Application Guide: The Canadian Armed Forces


Do you have what it takes to be a part of the Canadian Armed Forces?

If you’re considering a career in the military – whether it’s as an Engineer, Pilot, or any of the exciting jobs currently available – you’ll need to be prepared for the application process, as well as meeting the basic requirements for all potential recruits. Read below to find out exactly what that means.

The basics

Are you a Canadian citizen? Check!

Have you been around for at least 17 years? Double-check! You must be 17 years old (with parental consent) or older to enrol.

Have you completed at least Grade 10, or Secondaire IV in Quebec? Triple-check! The Canadian Armed Forces also hires new university and college graduates for many of its technician and officer roles.

Fitness requirements

Basic Training happens after you’ve accepted a job offer, but you should start preparing for it in advance. This course that shows your employer (and you) what you’re made of. Your daily routine consists of physical training, marching, classes and practical sessions on military subjects. Physical training includes:

  • Field exercises such as weapons firing, map and compass use, and marching
  • Obstacle course training
  • Swimming and treading water
  • Strength development and running progressively longer distances

To make sure you’re in the best possible shape for Basic Training, check out the Physical Fitness Guide for Applicants to the Canadian Armed Forces.

Appearance and medical standards

Mainly for safety purposes, all applicants must undergo a medical evaluation and, once enrolled, adhere to general appearance guidelines. A complete medical exam is performed during the application process to see if any pre-existing conditions rule out specific jobs. As for appearance, recruits must have short hair and no offensive visible tattoos. Women are allowed to pull long hair back, wear stud earrings, and apply minimal make-up.

The application process

Online application

First you’ll fill out an online application, which takes about 20 to 30 minutes. Note that you’ll have to create an Access Key with the Government of Canada before starting.

Once you’ve submitted your application, a recruiter will email you to remind you to mail in some additional pieces of information, such as photocopies of your birth certificate, ID and transcripts. You’ll then fill out a few forms as part of the screening process to verify your personal information.

Tests and exams

Now comes the fun part – seeing which military roles you’re best suited for. A multiple choice aptitude test will assess your verbal, spatial and problem solving abilities. Do tests give you the jitters? Not to worry! They’ve developed a practice test to help you prepare for the main event.

Once your mind has been tested, it’s on to your body. You’ll undergo a medical exam (as mentioned above) to make sure you’re physically ready for military training and service.  Here, a doctor will evaluate your height, weight, vision and hearing.

Tip: Do not smoke or drink caffeine on the day of the exam, and limit your exposure to loud noises for a few days before your exam. Your medical files will also be reviewed to see if you have any pre-existing conditions.


Finally, after both test results have been finalized, you’ll be invited to an interview with a military career counsellor. This is the official job interview, so come prepared. You’ll be asked questions about the  job you’re applying for, the Canadian Armed Forces, and your qualifications. Prepare as you would for any job interview by reviewing your resume and the specifics of your potential role. Also, check out “Life in the CF” and “Basic Training” to help you prep.

Basic Training

Once you’ve been  selected for the job, you’ll be given a date for enrollment and Basic Training. You’ll have 10 days to either accept or refuse the offer. Upon accepting, you’ll be invited to an Enrollment Ceremony where you’ll be officially sworn in as a member of the Canadian Armed Forces. Congratulations in advance!

Ready to get started? A career in the Canadian Armed Forces is unlike any other – you have the opportunity to travel the world, help other people and develop useful skills, all while serving your country.

Canadian Armed ForcesVisit the Canadian Armed Forces’ employer profile to learn more about the application process and starting your career in the Army, Navy or Air Force.