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Special Forces Officers

Intelligence, Combat and Readiness

Service Branches

  • Army logo
  • Marines logo
  • navy logo
  • Air Force logo
  • Coast Guard logo

Work Environment

Because special forces officers must be prepared to go anywhere in the world they are needed they train and work in all climates weather conditions and settings. They may work in cold water and dive from submarines or small underwater craft. They may also be exposed to harsh temperatures often without protection during missions into enemy-controlled areas.

  • Military Status


  • Median Military Salary This is the median, or the midpoint, of the salary range for this career.


    Military Salary Range Salary varies based on years of service, degree level, special pays, family status and location.

    $22,740 - $291,238


Special forces officers advise commanders on all aspects of special operations. They are experienced subject matter experts in unconventional warfare and operations fusing intelligence and planning at all levels across the operational continuum. They must have detailed knowledge of geography, economy, political structure, armed forces, and history.

Military Training

Officers typically enter the Military after they have completed a four-year college degree; enlisted service members can transition to officer positions through a variety of pathways and earn a degree while serving. Special Forces officers go through extensive demanding training. Job training for Special Forces officers primarily consists of classroom training and on-the-job learning in various training environments. Like other officers they complete a comprehensive training program covering responsibilities military structure and etiquette traditions and leadership development. Job-specific training content may include:

  • Physical conditioning scuba diving swimming and parachuting
  • Mission planning techniques
  • Handling and use of explosives
  • Reconnaissance techniques
  • Combat skills
  • Airborne training 
  • Special Forces Qualification Courses

Helpful Attributes

  • Ability to remain calm and decisive under stress
  • Determination to complete a very demanding training program
  • Willingness to accept a challenge and face danger
  • Willingness to stay in top physical condition

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