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becoming a tank pilot

How do I become a tank pilot?

Are you passionate about tanks and looking for your future career? Become a tank pilot in the French Army! As a tank pilot, you'll be responsible for driving tanks and armored vehicles on missions. You'll also take part in tank maintenance and drive other army vehicles.

If you want to become a tank pilot, here's everything you need to know beforejoining the French army! We'll tell you everything you need to know about the job of a tank pilot in the French army: specifics, skills required, day-to-day life, career development and pay.

The specificities of the tank pilot profession

tank driver

Joining the French Army as an EVAT

If you would like to join the French Army as an EVAT(Engagé Volontaire de l'Armée de Terre), here are the requirements for recruitment.

  • Be of French nationality and enjoy full civil rights
  • Must be aged 17 and a half and under 29 on the date the contract is signed
  • No schooling required, CAP/BEP appreciated for technical jobs

Joining the French Army as a VDAT

Do you want to join the French Army as a VDAT(Volontaire de l'Armée de Terre)? Check that you meet the prerequisites to contact the Army recruitment unit to start the process!

Here are the requirements forjoining the French Army as a VDAT:

  • Be of French nationality and enjoy full civil rights
  • Must be 18 and under 26 years of age on the date the contract is signed
  • No diploma required, but baccalaureate recommended

Depending on your choice of enlistment (EVAT or VDAT), you can then train as a tank pilot. The initial 8-month training for the profession takes place at the École des Sous-officiers in Saint Maixent. You will then follow specialized training in armored combat for 4 to 5 months at Saumur.

Skills required to become a tank pilot

tank armored vehicle

Want to become a tank pilot? This military profession is only accessible through the French Army. This demanding profession requires a wide range of technical and behavioral skills! You'll learn the technical skills involved in this profession during your post-enlistment training, but here's some additional information to know before you sign up as a tank pilot!

Be autonomous and responsible

A good soldier, whatever his profession, must be self-reliant. You're going to have to fend for yourself, and adapt your living conditions constantly as you go along on missions.Independence is one of the traits required to become a fighter pilot in the French Army. In fact, you'll be in charge of piloting armored vehicles, sometimes in combat: it's a heavy responsibility.

Being rigorous

To become a tank pilot, you need to be rigorous in your day-to-day work. Indeed, piloting an armored vehicle in combat calls for great responsibility, and being rigorous is part of it. You'll be in charge of your armored vehicle, sometimes alone, in hostile terrain. Being rigorous is essential to becoming a good tank pilot.

Being organized

You've probably guessed it, but a good soldier needs to be perfectly organized, both in his personal life and at work. You'll need to pay close attention to how you dress and how you organize yourself in your armored vehicle to facilitate your missions.

Good health and excellent eyesight

In order to join the French Army, you will have to undergo a military medical examination. The purpose of this medical examination is to assess a soldier's physical and psychological fitness for military service. The criteria vary from one profession to another. During the military medical check-up, future candidates undergo a series of tests to assess their SIGYCOP score. This score is based on 7 precise criteria:

  • S: Shoulder girdle and upper limbs
  • I: Pelvic girdle and lower limbs
  • G: General condition
  • Y: Eyes and vision
  • C: Chromatic direction
  • O: Ears and hearing
  • P: Psychic

During the military medical examination, the medical officer scores the candidate from 1 to 6 for each category. At the end of this visit, depending on the candidate's final score, he or she is classified as fit or unfit to become a soldier in the profession in question. The first medical examination may seem daunting, but you'll see, you'll get used to it! If you are declared fit, you will have to undergo regular medical check-ups throughout your military career to verify your physical and psychological health.

Want to find out more about this pre-employment military medical? Don't wait to read our article on how a military medical check-up works!

Possible career paths for a tank pilot

military tank

After training, you can become a tank pilot from the age of 18. Gradually, after certification, you will have the opportunity to move up the ranks to become a sergeant, then a non-commissioned officer or even an officer. As your career progresses, you'll take professional assessment tests, enabling you to move up the ranks within the Army.

If you're ambitious and want to move up the career ladder, becoming a tank pilot will open up a whole host of opportunities for you! Moving up requires ambition, motivation and a lot of hard work, but you'll be able to do it if you're fully committed to your career. With a bit of luck, you could even end up as an armored vehicle commander or major in the French Army!

Depending on your level of education, you can also become an officer as soon as you are recruited as a tank pilot. This is something you should discuss during your pre-enlistment visit to the army. Read our article on the different military ranks in France!

Army professions similar to tank pilot

tank pilot engagement

If you're interested in armored vehicles like tanks, you should know that tank piloting isn't your only career option. There are many other professions similar to that of tank pilot, more or less accessible depending on your level of education and age. Find out more about the professions of armored vehicle fighter, armored combat officer and armored vehicle commander.

For all these jobs, you need to be a French citizen and have full civil rights.

Becoming an armored vehicle combatant

Armored vehicle combatants are non-commissioned soldiers recruited between the ages of 17.5 and 30. These soldiers are trained to carry out reconnaissance, attack, support, defense or investigation missions aboard armored vehicles. They are also responsible for destroying enemy armored vehicles. Armored combatants can be pilots, gunners or reloading operators. They are regularly sent on overseas missions (OPEX). During these missions, their salary is more than doubled. It's an excellent opportunity!

Armored combatants are military personnel and have access to housing and numerous benefits, such as SNCF discounts.

Become a contract officer in armored combat

If you're ambitious, becoming an armored combat support officer is a great option. These soldiers supervise a section or platoon of armored vehicles. Armored combat support officers carry out missions both in France and abroad. They are also responsible for the tactical training of combatants.

Officers under contract for armored combat management are considered military officers and have access to a wide range of benefits. Their starting salary is very attractive! To become a contract officer in armored combat, you need to have a BAC+2 and be between the ages of 18 and 32.

Become an armored vehicle commander

The armored vehicle commander is a military non-commissioned officer. He or she is responsible for commanding a team of 3 to 6 people on a mission (in peacetime or wartime), and participates in platoon management. Armored vehicle commanders carry out their missions in France, but also abroad during OPEX (overseas operations). His or her salary is doubled when on OPEX duty.

Tobe recruited as a non-commissioned officer in charge of an armored vehicle in the French Army, you must have a baccalaureate and be between 18 and 29.5 years old.

The benefits of a tank pilot in the army

military rank tank pilot

Tank pilots have military status and access to numerous benefits. Military status entitles pilots to accommodation during training and the first few years of their career, as well as bonuses and discounts. For example, the SNCF offers military personnel and their families a 75% discount on train travel within France.

A tank pilot's salary in the French Army varies according to military rank. You can expect to earn between €1,800 and €2,900 gross when you join! Of course, you'll also be paid during your training.

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