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Summary of occupation

Soldiers occupy a number of administrative, managerial and specialised service roles in the operation and support of the Australian Army. They undertake duties in their specific area of expertise in both peacetime and combat situations, and may travel across the country and internationally in support of the Australian Army's military and general operations.

ANZSCO description: Soldiers occupy a number of administrative,  managerial and specialised service roles in the operation and support  of the Australian Army.
Alternative names: Army - General Entrant
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A soldier needs:

  • Australian citizenship
  • to be over the age of 17
  • 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

Soldiers can expect different working conditions depending on their specific role within the Army. For example, administrative or finance clerks work mostly in office environments, but mechanical and electrical engineering staff work in workshops and on location on Army missions.

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Salary details

Trainee soldier 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 soldier 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 and technologies used by soldiers vary greatly depending on their specialised role. Whilst a cook works with food preparation equipment, and dental assistants work with specialised dental equipment, others such as chaplains or finance and legal clerks work with computers in word processing or data management roles. Some soldiers utilise weaponry in combat situations, whilst others undertake administrative or finance-related work. All Australian Army personnel are required to wear uniforms.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a soldier within the Australian Defence Force (ADF) you must pass the recruitment process and complete Basic Training at the Army Recruit Training Centre.

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 80 days of Basic Training at the Army Recruit Training Centre at Kapooka, near Wagga Wagga in New South Wales.

Once you have completed Basic Training you undertake Initial Employment Training where you will learn about your specific role. The length, location and related qualifications of this training depend on the role you will be moving into.

You can join the Army 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 Army 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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