As well as the great experiences and adventures you'll have as an Air Cadet, you can also gain qualifications that will help with your education and careers.

Our training and education provides:

  • a progressive programme which is enjoyable, exciting and challenging
  • opportunities to gain recognised qualifications

As you complete the training and qualifications available, you’ll earn badges to show your progress.

Find out more about our activities

Basic Cadet training

All Air Cadets will complete their basic training; first as a junior cadet and then as a second class cadet once enrolled. The basic training syllabus will cover:

  • History and structure of the RAF Air Cadets (ATC and CCF)
  • The Royal Air Force
  • History of flight
  • Drill
  • Map reading
  • Radio communications
  • Flying operations and
  • Expedition training.

On completing basic training cadets become First Class Cadets, gaining their first classification badge. The longer you stay in the Air Cadets, the more opportunities you can benefit from.

Training for Leading Cadet

First Class Cadets then start training for the Leading Cadet classification.  This training is made up of three subjects building on basic training.  They are:

  • Airmanship knowledge
  • Principles of flight
  • Basic navigation using map and compass

Training for Senior Cadets 

Leading Cadet then start training to gain Senior Cadet Classification and can choose any three of the Senior subjects:

  • Air Navigation
  • Pilot Navigation
  • Aircraft Handling & Flying Techniques
  • Airframes
  • Piston Engine Propulsion
  • Jet Engine Propulsion
  • Rocketry
  • Military Aircraft Systems
  • Principles of Air Power
  • Radio & Radar
  • Satellite & Data Communications
  • Avionics & Aircraft Electrical Systems

Training for Master Air Cadets 

Air Cadets training for their Master Cadet Classification can choose any three of the Senior syllabus subjects not already undertaken. The minimum age for appointment to Master Air Cadet is 15.

Skills and qualifications available through the Air Cadets

Our education and training offers something for all interests. Whether a beginner or if you already have some experience and qualifications,  you’ll find something to suit your needs and keep you learning.

The Duke of Edinburgh's Award

The Duke of Edinburgh's Award is recognised by employers everywhere. You can take on the challenge as part of your adventurous training, working your way up through the levels all the way to Gold - something to be really proud of.

Leadership training

You can prove your worth as a leader - a skill that will build your confidence and your ability to deal with different kinds of people. We offer Wing and Regional Leadership Courses, Cadet Leadership Courses and The Air Cadet Junior Leaders Course.


BTECs are a widely recognised qualification. The BTEC in Aerospace Studies is being finalised to replace our BTEC in Aviation Studies. 

Other BTECs available are:

  • BTEC Level 1 Certificate in Teamwork and Personal Skills for Uniformed Youth Organisations
  • BTEC Level 2 in Teamwork and Personal Development in the Community (SCQF Level 5)
  • BTEC Level 2 Certificate in Space Studies

Leadership and management qualifications, from the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) are available to cadets and adult volunteers.

Level 3 Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

Cadets over 16 can undertake this qualification. The content of the Air, Space and Cyber projects are decided by the cadet themselves. The qualification is equivalent to half an A-level and has UCAS points for higher education.

First Aid

First Aid is an essential skill you can pick up and you may also be awarded a certificate from St Johns Ambulance.

City & Guilds

Adult volunteers can benefit from vocational qualifications in management.

Earn badges as your training progresses

Badges will show the level of training you have completed and the more you learn and gain, the more badges you will earn too.

Blue, bronze, silver and gold badges are available in:

  • Space
  • Cyber and communications
  • Flying and gliding
  • Shooting
  • Music
  • Duke of Edinburgh Award
  • First aid
  • Leadership
  • Road marching

Female cadet in formal wear playing a violin as part of an orchestra