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Navy sailor

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Summary of occupation

Navy sailors occupy a number of administrative, managerial and other non-technical roles in the operation and support of the Royal Australian Navy. They undertake a specific group of duties that relate to their specific role. These may include working in health care, hospitality, transport and logistics and in combat. They support the strategic operations and organisational structures of the navy during both peacetime and combat activities, and may travel across the country and internationally in support of the Royal Australian Navy's general and military operations.

ANZSCO description: Navy sailors occupy a number of administrative, managerial and other non-technical roles in the operation and support of the Royal Australian Navy.
Alternative names: Navy - General Entrant
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A navy sailor needs:

  • Australian citizenship
  • over 17 years of age
  • a passion for protecting and defending Australia and its allies
  • good health and fitness
  • a strong sense of discipline
  • to enjoy the lifestyle associated with the armed forces
  • the ability to follow orders
  • a willingness to live and work anywhere in Australia and overseas
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Working conditions

Navy sailors work in a wide range of environments depending on their specific role within the organisation. For example, cryptologic systems sailors and boatswain's mates all work on board marine vessels. However, dental assistants and medical sailors usually work in military medical facilities on shore, in roles that involve medical procedures and dealing with people. Most Navy sailors will be required to spend long periods at sea, in all weather conditions, which may include stormy weather and rough seas.

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Salary details

Trainee navy sailor recruits undergoing basic training can expect to earn at least $676 per week ($35 151 per year), while recruits undertaking employment training can expect to earn between $773 and $869 per week ($40 173 and $45 194 per year). Once their training period ends, a soldier can expect to earn at least $966 per week ($50 216 per year) depending on their duties, rank, role and level of experience.

As a navy sailor gains experience and progresses through the ranks their pay rate increases. Salary may also vary based on your deployment location and conditions.

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Tools and technologies

The tools used by Royal Australian Navy sailors vary greatly depending on their specific area of expertise. For example, boatswain's mates use ropes, anchors and other equipment used in operating marine vessels whilst docked or at sea, and Navy writers use computers and other clerical tools to undertake administrative tasks either on board or whilst ashore. All naval personnel are required to wear uniforms.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a navy sailor within the Australian Defence Force (ADF), you must pass the recruitment process and complete Basic Training at the Royal Australian Navy Recruit School.
You will undergo a series of written, physical, psychological and medical checks and interviews. You will also need to undergo a National Police History Check.

Successful applicants are required to complete 11 weeks of Basic Training at the Royal Australian Navy Recruit School at HMAS Cerberus, in Westernport, Victoria.

Once you have completed Basic Training you will then progress to a Category School where you will learn about your specific role. The length, location and qualifications required for training will be dependent on your role.

You can join the Navy through the ADF Gap Year program.  You must be between 17 and 24 years old, and have completed year 12 (or equivalent).

You can also join the Australian Defence Force on a part time basis within the Navy Reserves.

Visit the Defence Force Recruiting Centre website for more information.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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