Is Joining the Royal Marines after University a Bad Idea?

royal marine commando

I've just finished my postgraduate degree in Nutrition, and I am now thinking about a career in the military (Royal marines) am I being foolish?

Kyriaki says:

Hi there! No career decision is foolish if it is something that you want to do and you think it can make you happy. Assuming that you care about your health and wellbeing and you want to stay fit and healthy (since you have studied nutrition), joining the Royal Marines can help you accomplish this mission.

However, as I am sure you are already aware getting into the Royal Marines is challenging. The selection process is amazingly physically and mentally demanding and you need to train hard to be prepared.

Entry requirements vary slightly depending on the role you choose 1) Royal Marines commando and 2) Royal Marines commando officer. But, given the fact that you have just completed a postgraduate degree in nutrition I am going to assume that you want to become an officer and are also physically fit.

Becoming part of the Royal Marines isn’t so much so about having the right qualifications, but the right soft skills and most importantly, the right type of personality. The Royal Navy wants to recruit people who are ambitious, have a drive, determination and a can-do-attitude. You also need to be curious and adventurous if you want to succeed.

If you decide to do it, you should know that there are many benefits. As a Royal Marines commando officer you get a starting salary of £25,750 that increases to over £39,000 within 26 months and with further promotions your pay continues to increase. You also get extra allowances such as reduced public transport and subsidized or free housing as well as free medical and dental care and a generous pension. This is a much better pay and benefits package than many young people are getting in entry level jobs in the current economic climate.

But no matter how exciting and rewarding this sounds, there are also a certain risks and dangers attached to joining the military - especially such an elite unit - and unless you are prepared for it, you are going to struggle. You might be required to be away from family for long periods of time, train under difficult conditions, which can also be physically and mentally challenging and also life threatening. The truth is that the military life isn’t for everyone. So the real question is do you really think you have the right mentality for it? And will your family?

Remember becoming a nutritionist has many options as well. You can work in non-clinical public and private settings. So for example, you could work for research institutions, food retailers and manufacturers, local authorities, the National Health Service, overseas aid organisations, sport companies and even media businesses.

The area you choose depends on your own interests and the specialisation of your postgraduate degree. But, compared to the Royal Marines you typically get £20,000 as a starting salary and up to £50,000 + in a senior position. You also have less chance of injury or death and your family will probably have an easier life.

So, although the career progression would be smoother in the Royal Marines; working as a nutritionist has the potential for a better work life balance and even higher or even lower pay depending where you work and how your career progresses.

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If you are seriously considering the marines, you can check out the following article to get more information:

Career Paths: The Ultimate A-Z List of Professions