In today’s Navy, it’s the Electricians Mate (EM) that ensures all electrical equipment and electrical systems aboard ship are properly maintained and operating efficiently.
It’s the EM who repairs, tests, and installs advanced electrical appliances and equipment both in port and underway.
It was in 1883 that the rating was first established only to be disestablished the following year, 1884.
The Navy re-established the Navy Electrician rating in 1898 and changed the name to the current Electricians Mate in 1921.
Electricians Mates (EM) should not be confused with Nuclear Electricians Mates (EMN), a pre-qualified and selected group of EMs who attend the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command.
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Training And Career Path
What’s Life Like for an Electricians Mate (EM)?
Pay And Benefits
Civilian Job Opportunities
Requirements and Qualifications
To serve as an EM in the United States Navy, you must meet these requirements:
- US citizenship is not required.
- Must be between the ages of 18 and 39.
- Must have normal color perception.
- High school diploma or equivalent.
- Department of Defense (DoD) security clearance eligibility is not required.
- Must have an Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) score of VE (Verbal Expression) + AR (Arithmetic Reasoning) + MK (Mechanical Knowledge) + MC (Mechanical Comprehension) = 210 or AR (Arithmetic Reasoning) + MK (Mechanical Knowlege) + EI (Electronics Information) + GS (General Science) = 210
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Training and Career Path
Like all other sailors, Electricians Mates must successfully complete eight weeks of Navy Recruit Training, at the Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes (RTC Great Lakes).
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Basic Engineering Common Core
Future Electricians Mates first attend ten weeks of Basic Engineering Common Core training in Great Lakes, IL, where they are introduced to basic mechanical theory and technical documentation.
Engineering Electrical Core
It is then on to Engineering Electrical Core training for the EM. For four weeks, still, at Great Lakes, Illinois, they will learn CPR, logic systems, solid-state characteristics, AC/DC circuits, electrical math, and basic schematics.
EM Strand Technical School
Training for the Electricians Mate headed for the fleet ends at Great Lakes with EM Strand Technical School which consists of four weeks of learning the basic technical knowledge and skills of electronics and electricity required for their rating.
All three of the EMs initial training courses are comprised of classroom, group instruction, and shop.
Some select Electricians Mates are assigned to specialized training prior to deployment to the fleet after the initial training.
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What’s Life Like for Navy Electricians Mates (EM)?
The Navy charges its Electricians Mate with the operation of the ship’s electrical appliances, lighting systems, electrical power generation systems, and electrical equipment.
Their duties consist of the routine maintenance, installation, adjustment, testing, operation, and repair of electrical equipment.
They’re are also expected to perform repair and maintenance of related electrical equipment.
On a day-to-day basis, the Electricians Mate have a variety of duties, including:
- Distribution circuit repair.
- Lighting and power circuit installation.
- Wire-running for lights and other equipment.
- Appliance and electrical equipment repair.
- Storage battery maintenance and installation.
- Ensuring the operating efficiency of electric motors.
- Connecting electric power equipment and electric power machinery.
- Repairing and maintaining shipboard elevator systems.
- Maintain operating efficiency of voltage transformers, voltage regulators, current transformers, distribution panels, switchboards, switches, and controllers.
- Repair, inspect, test and maintain electric power equipment.
- Interpret electrical blueprints, sketches, and diagrams.
- Repair and maintain a multitude of propulsion and auxiliary control consoles.
EMs mostly work indoors both at sea and ashore in various conditions. There is likely to be loud noises in the course of a workday.
Much work will be done in a shop-like environment, both physical and technical in nature, and EMs often work closely with other ratings.
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Navy Electrician’s Mates Sea/Shore Rotation
The Sea/Shore Rotation for an Electricians Mate (EM) is:
|Tour||Sea Tour||Shore Tour|
|First Tour||52 Months (4.5 Years)||36 Months (3 Years)|
|Second Tour||60 Months (5 Years)||36 Months (3 Years)|
|Third Tour||48 Months (4 Years)||36 Months (3 Years)|
|Fourth Tour||48 Months (4 Years)||36 Months (3 Years)|
|Fifth Tour||36 Months (3 Years)||36 Months (3 Years)|
|Sixth Tour||36 Months (3 Years)||36 Months (3 Years)|
|Seventh Tour||36 Months (3 Years)||36 Months (3 Years)|
Note that some overseas assignments count as sea tours.
Electricians Mates spend about 65 percent of their time assigned to fleet units and 35 percent to shore stations.
The Navy defines EM as a “sea intensive and technical rating.”
The Navy COOL website reports that placement opportunities are excellent for the approximately 4,300 EMs serving in today’s Navy.
Advancement opportunities for E7 and below are “at or above average” according to the Navy.
How Much Are Navy Electricians Mates (EM) Paid?
Like the other Armed Services, the Navy bases a sailor’s pay on their rank and length of service.
|Insignia||Pay Grade||Rank||Abbreviation||2020 Minimum Monthly Pay|
|E-4||Petty Officer Third Class||PO3||$2,263|
|E-5||Petty Officer Second Class||PO2||$2,468|
|E-6||Petty Officer First Class||PO1||$2,694|
|E-7||Chief Petty Officer||CPO||$3,114|
|E-8||Senior Chief Petty Officer||SCPO||$4,480|
|E-9||Master Chief Petty Officer||MCPO||$5,473|
|E-9||Command Master Chief Petty Officer||CMDCM||$5,473|
|E-9||Master Chief Petty Officer Of The Navy||MCPON||$5,473|
All sailors may be entitled to other forms of compensation including base allowance for housing (BAH), base allowance for subsistence (BAS), and billet pay (sea pay, submarine pay, hazardous duty pay, etc.) if eligible.
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Reviews from current and former Electricians Mates on indeed.com are overwhelmingly positive:
Civilian Career Opportunities
Civilian career opportunities for former Electricians Mates are plentiful and include such jobs as:
- Control and Valve Installers and Repairers
- Electric Motor, Power Tool and Related Repairers
- Electrical Engineering Technicians
- Electrical and Electronic Equipment Assemblers
- Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Workers
- Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Supervisors
- Power Plant Operators
- Electrical and Electronics Installers and Repairers
- Maintenance and Repair Workers
- Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers
- Home Appliance Repairers
- Industrial Machinery Mechanics
EMs are encouraged to take full advantage of on-the-job training (OJT) opportunities, and educational opportunities offered and afforded to them during their naval service.
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The United States Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP) also allows EMs to complete their civilian apprenticeship requirements while on active duty.
A few of these include:
- Calibration Laboratory Technician
- Electric-Motor Repairer (Any Industry)
- Electrical Equipment Repairperson (Magneto Repairer)
- Electrician (Construction)
- Electrician (Ship & Boat)
- Electrician, Maintenance (Any Industry)
- Hydroelectric-Machinery Mechanic (Utilities)
Over twenty national certifications, as well as over ten state licensure programs, are available for departing Electricians Mates.
If you are considering the US Navy, are competent with tools, equipment, and machines, can do detailed work, possess a logical mind, are manually dexterous, resourceful, and willing to learn about electrical systems, electricity, and test equipment, a career as an Electricians Mate presents an excellent option for you.