Cadet aspiring to become a RAF Medical officer

I’m currently a cdt Cpl (17 yo) and I’m aspiring to become a medical officer (doctor) in the airforce, I have currently got activity first aid and heart steart instructor and I have signed up for an upcoming gold course (IFA). I’m just wondering if there’s any advice and reccomendations for me as to ways in which RAFAC can support me to achieving my career goal, I appreciate that there are limits and it requires effort on my side just as much as staff members in the corps, but any advice would be greatly appreciated.

3 A* A levels for a starter, but use DoE as a way to polish your CV towards the social aspects of care and care giving.

Are you close to a major station where there is a regular RAF medical officer where you can go for a chat. Ask your Squadron if there is anyway they can arrange a visit to Brize Norton Tactical Medical Wing. or the medical recruitment officers which if like the nursing branch is at Cranwell.

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Absolutely nothing the ACO can do, or you can do in the ACO, is going to come within a million miles of getting the best possible A level grades you can.

You need to get AAA in Chemistry, Biology and Maths or Physics, all at the same time.

You absolutely need to grasp that you are not looking to be in the RAF as an MO, you’re looking to be a Doctor, and during your 40 year career you might work for the RAF, just as you might work for BUPA, the NHS, and an insurance company.

The RAF bit of what you hope to do is something you only need worry about when you finish your final exams. If at that stage you want in, they’ll take you.


The RAF sponsers people through a bursary for medical training at university.

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It’s minor in the grand scheme (after a couple of years in the real world), but you can boost your CV with BTECs and maybe ILM qualifications available through cadets.

The main benefit will be packing your CV out for uni applications and applying for the RAF/bursary - although they are useful from a personal perspective, too.


Thanks for your response, unfortunately there aren’t any RAF stations in the area my wing covers aside from MOD Boscombe Down. I’ve spoken to my squadron staff but they seem somewhat reluctant as I’m the only one at my squadron with interest in a healthcare career and it would probably be seen as a little excessive by my staff to organise a trip all the way there just to help me, however, I will try and find contacts of people in the TAW and see if I can visit.

Ask Hodgkii2 they are an aclo and may point you in some direction of who too ask or speak too


The department for aviation medicine is based at Boscombe…might be worth trying to get work experience there

Defence Science and Technology Labs at Porton Down.

Give it a try, ring them up (or ask your careers teacher at school or possibly your OC to write to them) - you never know what they’ll say, and initiative always gets a plus mark.

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The Centre of Aviation Medicine based at Henlow have two Hawks for their flying experiments based at Boscombe Down.

Also try the Auxiliary unit 4626 Squadron at Brize who are part of TMW, which maybe a way into the RAF for you when you are 18 and hopefully at uni. Their recruitment data is available on the net which will at least allow you to contact someone.

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Alternatively Public Health England, also at Porton Down


Have you also thought of becoming a community first responder? You may have to be 18 though, but its great for the CV etc.

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As others have said, focus on those A levels. The RAF won’t give you a bursary for uni without them. And you won’t get through UCAS either. Speak to your school/college careers adviser, you’ll need to be looking at getting UCAT under you belt between now and Sept - don’t wait for the last deadline. Your UCAS deadline is also earlier than your peers - normally around 15 Oct - so you need to start thinking and acting now to get that as strong as possible.

Work experience via the RAF would be great - but they will be stretched and work experience via them is always tricky, especially with such a specialist team. Instead, ask about work shadowing - or just an interview with an RAF MO. Yes, it won’t be as in-depth as a full on weeks work experience - but you’ll still glean a shed load of knowledge over and above NOT having it.

Also, don’t rule out looking at alternatives - the RN and Army both have medical professionals - and showing that you have experience of all 3 services can be invaluable in interview - it shows you’re making an informed decision and you’ve done your homework. Given you’re in the South West, there will be RN MOs (and Naval Surgeons) at Yeovilton, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Poole and RAMC personnel pretty much everywhere. Salisbury hospital is also the primary hospital for anybody damaged on the Plain, so get a range of interesting injuries through their doors too. Don’t neglect to speak to the Reservist medical teams - again, they are also dotted around the area and it’s not unknown to find GPs who are Reservists. Whilst they are not RAF - they will give you a solid idea of all the activities they get up to in the field, overseas and in the UK - and with the spirit of “tri service cooperation”, it’s not unknown for MOs to operate outside of their traditional tribes.

You’ll additionally need to be doing bags of research into which uni’s to apply for, who does what and why you want to study there. Go on visits and open days - there’s loads available now and through the summer. Speak to admissions tutors and find out what they are looking for and how to make your application stand out.

A levels grades are one aspect - but not the only aspect. I’ve been to countless UCAS admissions talks over the years - for medicine they want to see that your a people person too. That you’ve got the capacity and capability to study hard - but also that you are able to problem solve, make informed, critical decisions in a timely manner. They want to know you’re a human being - that you have emotion, that you can relate to a range of people.

Whilst being a cadet will help support your application - don’t hang your hat on it - they’ll want more. They want you to articulate what skills you bring, how you’ve worked with people, and that you’ve had experience in more than just the cadets. DofE. Extended Project Qualifications. BTECs. ILMs. QAIC or JLs. Work experience will add to this - but don’t make the RAF MO your entire focus. Visit hospices. Visit GPs. Visit as many aligned healthcare professionals that you can. Understand how a doctor fits within the bigger, holistic picture of patient care.

At interview you will be asked about current health trends - and threats to national health - obesity is a popular one and easy to think through, but also pick some more obscure ones to show deeper understanding - the global society and communicable diseases is a growing threat which PHE have recently identified. Another is the impact of Brexit on the wider health care provision etc. Another is the growing burden of an aging population and it’s financial implications on the NHS.

You’ll need to be doing all that - AND MORE - to get through the door!


I cannot see it mentioned above, but if you have not yet discussed your hopes with the RAF Careers people then I recommend that you do so as soon as possible. Their advice is invaluable.

Don’t forget UKCAT prep!

I didn’t - UKCAT exam was changed to UCAT in January 2019. :wink:

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Making the assumption that as you wish to practice medicine in the RAF you have some interest in aviation medicine then I suggest that you may wish to familiarise yourself with the life and work of Dr EA Pask.

This would make the basis of a good response to the question “Why do you want to become a RAF Medical Officer?”


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. I’ve spoken to my squadron staff but they seem somewhat reluctant as I’m the only one at my squadron with interest in a healthcare career and it would probably be seen as a little excessive by my staff to organise a trip all the way there just to help me,

Statements like this anger me both as a parent, and an instructor, it says “oh, that’s right, i think I’m important enough to wear a uniform, but you’re simply not important enough for me to try and help you”


Oops… that’s what happens when you skim read

Then what thehell are they there for, I suspect it would be different if it was for an aircrew selection?