How to Join the Nigerian Navy: An Ultimate Guide

The Nigerian Navy is one of the most coveted uniformed jobs in West Africa, explaining why it’s so competitive to make it through the recruitment procedure.

Surprisingly, the procedure doesn’t have to be extremely complex. Reading the Nigerian Navy’s guidelines and requirements and following them to a T will massively increase your chances of making it successfully into the Navy.

If you have no idea what these guidelines and requirements are, don’t fret; this article will take you through how to join the Nigerian Navy.

Eligibility Requirements for the Nigerian Navy

As hinted above, the Nigerian Navy has a high barrier to entry, and depending on whether you’re trying to get in as a commissioned or non-commissioned officer, that entry barrier might be even higher. Without further ado, here’s a breakdown of the eligibility requirements for the Nigerian Navy.

Educational Requirements

For both commissioned and non-commissioned officers, educational qualifications are a fundamental criterion. However, the level of education required differs.

Commissioned Officers must possess a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university or institution. Specialized roles may require specific educational backgrounds, such as engineering, medicine, or law.

On the other hand, Non-commissioned Officers typically require a minimum of a Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE) or its equivalent. Certain specialized positions within the non-commissioned ranks may have additional educational requirements.

Age Limits

Age is another critical factor in determining eligibility for the Nigerian Navy. The age limits vary for commissioned and non-commissioned officers.

Commissioned Officers generally must be between 22 and 28 years old at the time of application. However, specific roles may have slightly different age requirements, so it’s essential to check the official recruitment guidelines.

On the other hand, the age limit for Non-commissioned Officers is typically between 18 and 22 years, and they typically slowly have to work their way up the ranks to level up, a painfully slow process.

Citizenship and Character Requirements

The Nigerian Navy places high importance on the citizenship and character of its recruits. All applicants must be Nigerian citizens by birth, and dual citizenship is typically not accepted. Candidates also must have no criminal convictions and maintain good moral character, discipline, and a clean record.

The citizenship and character-related requirements are absolutely essential for both commissioned and non-commissioned officers to preserve the integrity of the Nigerian Navy.

Health Requirements

Physical fitness and health are paramount in the Nigerian Navy. Applicants must meet specific health standards. Candidates are required to undergo a thorough medical examination to ensure they are in good health and free from any contagious diseases.

The list of diseases that will disqualify you from applying keeps changing, so it’s best to refer to your application material for a comprehensive and up-to-date list.

Differences Between Commissioned and Non-Commissioned Officers in the Nigerian Navy

You may have noticed me using commissioned and non-commissioned officers earlier in this article, but what are these tags exactly?

Here are the five primary differences between commissioned and non-commissioned officers in the Nigerian Navy (and other Nigerian uniformed military forces) to help you get an understanding of how they work.

  1. While commissioned officers can only apply through specialized programs like the Direct Short Service Commission (DSSC) or Short Service Combatant (SSC) course, non-commissioned officers are selected during regular recruitment exercises, primarily based on educational qualifications and performance.
  2. Commissioned officers are required to have a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university or institution, often in fields relevant to their chosen career path, while non-commissioned officers typically need a minimum of a Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE) or its equivalent, with some specialized roles requiring additional qualifications.
  3. Commissioned officers can hold leadership and managerial positions, responsible for strategic planning and decision-making, but there’s a limit to the practical growth of non-commissioned officers in the Nigerian Navy. While they can play vital roles in the execution of tasks, they can only provide essential support and expertise to commissioned officers at most.
  4. Commissioned officers have a structured career progression system with opportunities for further education, specialization, and promotion to higher ranks, but non-commissioned officers also have advancement opportunities but follow a different career progression path, which may include promotion within their specific ranks and responsibilities.
  5. Commissioned officers undergo longer and more extensive training programs, often involving officer cadet training schools and academies. On the other hand, non-commissioned officers receive training tailored to their specific roles, generally of shorter duration compared to commissioned officers.

How to Join the Nigerian Navy as a Commissioned Officer

Joining the Nigerian Navy as a commissioned officer is a significant career step that requires careful planning and execution. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process:

Obtain a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university or institution.

Ensure your chosen field of study aligns with the naval career path you aspire to pursue, such as engineering, medicine, or law. You can streamline this process by seeking a place in the Nigerian Defense Academy.

After years of study at the NDA, cadets typically graduate with a graduate degree in their chosen field and a Mid-Shipman rank, which is equivalent to Second Lieutenant in the Nigerian Army.

Apply for DSSC or SSC.

If you couldn’t make the NDA list, your next best option is applying for their Direct Short Service Course (DSSC) or Short Service Course (SSC) after obtaining your bachelor’s degree.

You can do this by visiting the official Nigerian Navy recruitment portal during their application window and carefully follow the instructions.

Select the appropriate entry program, either the Direct Short Service Commission (DSSC) or Short Service Combatant (SSC) course, based on your eligibility and preferred career track.

Submit an Application and Pray

When applying, ensuring you submitted all the required documents as required by the application portal is an essential part of the selection process. Tons of people apply to join the Nigerian Navy each year; you don’t want to disadvantage yourself by submitting an incomplete application.

After submitting your application, you should consider praying, if you believe in it. No thanks to the insane competition, there’s really no pattern to the selection of navy officials in Nigeria; so, seeking God’s help shouldn’t be outrageous.

How to Join the Nigerian Navy as a Non-commissioned Officer

Not everyone looking for a place in the Nigerian Navy has to go the commissioned route. Here’s a breakdown of how to join the Nigerian Navy as a non-commissioned officer.

Ensure you’re qualified to apply

There are age, height, and academic constraints to joining the Nigerian Navy, as we’ve hinted earlier. Before submitting any application, ensure you’ve gone through the requirements to ensure you have a pass. Nothing is more disappointing than a rejection letter).

Stay Informed

The Nigerian Navy has an application window; so you can’t apply at just any time of the year. Keep an eye on the official Nigerian Navy Recruitment and Enlistment Portal and websites like Opportunities Hub to know when applications open for the year.

Apply Online

When the recruitment window opens, visit the official Nigerian Navy website and follow the application instructions. You may have to scan and submit certain documents, so you may need to visit a cybercafé for assistance.

Weeks after your application, the Nigerian Navy may invite you for an interview if you make the preliminary shortlist. Making it past the interview process is usually the final step required to become a bona fide member of the Nigerian Navy.


Before applying to join the Nigerian Navy, it’s essential to go through the eligibility requirements to ensure you’re eligible in the first place. Applying over and over again when you’re ineligible is fruitless, as your application will keep getting rejected.