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Prime Minister Stephen Harper, centre, talks with members of the Canadian Armed Forces running a Canadian water purification site in the earthquake stricken town of Jacmel, Haiti on Feb. 16, 2010. (FRED CHARTRAND/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, centre, talks with members of the Canadian Armed Forces running a Canadian water purification site in the earthquake stricken town of Jacmel, Haiti on Feb. 16, 2010. (FRED CHARTRAND/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Salaries Series

I want to be in the Canadian Armed Forces. What will my salary be? Add to ...

Job: Member of the Canadian Armed Forces

Salary: Starts at about $30,000 a year and increases to more than $55,000, depending on rank and occupation.

Education: To apply, you must have completed at least Grade 10. Certain entry programs and occupations require higher education levels, says Major Krzysztof Stachura, public affairs officer at the Canadian Forces Recruiting Group.

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The role: There are more than 100 full-time and part-time occupations in the Canadian Armed Forces, ranging from pilots to marine engineers. A complete list of jobs and descriptions can be found at www.forces.ca.

By the numbers: There are more than 90,000 Canadians serving in the Canadian Armed Forces, of which about 10,000, or 12 per cent, are women, according to www.forces.ca. As with other working Canadians, members are entitled to 17 weeks of maternity leave and 35 weeks of parental leave.

Job prospects: Strong. The military hires about 4,000 full-time members every year in a wide range of occupations, Major Stachura says. There are also about 4,000 part-time opportunities a year. The numbers can fluctuate each year, depending on demand for personnel and how many people move on to other positions or professions.

Challenges: Tough working conditions in harsh climates and difficult political situations. The challenges are what make the job the most rewarding, Major Stachura says. “Helping those that are most in need requires a 24/7 commitment and a willingness to deploy to some of the most remote, austere, and dangerous places in the world,” he says.

Why they do it: People in the Forces want to serve their country in a variety of roles and circumstances, which can range from deployment to Afghanistan to helping people after the devastating floods in Alberta last summer. Some are also interested in the educational opportunities that can be had upon joining the Canadian Armed Forces. There are also those who come from military families and want to carry on the tradition.

Misconceptions: Being in the military does not need to be a lifetime commitment, Major Stachura says. Also, it’s not just about handling weapons. There are a lot of roles in the Canadian Armed Forces that cater to people with different skills and interests, he says.

Give us the scoop: Are you in the Canadian Armed Forces? Write a note in the comments area of this story or e-mail your comment to careerquestion@globeandmail.com and let us know what you would tell others who are interested in the profession.

Want to read more stories from our Salaries Series? Find more here.

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