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Career Options

As a member of the Forces you can choose to work full time in the Regular Force or part time in the Reserve Force. You also have the option of becoming an Officer or a Non-Commissioned Member (NCM), depending on the job you choose.

Officers are trained to be leaders in the Forces and are responsible for the soldiers, sailors, air men and air women in their command. To become an Officer, you will need a university education and leadership training.

Non-Commissioned Members are skilled personnel who provide operational and support services in the Forces. Some Non-Commissioned Members are trained as operators or technicians while others may work in the administrative or health services fields.

The next step is to choose a job that fits your desired career path, be it Officer or Non-Commissioned Member, working full or part time.           

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What we do

Members of the Regular Force serve full time protecting Canada and defending our sovereignty, contributing to international peace and security, and work with the United States defending North America. They are ready to respond at a moment’s notice to threats, natural disasters or humanitarian crises at home and around the world.

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How long do I have to serve?

Depending on the job you choose, the length of service in the Regular Force can range from three to nine years, not including paid training or education. Please speak with a recruiter for details specific to your situation.

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Where will I serve?

All new members of the Forces must complete basic training. For the Regular Force, this takes place in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. After basic training, you will continue on to one of the many Forces establishments in Canada where you will be trained for your chosen career.

You will then be posted to a military base, wing or unit in Canada. Although your preferences will be taken into consideration, the Forces will post you where your skills are needed most. Usually, you can expect to move to a different base every few years.

You may also be deployed overseas if a military mission needs your skills and abilities. Missions can last a few days or weeks when responding to a disaster such as the earthquake in Haiti, or up to one year as part of a long-term commitment like Canada's participation in the NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan.

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How do I join?

There are two plans available for entry into the Regular Force. You can apply online but you should talk to a recruiter first to discuss the best entry plan for you.

  1. Direct Entry plans are for applicants who have the minimum education required for their chosen career.
  2. Paid Education plans are for applicants who will have their education (college or university) paid for by the Forces.
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How much education do I need to join the Regular Force?

The minimum education required to join the Forces is grade 10 or secondaire IV (in Quebec), combined with the successful completion of a written aptitude test. However, there are a number of jobs and specialized fields that require post-secondary education, specific courses, a professional certification or licence.

If you meet the minimum education requirements for your chosen career and join the Forces through a Direct Entry Plan, you will be fully trained in your chosen field to become a technician, operator, or a member of a support trade.

When you enrol through the paid university or college programs, the Forces will pay your tuition, books and academic equipment in addition to providing a salary and benefits while you attend school.

In exchange for paying for your education, the Forces requires you to serve for a period of time following graduation. Time served is calculated on the basis of two months service for each month of paid education.

Find out more about Paid Education opportunities.

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Pay and Benefits

As a Regular Force member, you will receive a competitive salary, continuous support to advance your career, the chance to travel the world, and many other benefits and services such as:

Education and Training

The Forces has outstanding education, training and professional development opportunities, such as paid tuition, second language training and financial support for continuing education related to your job in the Forces.

Health and Dental Care

As a member of the Regular Force, you will receive health and dental care when you join the Forces. Benefits for your family, through the Public Service Medical and Dental Care plans, will begin three months after you join.


Members of the Regular Force receive 20 vacation days per year, which will increase to 25 days per year after five years of service. Vacation can be requested anytime, depending on training and operational requirements.


The Forces provides a generous pension plan that is designed to provide you with a retirement income on completion of your military career.

Maternity and Parental Leave

Maternity and parental benefits give you the freedom to spend time at home after the birth or adoption of a child. The Forces will top up your Employment Insurance or Quebec Parental Insurance Plan benefits to 93 percent of your regular salary as long as you have at least six months of service.

Personal Support

The Forces offers you and your family a wide variety of support programs and services, including:

  • Family support through the Military Family Resource Centres
  • Retail stores, CANEX, on Canadian Armed Forces bases and in surrounding communities
  • Financial planning services
  • Financial assistance programs
  • Counselling services
  • Group term life insurance
  • Comprehensive long term disability
  • Sports and Fitness programs
  • Quality of Life services and programs (Healthy Eating, Quitting Smoking, among others)

Leisure Time

The Forces bases are equipped with facilities for a variety of sports and activities, including intramural and local league sports. Most bases have swimming pools, gyms and sports fields, while some have skating rinks and golf courses. There are also libraries and community centres that host a wide variety of personal interest clubs and activities.

Moving Costs

When work requires that you move to another town or province, the Forces covers the costs. Other financial assistance is available depending on your family situation, where you are posted and for how long.


What we do

Members of the Reserve Force serve part time in the Canadian Armed Forces and their main role is to support the Regular Force at home and abroad. Reservists typically serve one or more evenings a week and/or during weekends at locations close to home. It is during the summer that the great majority of reservists attend their full time occupational training. For many years, the Forces have allocated Reserve Force vacancies for operational deployments, whether at home or overseas. Filled on a voluntary basis, these positions give reservists the opportunity to deploy.

Each Reserve unit offers a variety of interesting and challenging jobs so explore what each unit in your area has to offer before making a choice. Reserve unit locations and jobs can be found on the Find a Recruiter page of this website.

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How long do I have to serve?

Service in the Reserve Force is voluntary and for an undefined period. Most Reservists serve on a part-time basis and most have non-military, full-time careers or are full-time students.

While routine training and deployments are voluntary for Reservists, in the event of a serious national emergency such as a war or an invasion, the Government of Canada may require Reservists to serve full time in Canada or overseas to support civilian authorities or the Regular Force. Such a mobilization or commitment can only be mandated under an Order in Council by the federal government in response to a serious national emergency.

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Where will I serve?

There are Reserve Force units in hundreds of communities across Canada. Reservists train and work close to home. They do not have to serve overseas, but many choose to do so. Reservists volunteer also support Canadians at home, such as during natural disaster relief operations and sovereignty exercises.

Missions can last a few days or weeks when responding to a disaster such as the earthquake in Haiti, typhoon in the Philippines, and extreme weather events in Canada; or up to one year as part of a long-term commitment like Canada's former participation in the NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan, or the Iraq-Syria conflict. Depending on the mission, international operations may involve significant pre-deployment training to ensure Reservists and their Regular Force colleagues have equivalent skill sets and are accustomed to working together.

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How do I join?

Your first step is to contact one of your local Reserve units to find out which positions are available and then apply online. Your local recruiting centre will process your application and ensure that you complete the required steps of the application process.

Most people join the Reserve Force through the Unskilled entry plan.

Various entry programs are offered, particularly for officers, such as the Direct Entry plan. The Direct Entry Plan is for those applicants who meet the minimum education required for their chosen career.

Each year, a few places at the Royal military College of Canada are allocated to candidates of the Reserve Entry Training Plan (RETP). The students must assume part of the fees, but may be admissible for reimbursements or scholarships.

Several Aboriginal Entry Plans offer candidates the opportunity to learn more about military life before they decide to join. These plans are only open to Aboriginal peoples.

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How much education do I need to join the Reserve Force?

You must meet the minimum education requirements for your entry plan and occupation, which can vary from Grade 10 or secondaire IV (in Quebec) to a university degree.

When you join the reserve Forces, you will be fully trained in your chosen field. Training for Reservists is usually given full time during the summer, while a few qualifications may be given on evenings and weekends.

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Pay and Benefits

There are many advantages to joining the Reserve Force such as working part time without a long-term commitment, serving in your local community, and developing skills that will be valued by future employers all whilst being able to carry on with your studies or career.

Your pay and earnings as a Reservist are based on your job, rank and whether you work full or part time.Typically, Reservists work or train with their home unit for at least four evenings and one weekend per month, from September to May of each year. During summer, they have the opportunity to attend full time training. They are paid 85 percent of Regular Force rates of pay and receive competitive benefits.

Education and Training

All reservists have access to education, training and professional development opportunities, and financial support for continuing education related to military employment.

Health and Dental Care

Members of the Reserve Force may benefit from the Canadian Armed Forces medical and dental care.

Full-time (180 days and more) and deployed members of the Reserve Force receive the same medical and dental care as Regular Force members.


Part-time Reservists do not receive vacation time. Full-time and deployed Reservists are eligible to receive one paid vacation day for each 15 consecutive calendar days of service to a maximum of 24 vacation days per year. Other additional special vacation days may also be allocated during that same period.


Full- and part-time Reservists are eligible to pay into the Forces pension program, under certain conditions. The pension calculation is based on whether you have worked full or part time and the number of full days served.


Officers in the Forces hold positions of authority and respect. You will lead by example and be held to a high standard of ethics and professionalism. You will be responsible for the safety, well-being and morale of a group of soldiers, sailors, air men or air women. You will supervise their activities and performance, and ensure that the equipment they use is properly maintained. Analyzing, planning, making decisions and providing advice are a few aspects of your role as an Officer. 

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Education and Training

To become an Officer in the Forces, you must have a university degree that relates to your chosen occupation.

If you are already a university graduate, you will join under the Direct Entry Program. In this case, you are one step ahead in your new career. Following basic training, you will begin occupation training which will introduce the basics of your chosen career in a military environment. You may also be required to complete some on-the-job training before being assigned to your first position.

If you join under the Paid University entry plan or you are attending the Royal Military College of Canada, you will complete the Basic Military Officer Qualification course during the summer between first and second year. In the following summers you will do career training courses and on-the-job training with the Forces.

The Basic Military Officer Qualification course focuses on honing the leadership skills required by all Officers in the Forces. In addition to rigorous fitness training, basic training for Officers ensures that each candidate has the leadership potential, motivation and ability to lead in a military environment.

To ensure that you have the skills necessary to effectively lead small teams in simple operations, you will have opportunities to apply your military skills in training exercises involving force protection, field training, navigation and leadership. Second language training is also available and is based on the individual needs of each cadet.

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Officer Jobs

Officer jobs require a high level of expertise in a specific field in addition to the responsibilities and tasks that come with leadership.


Non-Commissioned Members are skilled personnel who provide operational and support services in the Forces. Non-Commissioned Members start out as recruits and are trained to do specific jobs.

As a technician or a technologist, you will supervise and direct the repair and maintenance of a variety of systems, equipment or weapons. You may also perform technical inspections and tests, control inventories or maintain records. As an operator, you may operate military vehicles, or use electrical, electronic or mechanical equipment. In a support role, you may perform administrative or health services tasks.

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Education and Training

The Basic Military Qualification course focuses on teaching the skills required to succeed in a military environment.  In addition to fitness training, basic training for Non-Commissioned Members ensures that each recruit has the potential, motivation and ability to work as an effective team member. 

You will have opportunities to apply your military skills in training exercises involving force protection, field training and navigation.

After completing basic training, you will continue training specific to your career in the Navy, Army or Air Force:

  • Navy recruits attend a five-week fleet school where they learn about naval history, watch keeping and firefighting duties, and skills necessary while at sea.
  • In the 20-day Soldier Qualification course, Army recruits undergo more in-depth physical training, weapons handling and tactical maneuvers specific to the Army.
  • The basic Air Environmental Qualification course is a four-day overview of the history of the Air Force, evolutions in aviation technology, and Air Force customs and traditions.

The next step is occupation training which will introduce you to your new military career with some on-the-job training. This phase can last from a few months to a year.

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Non-Commissioned Member Jobs

Non-Commissioned Members’ occupations require a high level of expertise. Some technicians, operators and support staff work in teams while others must be able to work independently. Supervisors establish work priorities and closely monitor their teams’ safety and morale.

Royal Canadian Navy

The Royal Canadian Navy is a highly adaptable and flexible force. While being Canada's outer line of defense, it conducts sovereignty patrols, search and rescue operations, and assists other government departments in everything from disaster relief to law enforcement, such as conducting fishery or drug patrols. The Navy also supports Canadian foreign policy by remaining engaged internationally in everything from humanitarian assistance to peace support operations to maritime security operations.

The Navy has a variety of sea trades and positions with training unique to Canada and envied around the world. Explore all careers available to members of the Royal Canadian Navy.



Navy Jobs


Canadian Army

The Canadian Army’s mission is to provide trained, combat-ready, agile and quickly responsive troops to meet Canada’s defense objectives. The Canadian Army is ready to respond to conflicts across the globe. With an international reputation for excellence, the well-equipped Canadian soldier is instrumental in the fight for freedom, stability and human rights around the world. Through the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), the Army is also prepared to send soldiers and equipment to assist international and national authorities with natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, storms, and forest fires.

The Canadian Army is the largest component of the Forces with 35,000 soldiers. Many Army jobs focus on combat related skills. 

Explore all careers available to members of the Canadian Army.


Army Jobs

Royal Canadian Air Force

The Royal Canadian Air Force protects Canadians, Canadian sovereignty and Canadian interests at home and abroad. The Air Force defends Canadian airspace and, working with the Navy, Army and other government departments, conducts maritime and northern patrols, search and rescue missions, and intercepts of vessels carrying illegal drugs. The Royal Canadian Air Force also airlifts military personnel and supplies at home and abroad, and moves disaster relief supplies to stricken regions. Abroad, combat-ready forces take an active role in multinational missions, representing Canada's interests and helping maintain global stability.

The Royal Canadian Air Force offers a wide variety of aviation related jobs. Explore all careers available to members of the Royal Canadian Air Force.


Air Force Jobs