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The joining process

These are the steps it takes to join the Regular Army or the Army Reserve.


0345 600 8080

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Getting started

Use role finder to see what job might suit you. Create an online account so you can fill in and submit your application (it should only take a couple of minutes). If you have any questions at all, chat to our Advisers on Live Chat or pop in to an Army Careers Centre.

Once your application has been received and your basic eligibility assessed, you’ll be sent a link to complete an online form about your general health.

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Army Career Centre chat

If you are medically fit, you’ll be invited to your local Army Career Centre. Here, you'll get a 30 minute introduction to the Army, and what we can offer you, then you'll have half an hour with one of our recruiters. After your chat, you'll leave with a plan, which will help you get ready for the next steps in joining the Army.

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If you meet eligibility standards, you’ll be invited to spend two days at an Assessment Centre. Here, you’ll do physical and mental tests to judge your fitness and soldier potential and have a medical examination. If you pass, you’ll be offered a job in the Army.

Before your employment offer is confirmed, you also need to have a pre-employment check. This involves filling out security forms and your doctor will need to send information about your medical background.

Your starting date will depend on your grade during assessment and the number of places the Army has on offer in your chosen trade.

Make sure you discuss your result with your Candidate Support Manager as they will be able to explain the next steps.

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Your Army career begins with phase 1 training where you learn basic soldier skills. You then learn the specialist skills of your trade in Phase 2. 

Where you do your phase 1 training depends on your age and job choice.

Junior Soldiers (under 17 yr 5 mths) spend 20-week or 40-weeks at AFC Harrogate. If you are older, you will spend 14-weeks at either Pirbright or Winchester. Infantry recruits complete a combined phase 1 and 2 courses in Catterick.

After completing phase 1 and phase 2 training, you will join your unit where senior soldiers will provide support and ongoing professional development.


PQ Soldier & specialists

Some medical trades are classified as Professionally Qualified Soldier roles. If you apply to fill one of these you will need to go through an Army Selection Board prior to your initial training.

Some other specialist roles will need you to pass a specialist board, for example musicians wanting to join the Corps of Army Music have to pass an audition.

If you have any of these skills, looking to join the Army, but are older than 33, you can still apply. Contact our team on 0345 600 8080 for advice on how to submit your application.

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How to get ready

Lots of people worry about whether they’re fit enough to join up. Or about how they will do in the interviews and selection tests. You don’t need to be anxious, we'll help you to get ready for all the tests.

FAQs - How to join

Where can I get help with my application?

You can talk to your local careers office, contact our advisers on Live Chat or call us on 0345 600 8080. If you are planning on joining the Army Reserve, your local unit will support you throughout your application.

Why haven't I heard about my application?

Application timings can vary depending on the role you’ve applied for, but you should have received an email from us within 2 weeks from the date you first applied. If you haven’t received an email from us, or to find out about the progress of your application, get in touch with us using Live Chat.

How do I apply for AFC Harrogate?

To apply to AFC Harrogate you can use our normal Army application form, which you'll find it in My Account (you'll need to create an account to access this part of the site). Or if you'd like to talk to someone face to face about your options, visit your local Army Careers Centre.

When can I restart my application?

Restarting your application will vary depending on your individual circumstances. When you are told that you have not met the criteria, you should receive an indication of when you can reapply. If you have a question on this then go to Live Chat where someone will be able to advise on your circumstances.

How long will it take for me to reach the next stage in my application?

The whole application process can take around 3 – 5 months to complete, depending on the role you have applied for. The time to reach the next stage in your application can vary, so timings will not be the same for everyone. If you have a specific question about your application, use Live Chat to talk to us.

What documents do I need for my medical?

You do not need to bring any specific documents, but there are a few things that you can do to prepare for your medical. You will be asked questions about your family history and it would be helpful if you could be prepared for this. You should also bring your glasses with you and remove soft contact lenses 2 days before, and hard contact lenses 10 days before your assessment. In addition you are advised to avoid fizzy drinks, energy drinks, alcohol or coffee and sugary foods 12 hours before your medical.

Contact us

Call us on 0345 600 8080

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