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Retail Services Specialist

U.S. Navy Retail Services Specialist Seaman Brian Whitfield, from Atlanta, mans the register in the ship’s store aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Pinckney.

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Retail Services Specialists are responsible for managing and operating all shipboard retail and service activities, and play a large role in the morale of the ship.

  • Managing and operating ship’s barber shops
  • Managing and operating ship's laundry and tailor shops
  • Managing and operating ship’s retail services such as ship stores, coffee shops and video games
  • Procuring and receiving ship's store stock
  • Maintaining financial records and accounting systems
  • Maintaining inventory and procurement databases
  • Serving as cash collections agents
  • Operating and maintaining vending and cash collection machines

Work Environment

Retail Services Specialists work in diverse environments at shore stations and aboard ships, including in offices, ship’s stores, barber shops and laundry facilities.

Training & Advancement

Upon completion of initial training at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes (known as Boot Camp), you’ll report for specialized training including:

Class “A” Technical School (5 weeks) in Meridian, MS, for training on cash handling, retail operations and laundry operations.

After you complete your training, you’ll be assigned to a shore station or ship in the United States or overseas.

Promotion opportunities are regularly available but competitive and based on performance.

Advanced Training

Advanced training opportunities, such as shipboard barber “C” school, is available during later stages of career development.

Post-Service Opportunities

Specialized training received and work experience gained in the course of service can lead to valuable credentialing and occupational opportunities in related fields in the civilian world, including bookkeeping, retail, salon/grooming and more.

Education Opportunities

Beyond offering access to professional credentials and certifications, Navy technical and operational training in the field of retail service can translate to credit hours toward a bachelor’s or associate degree through the American Council on Education.

You may also continue your education through undergraduate degree opportunities like the Navy College Program and Tuition Assistance and the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

Qualifications & Requirements

A high-school diploma or equivalent is required to become an Enlisted Sailor and a Retail Services Specialist. U.S. citizenship is also a requirement for this rate.

Candidates for this rate should possess good arithmetic and verbal skills, and the ability to handle money and perform detailed work. You should also be personable and enjoy working with people in a customer service environment.

General qualifications may vary depending upon whether you’re currently serving, whether you’ve served before or whether you’ve never served before.

Part-Time Opportunities

Serving part-time as a Navy Reserve Sailor, your duties will be carried out during your scheduled drilling and training periods. During monthly drilling, Retail Services Specialists in the Navy Reserve typically work at a location close to their homes.

For annual training, you may serve anywhere in the world, including locations in the U.S., at bases overseas, or in areas where humanitarian needs are great.

Take a moment to learn more about the general roles and responsibilities of Navy Reserve Sailors.

Most of what you do in the Navy Reserve is considered training. The basic Navy Reserve commitment involves training a minimum of one weekend a month (referred to as drilling) and two weeks a year (referred to as Annual Training) – or the equivalent of that.

Retail Services Specialists in the Navy Reserve serve in an Enlisted role. Before receiving the ongoing professional training that comes with the job, initial training requirements must be met.

For current or former military Enlisted servicemembers, prior experience satisfies the initial Recruit Training requirement, so you will not need to go through Boot Camp again.

For those without prior military experience, you will need to meet the initial Recruit Training requirement by attending Boot Camp in Great Lakes, IL. This training course will prepare you for service in the Navy Reserve and count as your first Annual Training.