Become A Medical Officer With The RAF

February 10, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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A career as a doctor in the Royal Air Force can be professionally and personally very satisfying as you get to work with state of the art equipment often under challenging circumstances. Doctors in the Royal Air Force are called Medical Officers.

Caring for new borns at Nakornping Hospital Obstetrics and Gynaecology department Eligibility Requirements

As required of any military, there are very specific eligibility requirements

Nationality: You must be either a UK citizen, a citizen of the Republic of Ireland, a commonwealth citizen since birth, or have a dual UK/other nationality citizenship.

Residency: You should have resided in the United Kingdom for at least 5 years immediately preceding your application. This is regardless of whether you were born in the UK or not.

Joining age: You must be between 21 to 55 years of age when you submit your application. You must be able to join before your 55th birthday if you are already qualified or before your 46th birthday if you require professional training for general practice or before your 42nd birthday if you require professional training for specialist training.

Usual service: The minimum service is usually 6 years but you can apply for a Medium Commission of 18 years after you are commissioned.

Academic Qualifications: You must have a minimum of GCSEs/SCEs at Grade C/3 or equivalent in Maths and English language. You must also have a confirmed place at a UK-based Medical School which is recognised by the GMC-recognised and affiliated to a University Air Squadron.

Initial Officer Training

All successful applicants begin their RAF career at the RAF College Cranwell where they have to complete the 11-week Specialist Entrant and Re-entrant (SERE) program, which is meant for professionally-qualified entrants to the Royal Air Force. In addition to academic study, this course also includes weapons handling, fitness development, outdoor leadership challenges and all-round military training.

Post SERE Specialist Training

Upon completing the SERE, you will undergo a 2-week Basic Air Warfare Course, which is conducted at RAF Cranwell. This is followed by a short break. 

When you return back from the break, you will have to do a 3-three week course at the Defence Medical Services Training Centre in Hampshire where you will learn about the delivery of medical care in the RAF.

After this you do another 2-week course learning about the effects of medication and illness on RAF staff while working onboard an aircraft.  The course also includes elements of occupational medicine. It is conducted at the Centre for Aviation Medicine at RAF Henlow in Bedfordshire.

Your first tour as an RAF Medical Officer

For your first tour as an RAF Medical Officer, you will work at a Ministry of Defence Hospital Unit within an NHS hospital. Some of your responsibilities will include preparing and maintaining the operating theatre and providing support in the recovery room.

As an RAF Medical Officer, you will have far-reaching opportunities for further professional development throughout your career, some of which would never be possible as a civilian doctor.