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RFA Medical Technician - any info please??!!


Good evening one and all! Brand new on here, just had a good search through this forum and found some good info but nothing current so if anyone could answer some of my questions that would be great.

I'm looking to join the RFA as a med tech, bit of background - 18 years as a paramedic, worked remote and worked offshore (ships not rigs) for two years, have my Offshore Medics Course, currently working as a freelance paramedic practitioner and first aid instructor, already have an ENG1 medical certificate as well.

So first applied in Nov for a closing date in Dec, bit of confusion resulted re residency but was given the green light to apply after I pointed out I also have a British passport, which meant I didn't have to have resided in the UK for 4 years prior to applying.

I've heard nothing since Nov so rang up Portsmouth this week and was told that any interviews would be scheduled for May looking at a start date end of this year?!!!! Has anyone else gone through this process and does it normally take over a year?

From what I've read on this forum you have to - I believe - take a computer course plus other qualifications and shadow a Med Tech for 2 months before going to sea, is that correct? If so is that why it takes over a year before you go to sea? I am just a bit confused as to why no interviews are being held until May? I did ask but was only told "it's a long process". If anyone has gone through the whole process I'd really like to know how long it took and what the different stages were please.

Thanks for your time ladies and gents, if I do get an interview etc I'll pop back on here and provide any info I can for others, cheers!
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To answer the bit about the length of the application process (this was for Qualified Deck Rating):

I first sent in an application July last year, they did sifting for interview in October and then I had an actual interview in November. Just yesterday I received my formal contract offer to start in May - so overall about 6/7 months for me which isn't bad going.

Bear in mind that following my interview at the end of November, it took 5 weeks for them to write to me to give me a provisional offer. The provision being that I get a fresh ENG1 (my existing ENG1 had less than 12 months left on it, so if you are the same be prepared for that), provide evidence of having received a specified list of vaccinations - yellow fever, typhoid, Meningitis C etc - and if I hadn't, to then go and get them from the doctor. I also had to find out my blood group, send a copy of my birth certificate... the list goes on. Oh and I had a small pack of paperwork to fill out as well.

THEN, you have to apply for security clearance which can take no time at all (16 days for me) but I know that for a friend of mine it took 6 weeks!

As you can see, once you've had your interview it's really down to how fast you can get everything they want together. For me it was a bit of bad timing having Christmas to deal with, which slowed things down medical-wise.

Hope this helps!


Yes that really does help - thank you so much for taking the time to reply!

The lady I spoke to just said they were looking to interview people in May so I'll be somewhere in the sift process right now I guess. I've had to call twice and both times they've been really nice but I don't want to be a pest so it's good to know that this is standard procedure!

Congrats on the new job mate and thanks again - much appreciated!


I applied as a DE in October and have an interview in March. If I pass that then it's onto AIB and if successful at that and obtain a satisfactory ENG1, then possibly start at BRNC in October.


Yeah that sounds about the same timeframe then, just didn't realise it would take so long so thanks for letting me know! The ENG1 was not too bad, I already had a UK offshore one and I had to get a Norwegian one for my last contract, they were both far more stringent than the ENG1, even had to have an ECG for the UKOG . The only thing I got pulled up on for my ENG1 was the doctor said my BMI was a bit high. I don't really agree with the BMI test, personally I think it's not that reliable as I'm well within the acceptable weight limit for my height but I passed anyway with no restrictions as the doctor was happy with it. Good luck with the interview mate!
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There are a number of courses that have to be completed before you go to sea shadowing another Med Tech.
As you mention there is the DMICP computer course - the system we use for recording consultations and dispensing. The Off-Shore Medics course (OMC), a qualification you must hold prior to joining a RFA vessel. A Health and Safety Assessor's course. A Royal Navy Medical Branch Pre-Joining Course (PJT) at the Institute of Naval Medicine. Then there are the fire-fighting and damage control training courses to name a few.

All these courses have to booked and loaded onto via the Royal Navy Training Organisation - except the OMC which is a civilian course. So we as RFA personnel are only allocated a small number of places on the various courses required for a Med Tech before he or she joins a ship. You may bring Paramedical and Independent Practitioner skill sets to the party but the MoD likes you to dance to their tune by making you complete the listed courses and be assimilated into the RFA/RN way of things!


That's really useful info Mad-Doc, thanks so much for taking the time to reply.

I have my OMC already but it's due to be renewed this year, I only have to do the two week refresher but it's still very expensive - sigh! Just out of curiosity what did you cover on the PJT and how long was the course? I'm assuming the other courses are all MCA ones?

Yes I'm slowly getting the picture re the MoD, I'm learning I must learn to have patience ha ha! Thanks again for the info, much appreciated mate!
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The PJT covers all the medical and surgical emergencies you may encountered while at sea and the procedures to follow. These briefs/lectures are given by RN medical officers or specialist CPO's. Also covered is admin and stores procedures. Throw in is a bit of casualty handling and NBC environment training - it is a long six week course of mind numbing regurgitation of information. Especially to some one who has been a independent medic for the past 37 years (22 year RN + 15 RFA).

The others courses are run by MoD staff at Naval establishments, except the NBC which is at Winterbourne Gunner and run by Pongo's (RAMC), however most of the courses should be MCA accredited. Not that it matters as the skill set obtained is used in an MoD environment.

If your OMC expired before entry, the RFA will pay for your next OMC once accepted and contract signed.


Thanks so much for the extra info Mad-Doc, it's great to have a heads up of what to expect if I manage to get in, that is a lot of training pre joining a ship! Nice to know they'll pay for the OMC as well, won't have to sell a kidney for the re-cert if they take me on lol!

The transition to RFA must be so much easier if you've got an RN background, I remember my first offshore trip, I had no idea what I was doing - I was SO green!!!

Thanks again for the info, if I get an interview I want to be able to go in there armed with as much knowledge as possible, now back to waiting, more waiting and being patient!!!!
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No problem. Keep me up to date on your progress please? You never know, I may end up being your mentor onboard once you join and get your first trip.


No problem. Keep me up to date on your progress please? You never know, I may end up being your mentor onboard once you join and get your first trip.

I definitely will and yes, that's not beyond the realms of possibility! I've always found the paramedic and offshore world is so small, I'm always meeting people I know or (ahem!) hearing certain names that always come up, imagine it's exactly the same with RFA/RN lol!!!
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Hello I'm looking for info on the Med technician role, I'm in the process of reapplying, this time I going to try and research the RFA more, that's where I fell down last time I believe, anyway any info would be appreciated

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Lantern Swinger
Looks like you've failed at the first hurdle again!
Did you fail the initial application stage or the RT? Was it the subsequent sift after the RT or the final interview?
Before you answer make sure you use the search function (top right) and ask specific questions on the area you required additional study - Failed!
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