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Signals Officer


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Hi folks,

Having recently started considering joining the CF, this board has been a Godsend in getting a feel for what‘s what; thanks to everyone for many enlightening comments. I‘m starting to narrow down my list of MOCs, and was hoping to find out more about the life of a Signals Officer in the Reg forces. In particular:

- What‘s a typical day when you‘re in garrison and not deployed?

- As I understand it, SOs are often attached to combat and other units; this being the case, is the SO officially part of (for example) an infantry unit, or part of a communications unit?

- If not attached to another unit, would you typically end up in Kingston? Or at a large HQ like Edmonton? Or?

- Further to the above: if you were attached to an infantry unit, would you be expected/able to engage in infantry training --- for example, could you get into a recce or para course?

- How much can you influence whether you have an HQ office-style job vs. spending a lot of time deployed or overseas?

Thanks in advance for any insights shared!
This was posted in CSS but it's probably more appropriate here...

Would anyone know if they would consider other degrees for Reserve Field Sig. Officer rather than technical ones like computer science and engineering? Someone told me they will consider you for the Communications Reserve Regiments with a non-technical degree (i.e. arts) on a case-by-case basis. Thanks in advance.
From CFAO 49-10  ( http://www.forces.gc.ca/admfincs/subjects/cfao/049-10_e.asp ):

14        Engineering (Military,        Except as provided in the Note to this serial:
          Land Electrical and          a. hold a suitable bachelor's degree (see Annex A to
          Mechanical                      CFAO 9-12 for guidance); or
          Communications/              b. be an engineering technologist who holds a suitable
          Electronics; Maritime;          technology diploma or possesses certification by a
          Aerospace)                      professional association as a technologist in a
                                          suitable field in accordance with CFAO 6-1, Annex A,
                                          Appendix 1; or
                                        c. for the Maritime Engineering (MARE) MOC only,
                                          hold a Ministry of Transport (Canada) or equivalent
                                          extra first or first class engineering certificate,
                                          with a satisfactory record of service; or
                                        d. have successfully completed not less than two years
                                          of a university course leading to a suitable degree
                                          in accordance with subparagraph a. If the member
                                          fails to obtain a degree in the two academic terms
                                          following enrollment, retention is subject to NDHQ

                                          Note--If the basic enrollment standards are met,
                                          the commander of the command may waive the
                                          provisions of this serial when necessary to meet
                                          emergency manning requirements.

That note at the end would seem to indicate that it is possible, but the emergency manning requirements would have to get looked into further.  I'd guess that you would have to talk to the unit you wish to join to find out more.

Also, subparagraph a references CFAO 9-12, which contains this image:


If you can make it out, it lists all arts degrees for the CELE MOC (which is now Signals Officer) as Code 4, which is "NOT SUBSIDIZED --  This code is not acceptable for CF subsidization for the particular MOC".  CFAO 9-12 deals with ROTP candidates, so I'm not sure how that applies.  But they say they included that reference as a guide, which as a guess would mean that its generally regarded as not suitable (which you probably already knew). 

Basically, this is all a long winded way to say check with the regiment you're interested in.  They're the ones who will be able to answer your questions and let you know if you're ok.  It doesn't help you much to find out that some dude in say, Vancouver got in with an Arts degree, and you're applying for a regiment in Ontario somewhere. 

Good luck though.  You'll never know if you don't go check it out.  If you possess strong skills in the computers/electronics (which I suspect, given your interest in the trade), you could probably present a pretty compelling case. 
Hey folks, so I'm in the process of applying as a reserves sigs officer here at 728. The recruiter was absolutely fantastic btw, why can't everyone be as helpfull as she was? Anyhow, I was wondering about the transferrability of reserve sigs officer to the reg force, I believe that it's changed somewhat now and can't just be done as a CT! Also any sigs officers that would like to give me a rundown of the life, it would be appreciated, thanks.
I knew some great officers from 728 back when I was in 723 and then in 746 but that was a long time ago.

When do you plan on transferring? What courses will you be able to get in that time? What rank do you hope to attain? What education level do you have/are pursuing? That might be the critical factor in any transfer attempt to the reg force.

What do mean by 'a CT?'

If no one else offers any ideas I'll try to help where I can but note that my knowledge is somewhat dated  ;)

Good luck in your pursuits..
Hey Sigpig, thanks for the reply. I am currently doing a Programmer/Analyst course (3yrs) but am switching to Electronics Eng Tech (3yrs) then 1yr BTech at MUN. So as I understand, I will start as an Ocdt and through course progression be commisioned as a 2lt by the end of my fourth year, at which point I plan on transferring into the regular force as an officer. The confusion comes from a couple of statements, by A) the recruit and B) the dreaded hearsay. The recruiter said that my becoming an officer at the reserve level is not an issue doing a 3yr course (either Programmer or Electronice Eng) however, it may be a problem when I try to transfer to the reg force as it may not qualify me as a Sigs Officer. Secondly, I'm sure that I read on here somewhere that reserve officers can no longer just straight transfer into regs anymore as some of the training is not adequate, but I can't find the thread. So any help in those areas would be appreciated. Also CT=Component Transfer!

CT=Component Transfer

I believe there is no bigger problem transferring to regs as there is for an NCO.  You could check with a recruiter to find out exactly what you have to do.  You may even be able to get them to pay for part of your university.
The tuition reimbursment from reg forces you mean? The reserves will give me a tuition voucher for up to $2000 per year, I'm not sure that I will be able to switch to regs and keep my commision before my degree is done. The recruiter at the unit doesn't know how it will work If I try to transfer to the regs. I'm trying to get some answers from the CFRC but I'm on wait for them, guy at the desk didn't know, said he would get back to me.
As I see it (as a Reg F Signals officer), there are a couple of concerns. The first is education; you definitely want to have an undergraduate degree before joining the Reg F (especially SIGS) as an officer. In terms of advancement, you will be much better off.

The second concern is training. Res F officer training is completely different from that of the Reg F, due mainly to time and money constraints. Don't expect to be granted an equivalency for any Res F course you have completed.

Hopefully that helps a bit. Let me know if you have any more questions.
I am considering a transfer to the Comm Reserve and am looking for some explanation on the course requirements for a Sig O.  I am currently with the Army Reserve and am familiar with BOTP and CAP(R).  Would these be the same for the Comm Reserve and if so, what comes next?  There is some mention of RBSOC Block A-G, but I'm not sure what each block might involve?  What would those blocks qualify me for and what might come next as part of a career progression path.

I appreciate any information you might have.


Hi there. I have recently been informed that I will be offered a position in the Army as a Signals Officer. My first choice was CELE but I'm told at the recruitment office that they are the same thing, and I've noted that when I view the online recruitment video for Signals Officer it is actually showing CELE. I need to make a decision about this career choice very soon as Basic Training starts September 12th. I have a lot of questions which I suppose are very basic but the recruitment officer at my branch is away for a couple of weeks on vacation. There seem to be lots of really good reasons to join up, good pay, a job you can count on, great benefits, and I think I would be very proud to be part of the Armed Forces. With that said, (I haven't seen the offer yet but I'm pretty sure) the Army wants a 9 year commitment from me. So here's the thing, I don't really know anything more about being a Signals Officer than what I've read online (sort of vague), my biggest concern is joining up and then finding out that I don't like what I'm doing and can't get out. That's the way it works right? Once you're in you can't get out until you contract is up? (How is that anyway?) It would be really great if I could hear from someone out there who really knows what a Signals Officer does â “ what would I do on an average day, would I be likely to see any action (I have a gut feeling that Signals is more dangerous than CELE), or would I be more likely to be stationed in the middle of nowhere? Would I have any influence over my postings? What would life in the Army be like for me? Am I even asking the right questions??? If anyone out there has anything to say that would be useful in helping me make this MAJOR LIFE DECISION I would really really appreciate your time.

Quick update:

I've just received my official offer and Basic Training won't start for me until January 10th, so I guess I have some more time to think on it â “ thank goodness! My gut feeling is that the Army would be good for me, I just want to make my decision as informed as possible.

Check out this thread


I would suggest you speak to Lt Briggs at LFCA HQ, as he's the only Reserve Signals officer I know. He completed his training relatively recently, so should have up-to-date info.
Hello, I have been offered a position in the Army as a Signals Officer. Like many others I am trying to put together a picture of how my career would likely evolve should I accept. I have spent hours reading through army.ca and I have found a post by JcPrime that asks many of the same questions I wonder about. Unfortunately JcPrime's questions did not receive very good answers since many of the responses were from people not even in the forces yet (it eventually got off subject and just turned into a big argument). I'm hoping that by starting this post I can get some solid answers from those of you who have been around enough to know.

(JcPrime's post: http://forums.army.ca/forums/threads/17818.0.html)

I am lucky in that I've had the opportunity to actually speak with an ex Signals Officer, so I have about as good an idea of what the occupation incurs as I can really expect at this point. What I'm interested in finding out now is how I might expect my career to evolve over the years once I become a full fledged Signals Officer and whether or not eventually becoming a Major or Lieutenant Colonial is a reasonable thought.

Now, I must admit that I am a bit apprehensive to ask about this subject as it does seem to lead to anger. For instance, I have seen the term "careerist" used to describe those who are more concerned with getting promotions then with doing a job properly. I'm not in the forces so I don't know what it's like to be an officer, however I certainly do not believe that I would ignore or walk over others just to somehow make myself look good for a promotion! When I ask what it will take to make it to a higher rank I am asking; what courses should I be aware of? What level of second language proficiency should I have? How important is it to go on tours? Is there any sort of normal time line involved? Is there any big benefit to those who have a Master's degree? Am I asking the right questions?

Let me close by saying that I don't have any ideas about racing to the top ASAP or any of that, I would rather work on being a good officer than explicitly ladder climb. If I decide to accept this offer (and I'm sure I will actually) then it's because I like the trade and I'd be damn proud to serve. I'd really just like to get an idea of what opportunities I can expect because I'm excited and just plain curious. I'm guessing that over a life long career anyone would look for change as the years go by. I hope that makes sense to everyone. I appreciate any useful input, please no nasty comments though.


Dave  :cdn:
Dave, I don't have any answers for you, but I do appreciate your questions! I'm also considering becoming a Signals Officer. I have a Master's degree in Computer Science, and would be very interested in hearing, from those with experience, how such a career might unfold.

  You've spoken to your recruiter, you've spoken to an ex Sig Op, and you've been lurking (I assume) on this website enough to have gleaned whatever useful information you can. The CF is in need of signals people, as you can see by going to the DND website... I'm sure you will be well fed judging by many of the officers I see downtown, coming or going from NDHQ.

  Perhaps I'm overstepping my bounds and assuming too much, but I think it would be safe to assume that an under-strength trade is not going to be under-strength forever... you will be senior to whoever joins after you, and provided you do your job well, you should be able to advance at a pace that is reasonable. The 'Boomers are all going to be retiring over the next couple decades and with that will be an opportunity to move into the positions they vacate, which I imagine will be fairly high-level, senior positions.... they've started to retire already, soon it will turn into an exodus.

From where I stand, your future looks bright......

  That being said, I don't know Jack$#!+ about Signals Officers....