What to Expect
Cryptologic Technicians Interpretive (CTIs), serve as the Navy’s experts in linguistics (including Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Persian-Farsi, Russian and Spanish) and deciphering information in other languages. Their responsibilities include:
- Collecting and analyzing foreign language communications of interest
- Transcribing, translating and interpreting foreign language materials
- Reporting highly technical information of strategic and tactical importance to fleet commanders and national intelligence agencies
- Providing cultural and regional guidance in support of Navy, Joint Force, national and multinational needs
- Operating sophisticated state-of-the-art electronic radio receivers, recording devices, computer terminals and associated peripherals in the communications signals environment
Cryptologic Technicians perform a variety of duties worldwide, at numerous overseas and stateside shore commands, aboard surface ships, aircraft and submarines and with Naval Special Warfare. They generally divide time between assignments ashore and afloat.
Cryptologic Technicians Interpretive can expect a clean, comfortable office-type or small technical laboratory-type environment while on shore duty and a variety of air, surface and subsurface platforms while on sea duty. Their work is of high interest to command and decision-making levels. It is mostly mental, involving foreign language materials.
As a CTI, you may work independently or as part of small, coordinated teams – ultimately under the supervision of Cryptologic Warfare Officers (four-year degree required) or Cyber Warfare Engineers (four-year degree required).
Training & Advancement
Upon completion of the initial 7-9 week training at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes (known as Boot Camp), you’ll report for specialized training, including:
Class “A” School Phase I Defense Language Institute (27-64 weeks) in Monterey, CA, for comprehensive foreign language instruction.
After "A" school, CTIs are usually assigned to their respective Center of Excellence shore station. While assigned to these shore stations, CTIs are often required to perform temporary assignments aboard aircraft, surface ships and craft and submarines in support of unit commanders.
To learn more about the specific training path for Cryptologic Technicians Interpretive, locate a recruiter.
Promotion opportunities are regularly available but competitive and based on performance.
Advanced training as a Cryptologic Technician Interpretive may also be available during later stages of your career. CTIs will have the opportunity to attend annual training for language maintenance and to take intermediate and advanced foreign language training. For those with further leadership aspirations and a college degree, Officer roles may be available, providing opportunities to lead and train others.
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 sector.
Beyond offering access to professional credentials and certifications, Navy technical and operational training in the field of intelligence 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 in the Navy. Those seeking a Cryptologic Technician Interpretive position, including all family members, must be U.S. citizens. Applicants must also meet eligibility requirements for a Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information security clearance. Normal hearing is also required.
They should have exceptionally good character, the ability to learn foreign languages, above average writing and speaking skills, a good memory, curiosity, resourcefulness, an orientation toward ideas and information and the ability to keep accurate records and work with details. Adaptability to a wide range of work activities and environments and an interest in technology and willingness to acquire computerized skills are also important.
Applicants for this rating should be aware that the duties of a Cryptologic Technician Interpretive sometimes require assignment aboard surface vessels, submarines and aircraft. If otherwise physically qualified for submarine or aerial flight duty, applicants must affirm their willingness to serve aboard any such unit if assigned upon completion of language training.
There are part-time opportunities available as a Cryptologic Technician Interpretive.
Serving part-time as a Navy Reserve Sailor, your duties will be carried out during your scheduled drilling and training periods. During monthly drilling, Cryptologic Technicians Interpretive in the Navy Reserve typically work at a location close to their homes.
For annual training, Cryptologic Technicians Interpretive may serve anywhere in the world, whether on a ship at sea or at bases and installations on shore.
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.
Cryptologic Technicians Interpretive 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 service members: 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 for 7-9 weeks in Great Lakes, IL. This training course will prepare you for service in the Navy Reserve and count as your first Annual Training.