can say is, as a rating I do feel like I've been held back. The course through Sultan was not the best, almost all of the exams were multiple choice. The recruit test I completed at the AFCO was more difficult than most of the exams at Sultan! However, with fast track coming in that may put a different spin on things.

    Selling your home and taking a 20k pay cut is not worth it to become a rating, unless maybe you can be guaranteed a place on fast track to POET. If I were you, I would take the chance and go for a commission.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Thanks TrialsLife. How old were you when you joined (if you don't mind me asking)? Would I be an old lady joining as a rating at 28?

    It's interesting that you said you felt held back. I have worried that the joining as a rating might feel like a backwards step, especially as I have worked so hard to get my HND. One of the things that is really important to me is to feel challenged by what I do - I don't want an easy ride!

    AET would suit my background, but I just love ships!

    Can you tell me more about the fast track you mentioned? Does being a POET come with a higher salary? If I could afford to hang on my flat (even barely) it would make all the difference - I don't have family I can stay with during leave.
  6. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Generally a BTEC Level 3 can be accepted in lieu of A Levels, but only if passed at least at Merit for triple awards or Distinction/Merit for a dual award. HNC or HND is not usually accepted in lieu of A Levels even with the vocational degree. You are advised to take copies of all current educational certificates to your presentation so they can be copied & checked by AIB or you could end up pretty hacked off if you take a couple of years to get the degree but get knocked back for want of the A Levels.

    Only you can decide if you want to take a pay cut & sell a house - I've seen people drop from £45k jobs to join as a rating on less than £15k and enjoy it. I've seen leading rates on £28k leave the service to earn triple that. It depends what motivates you.

    Forget about overseas travel as a submariner, it really isn't that common - not many countries like the prospect of a nuclear reactor visiting their backyard. Foreign trips are possible, but infrequent. The net pay for submariners is about £4k a year higher than a general service counterpart but that is countered by the lack of communication with home & limited travel prospects.

    Fast track promotion for technical ratings is limited to the top 5% of joiners - I was lucky enough to get it when I joined many moons back & was a leading rate in two years from joining. At today's rates that's about £27k upon promotion.

    Good luck.
  7. Thanks again. I've certainly got a lot to think about. Right now I'm tending towards applying to join as a rating on surface ships. If I show some promise perhaps I could transfer to submarines at some point in the future. If I got just one trip it would fulfill a life long dream.

    I don't want to miss my chance to join up. I'll see how it goes at the AFCO on the 19th.
  8. Join a different branch? That way it would be a smaller pay cut initially, and you'd still be an RN officer. Depends whether or not you see joining as a rating as a big compromise. Personally, I think joining as a rating is great for a lot of people, but if it's not what you want, that's probably a bad start.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Again it's a case of priorities. If it's Officer above all else, then a non tech undergrad Warfare or Logs Officer gets paid the same as a graduate engineering officer (apart from the current joining bounty).

    If engineer is more to your liking & you want to use spanners rather than manage those weilding spanners, then Engineering Technician is the way ahead. If you seek a suntan, scrub around submarines.
  10. Thank you all for contributing to the thread. It's a life changing decision so it's good to get as many different ideas and perspectives first.

    It's engineering above all else for me. I would love to lead a team, but I think I would like to try my hand at the spannering first. I'm definitely leaning towards applying to join as a rating. Selling my place is the scary bit, since I don't have family I can stay with or store my things with, but perhaps I won't miss it so much. Hopefully I would be far too busy to notice the drop in pay, too. What do you think? I've been looking for some information on how much I can expect to pay for things like accommodation, food, washing etc but can't find anything recent - does anyone have a link to some info?

    Thank you
  11. "scrub around" = forget it, btw.
  12. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

  13. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Just to add - is renting out your property not an option?
  14. Thank you, that's really helpful. Unfortunately renting is not an option. I bought the place with an equity loan scheme, which forbids sub-letting so it would have to go. It's a shame but I can't let it stop me joining up. Will the AFCO be able to tell me how long the waiting lists are?
  15. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Yes. Off the top of my head AET is about 12 months test to entry, ET(ME) 10-12 months, ET(WE) about 8 to 10, but your AFCO will advise more accurately. Submarine technical branches have shorter waits, but no news yet when direct entry females are being recruited, other than 2014 ish.
  16. I recently heard that the first SMQ for females is scheduled for Jan 2016. So I'd guess based on that early-ish 2015 for entry?

    Posted from the Navy Net mobile app (Android / iOS)
  17. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    I've heard rumours aplenty, but not seen anything in writing so couldn't actually punt a guess on this one.
  18. The first female ratings for submarines are due to start this year I believe, 6 female officers are already doing it.
  19. I bagsy in the sweep stake February 2015 as the date.
  20. I'll take April 2015.

    Posted from the Navy Net mobile app (Android / iOS)

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