Recruitment Centre

Age and Gender

Due to the physically and mentally demanding nature of ADF service, there are age and gender restrictions that apply. The minimum age for entry is 17, however if you're younger than this there are some options that allow you to begin the application process. The maximum entry age depends on a number of factors, which are discussed in detail below.

Underage applicants (Under 17)

To apply for a career in the Navy, Army or Air Force, applicants must be at least 16 years and 6 months old. However, if you are over 10 years old you can still register for a DefenceJobs Membership.

From the Recruitment Centre you will be able to maintain contact with Defence Force Recruiting, keep your personal information current, review your job preferences and view additional features. You will also be given the option to receive communications from Defence Force Recruiting via email.

Alternatively, you may prefer to call Defence Force Recruiting on 13 19 01 to lodge your application or request information over the phone. Your local Defence Force Recruiting Centre is also able to provide you with information on careers in the Australian Defence Force.

The Australian Defence Force abides by the spirit and intent of the Optional Protocol on the Rights of the Child on Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict. For further information refer to the Official Defence Policy on the recruitment and employment of young people under the age of 18.

health and fitness

Age restriction

The ADF observes a minimum voluntary recruitment age of 17 years. The recruitment of all minors must be voluntary. As evidence of proof of age, anyone wishing to join the ADF must present an original or certified copy of their full birth certificate to their Defence Recruiter, and all minors (under 18 years of age) must have the written consent of their parent or their guardian to join the Service, prior to enlistment or appointment. The ADF will take all feasible measures to ensure that minors do not participate in hostilities; however there will be times when this will not be possible.

Gender Restrictions

Due to a Commonwealth law excluding women from serving in direct combat roles, there are a small number of positions which they cannot apply for. The following positions are currently not available to females:

Army

  • All Royal Australian Infantry Corps
  • All Royal Australian Armoured Corps
  • Royal Australian Artillery Corps Field Artillery units (may serve within Surveillance Aircraft Operator, Weapon Locating Radar, Artillery - Air Defender or related officer employments).
  • Combat Engineer (posting opportunities for female Combat Engineers are limited to Construction Squadrons and Topographical Units).

Air Force

  • Ground Defence Officer
  • Airfield Defence Guard

NB The Minister for Defence announced on 27 September 2012 that the Government had formally agreed to the removal of gender restrictions from Australian Defence Force combat roles.

The categories of Clearance Divers and Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Officers in the Navy; Infantry, Armoured Corps, some Artillery roles, Explosive Ordinance Disposal Squadrons and Combat Engineer Squadrons in the Army; and Airfield Defence Guards and Ground Defence Officers in the Air Force will all be made open to women over the next five years. Women currently serving as members of the ADF will be entitled to apply for a career in a combat role from January 2013, provided they meet all the requirements, with direct entry recruitment expected to commence from January 2016.

Maximum Age

As a general rule, the maximum recruitment age for the Navy, Army or Air Force is three to six years before the Compulsory Retiring Age (CRA), depending on the length of the Initial Minimum Period of Service for the preferred avenue of entry.

The maximum recruitment ages for some employment categories may be different. For example, due to the physical nature of the role of Commando, the maximum age for entry is 30 years.

Cadets

Australian Defence Force Cadets

The Australian Defence Force Cadets (ADFC) is a community based youth development organisation open to young men and women aged from 12 1/2 to 20 years of age. As a cadet you learn leadership, team building and survival skills, at the same time experiencing what life is like in the Navy, Army or Air Force. Learn More

ADFA Education Award

If you are 15 years and 6 months old, you may be eligible to apply for the ADFA Education Award. Learn More