navy nuke meme

5 Absolutely Worst Jobs In The Navy

Joining the US Navy can be a fun, fulfilling, and rewarding career choice.

At the same time, it can also be a miserable experience if you end up with the wrong job.

While most future enlistees dream of becoming a Navy SEAL or Naval Aviator, the simple truth is this…

The Navy is absolutely enormous.

For every SEAL or Pilot wannabe, there are about 70 other jobs that are required to keep everything running smoothly.

Many of them can be fun, but there’s a quite a few that might make you think a bit differently about your career choice.

5 Worst Jobs In The US Navy

5. Nuke (EM, MM, and ET)

navy nuke meme

Some of you who are already in the Navy might be shaking your heads a bit, but this article is mainly for civilians.

While this can be one of the best paying jobs in the Navy, it can also be one of the most challenging.

Being a “Nuke” on a submarine or ship is not only dangerous, but you can expect to spend the next 4 years of your career at sea in the bowels of the ship.

There’s no specific rating for ‘Nuke’, but the following ratings are considered ‘Nuke’:

It’s not uncommon to work 14 hour days, and you likely won’t get a shore duty assignment for several years.

There’s also a good chance you won’t see the sun for a good 3 months at a clip.

Related Article: Which Branch Of The Military Should I Join?

It can also prove to be very difficult to have a family and home life, so if you’e a single guy or gal this might be the job for you.

While it may be considered one of the worst jobs in the Navy by many, there’s one thing that may make it all worth it: the pay.

The average salary for a Navy nuclear engineer is $91,883, which pays better than most civilian jobs.

If you don’t mind being stuck in a dark hole for the next few years of your life, then Navy Nuke could be the way to go.

4.  Damage Controlman (DC)

navy damage controlman - worst jobs in the navy

While they say that damage control is everyone’s responsibility, the true heroes are the Damage Controlmen (DC).

They are the ones responsible for putting out fires, perform intermediate-level maintenance, and  perform emergency repairs to decks.

While the job can be interesting and even fun at times, there’s no doubt about it…

Sometimes it just sucks being a DC…

They are constantly running drills, constantly having to train other people, and if you’re stuck on a small ship, you always seem to be in search of a tool to help you with a problem.

The upside is that it can line you up for a job in firefighting in the civilian world, if you so choose.

At times it can be a fun job, but the vast majority of the time it’s just the worst.

Related Article: A List of ALL 512 Military Jobs in the US Military

3. Seaman (Undesignated)

When a sailor does not qualify for a Navy rating right away, they are considered undesignated and titled simply as a Navy Seaman.

navy seaman at work

After recruit training, enlistees take a three-week course on the basic theories of shipboard operations and evolutions.

Duties of an Undesignated Seaman include standing watches while in port or at sea, repairing, maintaining and stowing equipment when preparing to go underway and working in non-engineering positions aboard ships.

They participate in Navy ceremonies and take part in replenishment of supplies from ship to ship while at sea.

Seamen may attend Navy schools to learn about general damage control, firefighting on ships, preventative maintenance of equipment and the use of tools used in their prospective rating.

Most of the time men and women end up as undesignated is due to the overmanning of their sought-after rate.

Related Article: Pros And Cons Of Joining The Navy

2. Boatswain’s Mate (BM)

A Boatswain’s Mate is an enlisted sailor who trains, directs, and supervises personnel in ship’s maintenance duties relating to marlinespikes, decks, boat seamanship, painting, upkeep of the external ship structure, rigging, deck equipment, and life boats.

navy boatswain mate at work

They take charge of the working parties.

They operate and maintain equipment that are used in the loading and unloading of cargo, ammunition, fuel and general stores.

Boatswain’s Mates stand watch constantly at sea and in port as Boatswain’s Mate of the Watch (BMOW).

BMs have numerous responsibilities and duties that keep functions aboard ships continuously operational for the Fleet.

1. Hull Technician (HT)

Have you heard of the saying, “It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it”?

Well, hull maintenance technicians are that someone.

navy hull technicians at work

Hull Technician’s keep the Navy’s ships in top condition and the metal worker duties pertain to all shipboard structures.

Metal working duty involve the use of many different metals, including aluminum, stainless steel, copper, and brass.

They work indoors and outdoors in all kinds of weather.

In addition to maintenance of shipboard structures, HTs are responsible for the plumbing onboard.

The ship’s marine sanitation system is another duty of an HT.

The duties are numerous and consists of physically demanding work, but this enlisted rating is one of the more important enlisted shipboard jobs.

Related ArticleNavy Engineman (EN): Career Details


Don’t let this list scare you off from joining the Navy.

There are plenty of jobs that need to be filled, many of which can be both fun and financially rewarding after your service is up.

Related Article: 10 Best Jobs In The Navy For Civilian Life

In any event, once you’ve spent enough time in the Navy, you’ll almost certainly be able to change jobs at some point.

Of course, that assumes that you do a good job and work hard.

Jacqueline P.
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Find out what the worst jobs you can have in the US Navy, including Hull Tech, Boatswains Mate, Damage Controlman, and more.
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One Reply to “5 Absolutely Worst Jobs In The Navy

  1. As a former “nuke”, I got through enlisted Nuclear Power School (let’s not talk about the 10-12 hours days there) but then went to prototype where we were doing 12 hour rotating shifts (7 days 8AM to 8PM, etc.). After 3 months, I decided being stuck in a sub working 14 hours a day was not worth it so I “left” the program and thanked my decision every day for the next 7 years of my active time in the Navy. Yeah, being a “nuke” is a terrible job.

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