Frequently asked questions

Yes. A GED or a High School Equivalency Certificate does meet the basic eligibility requirements for the Forces. However, they will not be considered an equivalency for occupations in the Forces that require higher education. Contact your local recruiting centre to discuss your situation with a recruiter.

Yes. However, you are responsible for providing proof that your credentials meet the requirements of the Forces. There are a number of organizations in Canada that will assess foreign secondary and post-secondary credentials to verify equivalencies. Visit the Alliance of Credential Evaluation Services of Canada to find accredited organizations that offer this service. You are responsible for all associated costs.

Officers in the Forces are required to think critically, develop innovative solutions to problems and use their intellectual abilities to analyze, plan and make decisions. A university degree is a very good indicator that an applicant has the intellectual skills that Officers need on the job.

Yes. If you have a conviction under the Criminal Code of Canada or the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, you may still apply to the Forces, as long as you have served your sentence and no longer have any legal obligations.

The Canadian Armed Forces has a long-standing history with the desire to commemorate, celebrate and honour those things most important to our members through artful tattoos. Their place in modern society is also gaining popularity and because of their permanence and representation, it is a consideration during the CAF recruitment process. The CAF reserves the right to review and refuse an applicant’s enrollment based on the ethical foundation and visible placement of some tattoos.

Members of the Regular Force serve full time protecting Canada and defending our sovereignty. They contribute to international peace and security, and work with the United States to defend 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.

View all regular force positions here.

Members of the Reserve Force serve part time in the CAF and do not have a set Term of Service. 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. Some Reservists may volunteer to be deployed on operations, if there are positions available, but are not required to be deployed. Benefits are also provided to Reserve Members.

View all reserve force positions here.

Officers in the CAF hold positions of authority and respect. They are responsible for the safety, well-being and morale of a group of soldiers, sailors, air men or air women. Analyzing, planning, making decisions and providing advice are a few aspects of an Officer’s role.

View all officer positions here.

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

View all non-commissioned member positions here.

We recommend that you only choose a job after carefully researching your options, taking into account your personal skills, abilities and interests. Visit Careers to explore occupations in the Forces. Recruiters can also help you find suitable occupations.

When you enrol in the Regular Force, you are expected to sign on for a few years of service. Terms of service start at three years, but can be longer depending on the type and amount of training you will need for your occupation. If you join the Forces through a Paid Education program, you will be required to serve two months for every month of paid education. Learn more about our Paid Education programs here.
If you want to continue your career in the Forces beyond your initial contract, you may be offered further terms of service.

Basic training is quite demanding and not everyone passes the course. Working hard to properly prepare beforehand and putting in your best effort while at basic training will help you succeed. Visit Joining the Canadian Armed Forces to learn more about basic training.

After completing basic training, Non-Commissioned Members (NCMs) will be sent on further training that is specific to their environment (Land, Sea, Air):
  • NCMs in the Army will attend the 4-week Basic Military Qualification – Land Course at one of several centres across the country before continuing on to occupation training.
  • NCMs in the Navy will attend the 5-week Fleet School in Esquimalt or Halifax before continuing on to occupation training.
  • NCMs in the Air Force usually go directly to occupation training.
  • Officers will be sent to either second language training or occupation training.

Married couples who are both serving in the Forces are typically posted together to the same location. However, the Forces is occasionally unable to accommodate spouses in cases where there are distinct differences in occupations or elements (e.g. posting an Air Weapons Specialist with his/her Infantry spouse) or because of operational requirements, such as overseas deployments.

Most members in the Regular Force work normal eight-hour days, with evenings and weekends free. However, there are exceptions, depending on the job or operational requirements and an expectation that some periods of work will routinely extend beyond eight hours.

Yes. Regular Force members have health and dental benefits through the Public Service Medical and Dental plans. In addition to health and dental benefits, Forces members are also provided with paid vacation days, a generous pension, excellent maternity and parental leave, and access to support programs such as sports and fitness programs. Visit Lifestyle to discover all the advantages of a career in the Forces.

Your first posting will be given to you based on where you are needed most. However, after completing your initial posting, you can request to be posted to your preferred locations. The Forces will try to accommodate your choices, but this is not always possible due to operational requirements.

If you would like to stay in your area, consider joining the Reserve Force. Reservists in the Forces train and serve in their local areas and are not required to move.

All members of the Regular Force must be prepared to take part in a deployment at some point in their career. Whether or not you are selected for deployment depends on a number of factors, including the type of mission, your occupation, the unit that you are posted to, and the need for your skills onsite. Certain careers may be required to deploy more often than others, such as Combat specialists.

No. Forces members are not required to live on base. Most members choose to rent or buy their own accommodations in the community. Visit Lifestyle to learn more.

How to speak with your family member about joining the Canadian Armed Forces

Joining the Canadian Armed Forces is a big decision for anyone. We've prepared a document to help you with discussing this lifestyle change with your family member. You can download it here (PDF, 234KB).