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Serious questions before being recruited...


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I am a normal civilian just graduated from high school and is currently attending Canadian university. I really don't know much about becoming a part of military, so forgive me if I say something stupid and/or naive.I have just contacted the recruitment centre in Calgary for further information, but that's not until next week. So I want to show up with some background knowledge.  I really could use some career advice if you could spare a bit of your time.  :)


I am currently a first-year post-secondary student in Canada. I immigrated to Canada (From Asiatic area) and got citizenship before becoming an high school student.

From my childhood, I always dreamed about being part of military organization (Intelligence, air or med area...) but peer pressure encouraged me to go to typical professional career like pharmacy or engineering. I am not very tall (5"2) and slightly overweighed. (65-70kg, it fluctuates every week... I could lose a bit more since I never exercise) I usually excelled intellectually, not physically. I have decent high school mark (I think it was between high 80s and low 90s) and I have pretty much all core courses. Alberta Cir. (Highest level of biology, physics, chemistry, math, pre-calculus, English and french... though I was never interested in French) I am relatively fluent in English since I attended both Canadian junior and high school, but I do have a bit of accents and make some silly grammar errors here and there.

From public's prospective, there's a fair demand of military recruits (especially due to the increase of further Canadian military involvement like Afghanistan) and some positions offers generous salary. Military also helps out with your education fee provided that I serve for about a decade)

I am now hoping to become a pilot or pharmacist in the military. I am having a difficult time finding websites where I can learn more about requirements and training expectations.

1. How fit should I be? I am 5"2 and am between 145 - 155 pounds, and I have little athletic experience. I play ping pong and badminton, but I don't think my superiors will be impressed by that... :-[

2. How competitive is it to join the military? I think I am reasonably ok in academic field, but not sure about physical challenge. Back in my home country, all men are obligated to serve for short period of time (Like Israel) and I was told that the physical training was hell. Hollywood movies give similar impression too.

3. Do I first need to be regular infantry (Army, Navy or Air Force) before I can apply for pharm or pilot? If so, how long does it take? How competitive is it? (Both academically and physically)

4. Does Canadian military really cover all education funds? If not, please enlighten me.

5. Am I serving military all the time or am I allowed to go back to civilian life here and there? Can I stay if I wish to?

6. How much free time do we get? Are we offered internet connection during our break?

7. Am I to study and train in Canadian universities or am I to do that in military building(s)?

8. Can I bring my cell, or should I get rid of that before being recruited?

9. How likely do candidates pass and fail? (Regular infantry, pharm or pilot)

10. I don't know French, but I do have one of Asian language as my second language. Should I try to learn French, or it's not a problem?

11. Do most of the military personnel drink? (I am really lightweight when it comes with alcohol. I can handle a beer bottle or wine, but nothing too strong)

12: How harsh are superiors? I can handle verbal abuse here and there, but I wonder if it's really bad. Canadians in general are very friendly and kind, but military may be a bit different.

13. How well should you be able to swim? I don't have a lifeguard cert. or anything like that. I can swim reasonably as recreation, but nothing competitive.

14. Can you be financially stable provided that I have no debt, drug or gambling addiction or anything like that? I am a very careful spender, but income can be tight in the beginning or so I was told.

15. Am I covered for dental/med/drug prescription?

16. I heard that military personnel tend to wake up 5AM and sleep at midnight. Is that true? (I wake up usually at 6:30-7:00 AM and sleep at about 11PM)

17. I wear glasses. Would this prevent me from being a pilot? Would contact lense help? (I know I am pushing it, but who knows) I heard laser eye surgery can help... can I?)

These are what I can think of for now. I know you men and women are very busy, so no pressure... but I would really appreciate if you can share your thoughts/experiences. Thanks for taking your time.  :salute:


Fairly soon a rainbow post will go up to tell you to search as most questions have been answered, but seeing as you wrote in complete sentences and asked a lot of questions I will try my best to give short answers to some of the questions.

1. Height doesn't matter, fitness can be improved.  Lots of threads on PT, fitness, etc.  Unfortunately the required level is quite low.

2. It is a competitive process, how competitive depends what you a applying for.  Harder to get into a position where there are few spots or many applicants.

3. No, you can join 90%+ of the trades right off the street.

4. Yes, your training will be funded, be it as a Pte learning how to stack blankets, or a computer programmer.  Depending on how much funding is provided, you will have a period of compulsory service to complete to pay it back in sweat.

5/6. Reserves are part time (1 night a week, 2 or so weekends a month).  Regulars are full time, but you get 20 days holidays a year (search for Leave).  If you get a smoke break in the middle of bunch of woods you won't have access to internet.  If you get back to the shacks at lunch and you have an internet connection in your room you have access, everything depends on the situation.

7. Depends on the programme you get into, RMC is the Royal Military College, you can go there, or depending on the major you may go to civilian university.  Some non-commissioned technical trades go to community colleges.

8.  It is not a prison.  Except during formal courses and in certain work situations you are allowed to carry a cell phone, scratch your back, talk to friends, yawn, and belch.  You will be told when you can't carry a cell phone (basic training is one of those times).

9. Up to the individual, the military isn't hard, people generally fail themselves.

10.  If you become an officer you will go on  second language training, don't worry about it.

11.  Absolutely irrelevant.  You will be offered many opportunities to drink, if you decide to take them up, great, if not, no one really cares.

12.  If you screw up you may get yelled at depending on the leadership technique and situation you are in.  Take it as a learning experience and it isn't personal, chances are five minutes after it happens the person who did will have moved on and forgotten about it (unless you really screwed up or are a repeat offender).

13.  You will be taught to swim.

14.  With go financial planning money isn't a problem especially if you have no debt.

15. Yes

16.  Depends on work.  See comment about belching and basic training.

17.  Lots of threads on glasses, search.

The military is not difficult.  Fitness levels required are not high for basic enrollment.  Courses are not difficult if you pay attention.  You should not be put in a situation where you cannot succeed during initial training (ie, you qualified only as a cook, but are loaded on a POET course (electronics)).  Once you a qualified soldier, you don't have to be in bed at 11pm for you day to day duties (however you do have to be at work when told to be there).
There is nothing tricky about it, read the guidelines, apply, wait, and you'll be told whether you were successful.
I will try to answer your questions.  However, I suggest you do a search for specific question or try the DND website.

1.  You should be reasonably fit.  But don't sweat it.  Basic training will get you into shape.

2.  Yes it is competitive to join. However, it all comes down to how you score on your CFAT, which trade you want, the demand for that trade, etc.

3.  No.  When you go to CFRC you tell them which trades you are interested in and depending on your CFAT score you will be offered a trade, which you can either accept or decline.

4.  In a word yes.  If you are accept in as an officer your schooling will be paid for.  However, there is more to it than that and the recruiter will explain it all to you.

5.  Once you join the regular force you are under contract and are expected to serve. You may put in a request to release from the CF at anytime, which could take up to 6 months to process.

6.  Depending on your trade, training periods, exercises, etc.  You normally work 8 hrs a day 5 days a week.  The rest of the time is yours.  You can use the internet all you like as long as you have one at your place and can afford it.

7.  You could do either.  Depends on where you are sent.

8.  Feel free to bring your Cell.  Make sure it is turned off during training time.

9.  Guess it depends on how hard they study and work.

10. Learning French wouldn't hurt.  But I wouldn't sweat it.  If they want you to learn it they will send you on a course after you join.

11. Some do, some don't  It's your choice if you want to.

12. You will get yelled at during your basic. But it won't be directed at an individual but at the group.  Not something you need to worry about.

13. As long as you know how that's great

14. Financial stability is a good thing.  If you are joining without serious debt don't worry about it.

15. Once you are enrolled your medical and dental is free to you.  If you have dependents, then they will be covered up to a percentage after you enroll in the plans

16.  Again it depends.  During basic training etc you may be required to get up early and go to bed late.  Once you are training and at a base then it will be different.  For example, I work from 0730 to 1600 Monday to Friday.

17.  I am 99% sure that to be a pilot you need 20/20 vision.  Check with the recruiter to be sure. 

Hope this helps you out.  Again the best thing to do is search the forums, check out the web site, and go talk to a recruiter. 

Good Luck
Just some added info, if I were you, I'd go Pharmacist instead of Pilot.  Way more openings.
As of last month, pilot was closed due to training backlogs.

I'd go pharmacy, too. 
To enter as a Pharm O, you must hold a degree in pharmacy granted by a recognized university, have passed the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada's qualifying exam, and hold a current licence to practice client-based pharmacy in a province or territory of Canada.
Pmedmoe.. you beat me...

I wanted to join as a pharmacist too... but my grades were too low to get into a public university, and I was told that the army could not help me get the education.

if you are not already accepted into a pharmacy program either make the change asap or change your trade choice.

Good luck
AmmoTech90 said:
1. Height doesn't matter

Actually for Pilots it does matter. Pilots old anthropometric minimum standard was 157.7cm for standing height. On top of that, candidates had to meet the seated height, leg length as well as thigh lenght standards. Since 2006, there is a computerized device producing more accurate measurements which slightly lowered existing standards.
17.  I am 99% sure that to be a pilot you need 20/20 vision.  Check with the recruiter to be sure. 

Since 2008, a minimum of 20/20 uncorrected vision as well as strict refractive standard are no longer in effect.
ark said:
Since 2008, a minimum of 20/20 uncorrected vision as well as strict refractive standard are no longer in effect.

True, but your statement leaves a lot to be desired, and now some numpty with V4 will wonder if (s)he can become a pilot.  Your response was equally 'wrong'. 

For the latest vision requirements for pilot, look them up in the appropriate topic.
Hey...I resent that remark!!!
I can fly and with a little time could even rig up a couple of potato guns and fire them electrically from the C-152 I rent from time to time.
Who says V4 can't fly!!??
George Wallace said:
True, but your statement leaves a lot to be desired, and now some numpty with V4 will wonder if (s)he can become a pilot.  Your response was equally 'wrong'. 

For the latest vision requirements for pilot, look them up in the appropriate topic.

You are right, I should have mentioned that there are new standards. As for the numpty V4s, there is even hope for them as some refractive surgeries are now eligible.