Operating Department Practitioner
Job description: Prepare and maintain the operating theatre and its equipment, assist the surgical team during operations and provide support in the recovery room
Pay after one year: £18,340
Joining age: 17.5 – 29
Usual service: 9 years
Open to: men or women
Similar civilian jobs:
- Operating department technician
Qualifications you need: 2 A-levels (at grade A-C) or SCEs with five passes of which three are Higher grade, or passes in four subjects at Higher grade. Four AS-levels may be accepted in lieu of two A-levels. Plus 3 GCSE/SCEs at Grade C/2 minimum in English language, maths and a science subject.
This role requires a physics based science subject. Please check by reading this document (opens in a new window).
Please note: the RAF does not accept A-levels in Critical Thinking or General Studies at any grade.
Qualifications you can gain: Diploma in Higher Education in operating department practice
Nationality: Citizen of the UK or the Republic of Ireland, or a Commonwealth citizen since birth
As an Operating Department Practitioner, you’ll be part of the theatre team that provides quality care for patients in the operating theatres of Defence Secondary Care Agency hospital units in the UK and Cyprus. Having been trained in all aspects of working in an operating theatre, you’ll prepare and maintain the theatre and its equipment, assist the surgical team during operations and provide support in the recovery room.
You will initially join the RAF for a period of nine years and graduate from your training course with the rank of Senior Aircraftman/woman Technician. You will be eligible for promotion to Corporal after three years’ productive recommended service and to Sergeant after four years of recommended service in the rank of Corporal. Further promotion to the rank of Flight Sergeant and beyond is by competitive selection.
The qualifications you can earn are as valuable in the civilian world as they are in the RAF – This means if you decide to leave the RAF, you will be well placed to find a new job as an ODP.
Your career will start with a 10 week Basic Recruit Training Course (BRTC) at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire. The course is designed to help you adjust to a military environment. As well as fitness and military training, you’ll also learn about the RAF lifestyle.
If you are joining with a professional qualification recognised by the Health Professions Council you will, following completion of RTS, be posted into your first Unit.
If you’re joining with appropriate A-levels/Highers or equivalent (see below), your specialist training will start with a two-year Diploma in Higher Education in Operating Department Practice at the Royal College of Defence Medicine at the Birmingham City University. This will qualify you for membership of the Health Professions Council. At the end of the course, you’ll get your first assignment.
Your first tour
For your first tour, you will be posted to a Ministry of Defence Hospital Unit within an NHS hospital. You could work within a team of military ODPs, preparing and maintaining the operating theatre and providing support in the recovery room.
As a military ODP, you will have extensive opportunities for further professional development throughout your career, including the opportunity after 3 years post qualification to apply for the Advanced Scrub Practitioner Course to allow you to become a surgical assistant and other postgraduate qualifications.
If you’re an experienced Operating Department Practitioner with the appropriate qualifications, you’ll start your professional work significantly higher in the RAF’s rank and pay structure.