Initial Officer Training
Like all our officers, you will begin your RAF career with Initial Officer Training (IOT) at the RAF College Cranwell in Lincolnshire. You will follow a challenging 24-week course designed to develop your leadership and management skills. The course includes fitness development, military training and academic study as well as practical outdoor leadership challenges.
You can find out more information about IOT in this publication.
Phase 2 training for the RAF MSO (Mainstream)1 is through completion of the Initial Medical Support Officer Course (IMSOC) during the first year of your first tour as a junior officer. IMSOC is based initially at the Defence College of Healthcare Education and Training near Lichfield, with distributed learning placements at several other units. The course introduces the 5 pillars of the MSO Branch (Operations, Logistics, Training, Primary and Secondary Healthcare Management and Administration); it will provide you with an understanding of healthcare in its widest sense and how health services are provided in a military context.
Over a period of approximately 10 weeks you will be detached to HQ Air Command, HQ Surgeon General and HQ Tactical Medical Wing (TMW). On completion of this course, various Phase 3 training courses will be provided to support your initial postings/roles. Most personnel should expect to complete the Medical Readiness Training course provided by HQ TMW at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. Phase 2 and (initial) Phase 3 training will be completed over an 18-month period and will collectively provide a comprehensive introduction to RAF Medical Services and Defence Medical Services, as well starting to develop the knowledge and skills that you will require to enjoy a successful career as a MSO.
As a MSO, your first tour is likely to be at HQ Tactical Medical Wing at RAF Brize Norton, HQ Air Command at RAF High Wycombe, or the Centre of Aviation Medicine, RAF Henlow. This is a chance to learn how the RAF works, and the experience you gain will stand you in good stead for the rest of your career.
Your Career Prospects
You will join the RAF on an Initial Commission of 12 years and, during this time, may be selected to serve on a pension-earning commission of 20 years’ service or age 40, whichever is the later. You will commission as a Flying Officer and you will be promoted to Flight Lieutenant on a time and satisfactory service basis. Further promotion to Squadron Leader and above is by competitive selection.
As a MSO, you will have extensive opportunities for professional development throughout your career. This development will be incremental in nature and compatible with your performance, experience and aspirations. Most MSOs study for Diploma, Degree and Masters level qualifications. There are also opportunities for leadership and management training. In addition, there is an established mentoring scheme, which provides support and guidance to allow you to develop your competencies. Furthermore, all personnel are encouraged to join a professional body, such as the Institute of Healthcare Management or the Chartered Managers Institute.
The skills and experience you gain throughout your career as a MSO could equip you for a wide range of civilian jobs in areas such as crisis and emergency services, health service management, local government, disaster and humanitarian relief, healthcare logistics and medical training.