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What is an Army Officer Cadet


What is an Army Officer Cadet?

An Army Cadet enlists for a Cadetship to become an Officer in the Defence Forces. After successfully completing the Cadet Training Course in the Cadet School, Military College, an Army Cadet is commissioned into the Officer Ranks of the Army as a Second Lieutenant (2/Lt) or Lieutenant (Lt).  

Who we want

Officers are the leaders, decision makers and managers of the Defence Forces. A Line Officer leads, directs and motivates our frontline troops. The role comes with very real mental and physical challenges, with Officers being expected to lead from the front in all situations. Officer Cadets or trainee Officers engage in 17 months training in the Military College covering many basic and practical soldier skills and military fields of study before taking up an operational appointment in the Permanent Defence Forces. The Defence Forces is looking for people who have the potential to:

  • Plan, prioritize and organise
  • Analyse problems, in order to generate appropriate solutions
  • Be clear, concise and with effective communication skills
  • The ability to motivate others and work with a team
  • Can you do all of this while working in a high pressure, mentally and physically demanding and environment?

After completing Officer training, cadets are commissioned into a Service Corp — Infantry, Artillery, Cavalry, Transport or Communications Information Systems.

As a young Officer many more opportunities for development, growth, variety, and responsibility will come your way.


To find out if you have the Minimum Qualifications required to apply for a Cadetship in the Army.

Take Note: Additional education qualifications may be required during a Cadet Competition and these will be listed in the Terms and Conditions for that competition.

Age Limitations

Be 18 years of age or over and under 26 years of age on the date mentioned in the notice for the current competition.


The Cadet Competition is held annually and is the only way for potential candidates to join the Defence Forces to become an Army Line Officer. Candidates undergo psychometric and fitness testing, an interview and a medical exam.

Candidates who are invited to interview will be required to complete and sign a Garda Vetting Application Form that, pursuant to Section 8 of the Data Protection Act, 1988, will authorise the Garda Síochána to furnish to the Defence Forces either, a statement that there are no convictions recorded against a candidate, or a statement of convictions, as the case may be.


The purpose of cadet training is to develop character and leadership skills and instil a sense of duty and responsibility in the cadet. To benefit from that training, which is conducted in an environment of strict discipline, the cadet needs mental acuity and physical agility. During 17 months of training an Army Cadet masters basic military skills, such as rifle marksmanship, as well as developing the leadership skills required of an Army Officer. On commissioning the new Officer takes up a leadership position in one of the Army Corps.

Third Level Education

Personnel who have successfully completed their Officer Cadet training and who have not previously attained an Honours Bachelor Degree (Level 8 of the National Framework of Qualifications) or equivalent may be assigned to a course of study leading to a degree at National University of Ireland, Galway or a course of study leading to a degree at some other third level college of education.

Career Progression

Commissioning is just the start of an Army Officer’s career. Once assigned to an Army Corps a Young Officer will undertake a number of courses to become a fully qualified officer of that corps. The Young Officer must also adjust to the new responsibilities of commanding and training troops.


Cadets receive a salary from the day they are enlisted. On receiving a commission and depending on whether they are commissioned as a Lt or 2/Lt the payscale changes from that of the cadet.

2023 Terms & Conditions

2023 Cadetship Apply Now

View the 2023 Cadetship Timeline