Military troops and sailors, a profession with a future

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For many people, their dream or illusion is to form part of the Spanish Armed Forces (hereinafter referred to as the "Armed Forces"). In this sense, the Ministry of Defence offers employment opportunities both for citizens who want to join the Armed Forces, as well as for those who, while maintaining their civilian status, want to form part of this Ministry.

The offer of public employment positions offered by the Ministry of Defence for civilian personnel is broken down into the categories of civil servants, labour personnel and statutory personnel. For military personnel, it is possible to enter as a soldier or sailor, non-commissioned officer or officer.

For this purpose, the Ministry of Defence calls for applications every year in two different calls for applications. One, around March, in which around 2,000 vacancies are announced, divided between the Air Force, the Army and the Navy, and the other, around September, in which a similar number of vacancies are announced again.

In this article, we are going to focus mainly on access to the military ranks.

Who can apply to become a member of the military?

To find out when the Ministry of Defence will publish the public employment offer, you can follow a search engine where you can find information on all the offers and open calls for applications, and you can also ask for information at any Defence Subdelegation or through the Ministry of Defence's website.

In terms of entry requirements, the minimum age to join the army is 18 years old, and the maximum age is 29 years old. However, even if you are over that age, there are corps such as officers that accept older candidates, as well as voluntary reservists.

Apart from age, a series of requirements must be met, according to Resolution 452/38007/2021, of 21 January, of the Undersecretary's Office, which approves the selection process for entry into military training centres to join the ranks of troops and sailors:

  • Be a Spanish national or a national of one of the countries listed in the call for applications. 
  • Not be deprived of civil rights. 
  • Not have a criminal record. 
  • Not be prosecuted, accused, investigated or indicted in legal proceedings for an intentional crime. 
  • Not have been dismissed from the service, by means of disciplinary proceedings, nor be disqualified from any of the Public Administrations. 
  • Not have any tattoos that may be contrary to the constitutional values or that may be detrimental to the image of the Armed Forces. 
  • Hold at least the Compulsory Secondary Education Graduate Certificate.militar tropa y mariner√≠a-4

For foreign citizens that the call for applications qualifies as candidates, the following requirements must be met:

  • Hold the age of majority in accordance with the provisions of their national law. 
  • They must not be ineligible in the territorial space of countries with which Spain has signed an agreement to this effect. 
  • Not lose their nationality of origin on entering the service of the Spanish Armed Forces, nor be prohibited from military enlistment in the same.
  •  Not have a criminal record in Spain or in their previous countries of residence for offences existing in the Spanish legal system.

Once you have passed the competitive examination, you make a commitment, signing a contract as a soldier and sailor that can last for two or three years, and can be extended for six years. The long-term contract can be requested through a process that verifies, among other aspects, the applicant's record and behaviour. On the other hand, according to article 7.1 of Law 39/2007, of 19 November, on the military career, "all military personnel have the duty to take an oath or promise to defend Spain before the flag. This oath or promise shall be taken during training in accordance with the provisions of this article and shall be a prerequisite and indispensable requirement for acquiring the status of career military, complementary military and military troops and sailors".


The training received in the Armed Forces may be homologated with the general education system and a qualification equivalent to that of an intermediate vocational training technician may be obtained, if you have opted to join as a troop or sailor, which will allow you to develop that speciality in civilian life under the conditions established by the corresponding legislation. It is important to point out at this point that one of the most common concerns among military personnel with a limited contract is facing the end of this commitment and being able to look for a new job. For non-commissioned officers and officers, the equivalence of the academic qualification is higher.

Therefore, in order to regulate the professional and social rights and duties, Organic Law 9/2011 of 27 July 2011 on the rights and duties of members of the Armed Forces, known as SAPROMIL (system for the use of the professional skills of military personnel), was passed.

As a complementary measure to support personnel, article 32 of the Law promotes the creation of programmes for incorporation into other areas of work, which will be offered during the active life of military personnel and will be implemented in collaboration with the different public administrations and the private sector. In this way, the aim is to facilitate the incorporation of military personnel into the professional civilian sphere. The Technical Office of the 'Rumbo Empleo' Programme has also recently been created, a programme that counts on the collaboration of Adecco and the Lee Hecht Harrison outplacement agency.

We would like to highlight the agreement signed with the National Cybersecurity Institute (INCIBE). The training, aimed at 200 students and carried out with the University of León, will consist of 86,800 hours distributed mostly in online classes and some face-to-face classes. The agreement is particularly attractive since, according to INCIBE's own sources, there will be three million unfilled jobs related to digital security worldwide in the coming years.

It should be borne in mind that military personnel who leave the Armed Forces have an instrument with which they can demonstrate, in the civilian workplace, the military training they have received and the professional experience they have: the "Certificate of training and professional experience", which will be drawn up by the Army/Navy of origin of the interested party, requesting the relevant reports from the units of destination.
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We can conclude that the incorporation into the world of work, exercising the professional function as military troops and sailors, is aimed at both within the Armed Forces themselves and outside them. Within the Armed Forces, there are training courses for promotion both to permanent rank (corporal, lance corporal, etc.) and to the ranks of non-commissioned officer or officer.

Outside the Armed Forces, there are reserved positions for military personnel with long-term commitments as civilian staff in all ministries of the central administration.

On the other hand, in the event that none of the career options are attractive to military personnel with a long-term commitment, there is the possibility of accessing the SAPROMIL training course, which includes more than 200 qualifications, from airline pilot to gardener, from air traffic controller to dangerous goods driver, from 25 engineering courses to welding courses, or from pharmacy assistant to shooting instructor or self-defence. After these ten years of service, and if the soldier finds a job in the civilian sector thanks to these courses, he or she can leave the Armed Forces to take up a new job.

In the event that the soldier has not had access to a career option and leaves the Armed Forces after 16 years of service or at the age of 45, they can enter the civilian labour market with the courses they have taken in the SAPROMIL programme. In addition, they become Special Availability Reservists, for which they receive a series of benefits compatible with their work and salary in civilian life.  If these military personnel have not wanted to take any training courses, their future employment is more complex, although they will always have the minimum income mentioned above until the age of 65, when they retire

David Robles Ramos.

Graduate in Law from the International University of La Rioja.

Master's Degree in Access to the Legal Profession from the UOC

Advanced International Diploma in Human Rights from the International Institute of Global Studies for Human Development.

Collaborator of the National Defence Area of Sec2Crime



Resolución 452/38007/2021, de 21 de enero, de la Subsecretaría, por la que se aprueba el proceso de selección para el ingreso en los centros docentes militares de formación para incorporarse a las escalas de tropa y marinería.

GUIA_DESVINCULACION.pdf (defensa.gob.es)


SAPROMIL para candidatos: un manual de usuario (expydoc.com)