No matter which entry plan you choose, officer or NCM, there are three mandatory courses that you must take in order to be considered a fully qualified soldier. These courses are run during the year and in the summer time:
NCM - Basic Military Qualification
Depending on your time of enrolment, you will complete this courses either on weekends or during summer training. Basic Military Qualification Courses are available during the year starting in October or in January and in the summer starting at the end of June (after the high school exam period). For both courses, the training time is approximately 20 training days. This course introduces you to the military way of life. Subjects that are taught include Drill, First Aid, Dress and Deportment, Military Law, Navigation, C7 Service Rifle and surviving in a field environment.
Officer - Basic Officer Training
Upon selection into the Artillery occupation, you will be enrolled in the Canadian Forces and then complete the Basic Officer Training Program (BOTP). You will be introduced to life in the Canadian Forces and learn military regulations, customs of the service, leadership techniques, weapons handling and first aid. You will also participate in physical training and sports programs. Successful completion is a prerequisite for further training. BOTP courses run during the winter months, approximately every second weekend and full-time during the summer.
Becoming a Soldier
NCM - Soldier Qualification
This course is a common army course required by all soldiers who wear the Army uniform. It is offered during the summer training cycle and requires approximately 20 training days.
It is also offered during the winter months, every second weekend, commencing in approximately January.
The soldier is exposed to new skills and will learn about Offensive and Defensive Operations, Section and Platoon Battle Drills; Minefield and Booby Trap Recognition and Platoon Support Weapons such as the C9 and C6 machine guns. The course start date for this course is in line with the end of the High School exam period. The CF Reserve recognizes that a large number of new recruits are High School students and have accounted for this when planning full-time summer training.
Officer - Common Army Phase
This course is designed as initial exposure to Army training for all Army officers, regardless of military occupation, held at the Infantry School, Combat Training Centre, Gagetown, New Brunswick. The aim of this training is to provide junior officers with the basic skills required to survive and fight in the battlefield environment. This will introduce the candidates to offensive and patrolling operations and participate in section defensive operations. They will learn field craft, navigation, mine awareness and aircraft/vehicle recognition skills. They will operate Army weapons, (rifle, machine gun and grenade), and communication systems. Candidates will also learn how to plan platoon operations and to conduct conventional small arms firing ranges. The physical fitness program will be demanding but gradual and will culminate with a 13 kilometers march at the end of the course.
Becoming a Gunner
NCM - Artillery Military Occupation Training
This course is only offered during the summer training cycle and is approximately 20 training days in length. This course will qualify a soldier as an Artillery soldier. Topics covered include Recognition, Sorting and Handling of Artillery Ammunition; Gun Position Duties; Gun Drill for the 105mm C3 Howitzer; Artillery Maintenance; Camouflage of Guns and Vehicles; and Communications including use of Radios and Field Telephones. At the end of this course, the soldier formally graduates and is welcomed into the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery as a Gunner.
Officer - Artillery Officer Training
This phase will introduce you to the junior officer duties you will encounter in your regiment. You will concentrate on the position of the Command Post Officer, who passes data to the guns and controls their fire according to a distinct language known as "fire discipline". Training will proceed from learning the basics in the classroom to controlling the firing of guns in the field. The final phase of training you will "flesh out" your skills in fire discipline. You will also learn artillery tactics associated with deploying or moving batteries in combat. You will become familiar with reconnaissance duties to prepare areas for occupation by the guns, and will learn emergency drills for quick deployment when on the move. At the conclusion of this course, you will be formally graduated as an officer of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery.