Initial Officer Training
Like all our Specialist Branch officers, you will begin your RAF career on the Specialist Entrant and Re-Entrant (SERE) course at the RAF College Cranwell in Lincolnshire. This is an 13-week course specially designed for professionally qualified entrants to the RAF. The course includes fitness development, military training, weapons handling and academic study, as well as practical outdoor leadership challenges.
Following completion of the SERE course, you will complete a 2-week Basic Air Warfare Course at the Air Warfare Centre, which is also at RAF College Cranwell. After a short period of well-earned leave, you will go to the Defence Medical Services Training Centre at Keogh Barracks where you will be given a further 3 weeks of professional training, with fellow professionals, on the introduction to Medical, Dental and Nursing Officers’ Course. The final phase of initial training is the one-week Physiotherapy Aviation Medicine course at RAF Henlow. You will then be ready for your first productive appointment.
Like most people in the RAF you will probably move jobs every 2 or 3 years; each job is known as a tour. Primary care settings involve working in either Medical Centres at RAF bases or Regional Rehabilitation Units located throughout the UK. Depending on your knowledge and experience, you may be selected to work in a specialist field at the Centre for Aviation Medicine or at the DMRC Headley Court.
Your Career Prospects
You will join the RAF on an initial commission of 6 years and may be selected to serve on a pension earning commission of 20 years service or age 40, whichever is the later, during this time. Physiotherapists will be commissioned in the rank of Flying Officer with an award of one year seniority unless they have already accrued recognised clinical experience which may be added to increase seniority on entry. Promotion to Flight Lieutenant will be achieved on reaching 4 years’ seniority in the rank of Flying Officer subject to recommendation. All further promotions will be by competitive selection on merit, and subject to requirement to fill established posts.
As a Physiotherapy Officer, you will have extensive opportunities for further professional development throughout your career. This will include various types of ongoing professional training to ensure your continued registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Additional post-graduate training allied to your chosen speciality will be provided, be it neuromuscular, musculoskeletal, acute care or specific rehabilitation. As an autonomous practitioner, you will have the opportunity to test your skills in more challenging ways when undergoing operational tours in Field Hospitals or on Deployed Operational Operating Bases at various locations.
As well as having all the promotion and development opportunities of their civilian counterparts, Physiotherapy Officers have the chance to work around the world and gain unique medical experiences. Similarly, experience of military medical management and training provides any health professional with an excellent grounding for managerial progression if that is the chosen route for a future career.