What to Expect
As an Electrician’s Mate (EM), the responsibility for preventing power failures rests on your shoulders. EM Sailors are tasked with operating, maintaining and repairing the electrical systems and equipment aboard Navy ships. As an EM, your role may include the following responsibilities:
- Installing and maintaining power distribution circuitry, lighting circuitry and storage batteries
- Connecting and running wiring for lights and other electric equipment
- Maintaining and repairing power distribution systems, electric motors and appliances, shipboard elevator systems and electronic consoles
- Interpreting electrical sketches, diagrams and blueprints
Electrician’s Mates usually work indoors in varied working environments such as electrical shops. EMs are stationed in the U.S. and overseas, and you will work primarily aboard Navy ships at sea, though you will receive assignments at shore stations as well. In this job, you can expect work of a physical and technical nature.
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:
Basic Engineering Common Core “A” School (10 weeks) in Great Lakes, IL, for training on basic mechanical theory and technical documentation.
Engineering Electrical Core (4 weeks) in Great Lakes, IL, for specialized training on electrical math, basic schematics, circuitry and more.
EM Strand Technical School (4 weeks) in Great Lakes, IL, for specialized training on technical skills and knowledge of electricity and electronics.
After you complete your training, you may receive an assignment aboard a Navy ship or a shore-based assignment such as a Navy shipyard or repair base.
Promotion opportunities are regularly available but competitive and based on performance.
Advanced training as an Electrician’s Mate may also be available during later stages of your career. 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 world, such electrical and electronics engineering, and more.
Beyond offering access to professional credentials and certifications, Navy technical and operational training as an Electrician’s Mate 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 an Electrician’s Mate. You must also be a U.S. citizen eligible for security clearance.
EM applicants should possess an interest in electrical systems and equipment, the ability to perform detailed work, and be skilled in the use of tools, equipment and machines. Candidates should be resourceful, be willing to learn and be comfortable with problem-solving.
Manual dexterity and normal color perception are required.
Serving part-time as a Navy Reserve Sailor, your duties will be carried out during your scheduled drilling and training periods. During monthly drilling, Electrician's Mates 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.
Electrician’s Mates 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 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.