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Canadian Armed Forces Personnel - Commissioned Officer

Commissioned officers plan, organize, lead, and manage operations and training activities in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Also Known As

Air Force Personnel, Armed Forces Personnel, Army Officer, Dental Officer, Engineer Officer, Logistics Manager, Medical Officer, Military Personnel, Navy Personnel, Nurse, Pilot, RCAF Officer, RCN Officer, Signals Officer

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used.

Here is how this occupation has been classified over time.

2006 NOC

  • 0643: Commissioned Officers, Armed Forces

2006 NOC-S

  • A353: Commissioned Officers, Armed Forces

2011 NOC

  • 0433: Commissioned officers of the Canadian Forces

2016 NOC

  • 0433: Commissioned officers of the Canadian Armed Forces
Duties
Updated Mar 21, 2023

Commissioned officers serve in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). They lead units of non-commissioned members. Officers’ tasks vary, but in general, they:

  • Plan, organize, and command the activities of military combat units and crews on ships and aircraft
  • Develop and put into place military procedures and policies
  • Direct subordinates in training
  • Coordinate and direct the units under their command
  • Oversee the welfare, morale, and discipline of their units
  • Review unit performance, prepare reports, and brief superiors
  • Command and lead units as part of United Nations (UN) or North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) peacekeeping or peace-making forces

Commissioned officers are classified into the following groups:

  • Aerospace control
  • Aerospace engineering
  • Air combat systems officer
  • Air field engineering
  • Armour
  • Artillery
  • Chaplain
  • Combat engineering
  • Communications and electronics engineering
  • Dental
  • Electrical and mechanical engineering
  • Health care administration
  • Infantry
  • Intelligence
  • Legal
  • Logistics
  • Maritime engineering
  • Medical
  • Military police
  • Naval combat systems engineering
  • Naval warfare officer
  • Nursing
  • Personnel selection
  • Pharmacist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Pilot
  • Public affairs
  • Social work
  • Training development

For the full list of officer careers, visit the CAF website.

Commissioned officers can be part of the Regular Force or the Primary Reserve.

The Regular Force comprises full-time military personnel who protect and defend Canada. Its members can be deployed on operations in Canada and abroad in response to crises or natural disasters.

Members of the Primary Reserve support the Regular Force. Most of its members serve part-time while working at civilian jobs or attending post-secondary school. They may volunteer for full-time deployment as opportunities and needs arise. However, they cannot be ordered to deploy.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 21, 2023
  • Strength Required Strength requirements vary

Commissioned officers must wear uniforms when on duty. They must conform to Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) rules and regulations.

Commissioned officers may be posted anywhere in Canada or overseas. Some assignments involve dangerous situations.

Other working conditions vary a great deal. Officers in the Regular Force serve full-time in the CAF.

Those in the Primary Reserve work part-time. They may have chances to work full-time for fixed periods when needed. Most large cities have at least 1 Canadian Armed Forces Primary Reserve unit. Reservists most often work close to home. However, they can be relocated temporarily for training.

Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Commissioned Officers, Armed Forces

2006 NOC: 0643

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
DIRECTIVE

Interest in co-ordinating information to command activities of military combat units such as armoured, artillery and infantry battalions; in developing policies and directing training; and in evaluating unit performance; may command and lead units as part of United Nations' peacekeeping role in foreign countries

METHODICAL

Interest in implementing military procedures and policies and in ensuring activities of units are conducted according to military practices

social

Interest in supervising subordinates in training; and in assuming responsibility for welfare, morale and discipline of units

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 21, 2023

Commissioned officers need:

  • Maturity and good judgment
  • Self-discipline, perseverance, and initiative
  • Leadership skills
  • Team skills
  • Communication skills
  • Physical fitness
  • A willingness to conform to rules
  • The ability to accept and follow orders from superior officers

They should enjoy:

  • Supervising subordinates
  • Coordinating information from a variety of sources
  • Organizing and commanding the activities of subordinates
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 21, 2023
  • Minimum Education Varies

All of those applying to be commissioned officers in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) must:

  • Be Canadian citizens
  • Meet age requirements
  • Meet basic medical and physical standards
  • Have no outstanding obligations to the judicial system, such as parole conditions
  • Be willing to relocate
  • Have completed Grade 12 and either have or be working towards a bachelor’s degree

All officers must complete a basic training course. These are conducted for most classifications at Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School (CFLRS) in St. Jean, Quebec.

Most officers take courses in whichever of Canada’s two official languages they are not fluent. This takes place in the period between basic officer training and initial classification training. The only exception to this is for officers who are already fluently in French and English when they enrol.

Entry is competitive. There are various entry plans into the CAF and not all plans are always open. The CAF recruits candidates for certain classifications only as needed. When the CAF forecasts openings, it reviews applications on file and chooses candidates suitable for the entry plan in question.

The Regular Officer Training Plan (ROTP) is for candidates who want to earn a degree at a military college or civilian university. The CAF pays students a salary while studying. If enrolled at a military college, room and board are deducted from their salary. If enrolled at a civilian university, students must pay living expenses out of their salary.

ROTP students also have mandatory summer employment with the CAF. This includes military training, as well as language training if they are not already bilingual in French and English. Graduates must serve in the CAF for at least 5 years after graduation (7 years for pilots) to repay their debt.

The Reserve Entry Training Plan (RETP) is for candidates who want the benefits of earning a degree at a military college and can do this at their own expense. Like ROTP students, RETP cadets must work for the CAF and take part in military and language training in the summer. Scholarships, bursaries, and cadetships are available. These students enjoy the prestige of military training without a mandatory period of service in the Regular Force after they graduate.

The Direct Entry Officer (DEO) is for candidates who already hold a university degree (undergraduate) for the classification (pilots or air combat) they wish to enter. After graduation, there is a 7-year mandatory period of service for pilots and a 4-year period for air combat systems officers.

The Specialty Programs provide paid education for specific careers that require graduate-level training:

  • Medical Officer Training Plan (MOTP) for doctors
  • Dental Officer Training Plan (DOTP) for dentists
  • Physician Assistant Training Program (PATP) for physician assistants
  • Nursing & Pharmacy for nurses and pharmacists
  • Subsidized Education for Entry Level Masters (SEELM) for social workers, physiotherapists, or chaplains

The period of mandatory service under the Specialty Programs depends on how long the candidate’s training was subsidized. For example, they may have received assistance from the beginning or some point during their undergraduate education, or only after they enrolled in graduate-level training.

The Aboriginal Leadership Opportunities Year (ALOY) is a 1-year educational and leadership experience through the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) in Kingston, Ontario. At the end of the year, students can choose to apply to RMC in a degree program under ROTP. Or they can apply to the CAF as a non-commissioned member. For details, visit the Canadian Forces Programs for Indigenous Peoples website.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 21, 2023
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 21, 2023

Commissioned officers work for the Canadian Armed Forces. Competition for officer training positions is keen.

Promotions are based on time in rank, performance, and the availability of positions. After completing the required term of service, officers may transfer their skills to related civilian occupatiions.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 0433: Commissioned officers of the Canadian Armed Forces occupational group, 98.1% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 0433: Commissioned officers of the Canadian Forces occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 0% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 0 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2019-2023 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 21, 2023

While officers are in training, their entry plans determine how much they are paid. ROTP officers earn $2,301 a month while in university.

After training, there are separate rates of pay for general officers and specialist officers in the Regular Force. The 2022 sample annual salary ranges for general service officers are:

  • Second Lieutenant: $60,792 to $90,168
  • Lieutenant: $66,252 to $104,808
  • Captain: $83,988 to $111,012

Medical, dental, legal, and pilot officers have higher pay scales than general service officers.

(Source: Government of Canada, 2022 estimates)

Primary Reserve members receive 92.8% of Regular Force pay rates.

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Aviation
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
  • Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 21, 2023

Canadian Armed Forces Recruiting website: forces.ca

Royal Military College of Canada (Kingston, Ontario) website: www.rmc-cmr.ca

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 21, 2023. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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