Job description

A special forces officer will lead elite teams by air, land or sea and work with commanders on the various aspects of special operations. During combat or peacetime missions, a special forces officer will work with commanders by piecing together gathered intelligence and planning operations. This position requires the officer to possess a great deal of knowledge about political structures, the armed forces, geography and history. In today’s world, special forces officers are expected to be experts in unconventional warfare.


    • Prepare and outline missions that execute objectives listed by your superiors
    • Manage an elite team of professionals to carry out operations by air, land or sea
    • Outfit your team with the personnel you think would be useful in a mission
    • Participate in surveillance, search and rescue and counterterrorism missions
    • Advance your specialised training in a diverse array of fields, like languages or medicine
    • Evaluate intelligence data gathered from specialists and technicians within the military
    • Train, brief and de-brief personnel to complete individual missions
    • Strategise and tactically plan operations that may be politically sensitive
    • Operate highly technical communications equipment and advanced technology
    • Lead potentially dangerous raids on foreign soil or in enemy territory
    • Visit military training academies to offer advice to enlistees in training

Skills and qualities

Critical thinking
Time management
Risk management

Job outlook

Projected growth
No data currently available.


New jobs
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Automation risk
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Career progression

A special forces officer is usually one of the top positions that an armed services member can attain, especially in the United States military. Although large-scale missions are routine, the military is executing a lot more small and clandestine operations overseas, which requires the expertise of special forces officers. The position can lead to a high-ranking leadership promotion in a specific branch of the armed forces, like a captain.

Working conditions

Average hours

50h/ week

Typical schedule

Full Time

On a rota

A special forces officer is always on the clock, meeting with high-level military officials and engaging with officers on the latest developments occurring around the world. That said, the official data suggest this position’s average working hours clock in at 50, but when you are on a combat mission halfway around the world, there is no quitting time.

The working environment is about as stressful as it can get. Whether it is a search and rescue mission or a politically sensitive operation, you and your team will be on edge from beginning to end.


Bottom 10%




Top 10%


Annual salary estimates are based on data published on the Today's Military website.

Qualifications and training

Education level


Bachelor's degree

Study time

4 years

To become a special forces officer, you need to hold a university or college degree in addition to military training. Your degree must be concentrated on political science, history, geography, economics or a subject about the armed forces. Because militaries around the world are always seeking to gain an advantage over allies and foes alike, special forces officers still need to attend classroom training to learn about the newest technologies or political trends happening everywhere.

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2022

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