More than just a gap year
Get an exciting 12-month taste of life in the Air Force and enjoy full job training, meaningful work and memorable experiences – plus much more.
Enjoy all this and more
Make more mates
Check your eligibility
To be eligible to apply, you'll need to be an Australian citizen aged between 18 and 24 on completion of military training (dates vary by job). You'll also need to have completed Year 12 (subject passes required vary by job) and have passes in Year 10 English and Maths. Refer to individual job pages for more information.
Applications for all roles are now open – and will close as positions are filled. Learn more in the FAQs section below.
How to apply
1 - Choose a role
2 - Apply online
3 - Wait to hear
Find your ideal role
Your questions answered
To be eligible for an ADF Gap Year role, you must be an Australian citizen.
You must be aged between 18 and 24 at the point of completing initial training. See individual job pages for more details.
To be eligible for an ADF Gap Year job you must have completed Year 12 with the passes required of the role you are applying for.
Fitness requirements vary by Service. Before you join the ADF, you will undergo a Pre-Entry Fitness Assessment (PFA). Check out the PFA requirements and training tips to help you meet them on our health and fitness page.
The ADF has a strict policy on tattoos and body piercing. Tattoos and/or brands are prohibited on the faces of candidates wishing to enter the Navy, Army or Air Force. For Navy and Army candidates, the face includes the scalp, ears and neck. For Army candidates, tattoos are also prohibited on your hands.
Female candidates are permitted to have tattooed eyebrow forms (excluding eyeliner) providing they follow the natural arch line of eyebrows and are of a natural colour that matches the colour of the hair. Females may also have lip tattooing to enhance the outline of the lips providing it does not look unnatural.
Apart from the face (and hands for Army candidates), tattoos and/or brands are permitted on other parts of the body, unless the tattoo or brand is considered offensive and undermines the dignity and authority of the Australian Defence Force.
If you have tattoos for religious reasons that are in the areas prohibited above, please be aware that Defence Force Recruiting is required to seek approval from the appropriate Service authority prior to your appointment or enlistment.Further guidance on this policy can be received by contacting Defence Force Recruiting on 13 19 01.
A typical application process includes two separate visits to a Defence Force Recruiting Centre.
At the first session, you will discuss the roles available, take some basic aptitude tests, and chat about your medical history. On the second visit, you will be required to have more comprehensive interviews with a doctor, psychologist and a senior member of the ADF.
Additionally, if you are applying for an ADF Gap Year Officer role you’ll also be asked to attend an Officer Selection Board, which is similar to a formal job interview.
You’ll find more information plus interview tips here: ADF recruitment process
First, we’ll reply with an email acknowledging receipt of your application. Then, due to the popularity of the ADF Gap Year program and the number of applications it attracts, it could take up to four weeks for you to be contacted for an informal chat.
If your application has been successful you’ll be given the choice of attending an Information Session or a YOU (Your Opportunities Unlimited) Session, both of which will be held at your local Defence Force Recruiting Centre.
Information Sessions give you the opportunity to learn about ADF Gap Year jobs, talk to serving personnel, and ask any questions you have. Your YOU Session is where we carry out basic aptitude tests and review your medical history, and chat further about the jobs available to you.
Contact your case manager on 13 19 02 to check on the progress of your application.
Intakes generally take place during the first quarter of the year following the year you applied in. However, if you have applied for a Navy Gap Year role, you’ll find that intakes are staggered throughout the year. Refer to individual job pages for more information.
Serving members will be happy to visit your school to give a presentation to students about the career opportunities offered by the ADF. To organise a visit, please contact your local Career Promotion Team:
Australian Capital Territory: CPTACT@dfr.com.au
New South Wales: CPTNSW@dfr.com.au
Queensland (north): CPTTownsville@dfr.com.au
Queensland (south): CPTQLD@dfr.com.au
Northern Territory: CPTNT@dfr.com.au
South Australia: CPTSA@dfr.com.au
Western Australia: CPTWA@dfr.com.au
Pay rates vary depending on the job you take. For details on the current salary and allowances paid to ADF Gap Year personnel, please see individual job pages or refer to the ADF Salary Scales.
It can be challenging, however, the ADF encourages you to keep in contact with your friends and family during your Air Force Gap Year.
Yes, you’ll be treated the same as regular members of the ADF. However, you’ll have the flexibility to elect to voluntarily leave the program at any stage if things aren’t working out, as long as you provide 21 days’ notice.
After completing initial military training and training in your specific job, you'll be immersed in the Air Force lifestyle while continuing to learn on the job. You'll acquire valuable skills, make new friends, and may even receive nationally-recognised qualifications that benefit your future career.
Every job is different, but you'll get a feel for Gap Year life by watching the videos on this page and on the individual job pages.
You will not be eligible to deploy overseas during your Gap Year. You will, however, participate in domestic training exercises and operations once you are qualified in your job.
During initial training, you will receive minimal leave, however, leave for each Service is different. After this period, leave on weekends and public holidays is granted subject to any training activities being conducted.
Once initial training has been completed, working hours vary between regions – so you may work from 0730 to 1600 in one place, but 0800 to 1630 in another. Outside these times (and on weekends and public holidays) your time is your own for leisure and recreation. However, from time to time you may be required to work additional hours subject to Service requirements, and some jobs entail shift work.
No, ADF Gap Year personnel are not eligible to deploy overseas. You will, however, participate in all your unit's domestic training exercises and operations once you are qualified in your job.
In most cases your options will be:
- Apply for a full-time position in the Navy, Army or Air Force with ongoing job opportunities (subject to Service requirements and availability of positions).
- Apply for a reserve position in the Army or Air Force, where you can continue to use your skills on a flexible or part-time basis (subject to Service requirements and availability of positions).
- Choose to leave the Australian Defence Force and pursue an alternative career path.
Yes, on successful completion of your Gap Year you may be able to transfer to, or apply for, a reserve position in the Army or Air Force, where you can continue to use your skills on a flexible or part-time basis (subject to Service requirements and availability of positions).