What to Expect
As a Steelworker, you’ll work with a team to erect the steel structures that meet the needs of the Navy. Steelworkers manage construction operations, deploy materials and equipment, direct worker crews, and perform various welding and cutting operations. As a Steelworker, your job could include:
- Erecting steel bridges, tanks, buildings, towers and pre-engineered structures
- Fabricating, installing and welding structural steel shapes, plates and the built-up sections used in heavy construction
- Laying out, fabricating and installing sheet metal assemblies and systems
- Performing welding and metal cutting operations
- Installing and reinforcing steel in concrete structures
- Reading and interpreting blueprints and preparing sketches for projects
- Making estimates of materials, labor, and equipment requirements
- Performing tasks required in combat and disaster preparedness or recovery operation
As a Steelworker, you’ll construct and repair a variety of structures in just about every environment imaginable. You may work at Navy bases or ports of call around the globe, and you may be deployed to help develop or rebuild areas affected by natural disasters. Seabees primarily serve at shore-based commands—you will likely not spend time at sea.
Training & Advancement
Upon completion of the initial 7-9 week training at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes (known as Boot Camp), those pursuing a Steelworker role report to Class “A” Technical School in Gulfport, MS for 11 weeks. Here, you will develop a working knowledge of basic construction skills and theories required for work as a Steelworker.
After you’ve completed your schooling, you’ll be assigned to a Naval Mobile (NMCB) or Amphibious Construction Battalion (ACB), and may rotate between homeport and overseas locations, where additional training may be provided.
Promotion opportunities are regularly available but competitive and based on performance. Advanced technical and operational training in the construction field may also be available during later stages of your career.
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.
Beyond offering access to professional credentials and certifications, Navy technical and operational training in the field of construction 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 Navy Steelworker. Those seeking a position with the Seabees must be U.S. citizens.
Steelworkers should be able to use tools, equipment and machines and have good use of their hands. Other important qualifications include good algebra, writing and speaking skills and the ability to do detailed work while keeping records.
Working well with a team is essential. Other important personal traits for Steelworkers include resourcefulness and good physical condition and stamina. Normal hearing is 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, Steelworkers 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.
Seabees 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 seven to nine weeks in Great Lakes, IL. This training course will prepare you for service in the Navy Reserve and count as your first Annual Training.