electricians mate at work

Electricians Mate (EM): Career Details

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.

navy em at work
EMFN Thomas and EM3 Martinez check the voltage in a circuit panel aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73). (Source: U.S. Navy / PH3  Kretschmer)

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.

Related ArticleNavy Jobs List: A List Of All 71 Ratings In The Navy

Jump To A Section

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

Related Article: Navy Height And Weight Standards

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).

 Related ArticleIs Navy Boot Camp Hard?

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 A 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.

Related ArticleNavy Electronics Technician (AT): Career Details

EM3 Luke uses an oscilloscope to ensure that a ventilation electric motor is balanced aboard the USS George Washington (CVN 73). (Source: U.S. Navy / MCSN Bayas)

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.

Related ArticleAir Force Electrical Systems (3E0X1): Career Details

Navy Electrician’s Mates Sea/Shore Rotation

The Sea/Shore Rotation for an Electricians Mate (EM) is:

TourSea TourShore Tour
First Tour52 Months (4.5 Years)36 Months (3 Years)
Second Tour60 Months (5 Years)36 Months (3 Years)
Third Tour48 Months (4 Years)36 Months (3 Years)
Fourth Tour48 Months (4 Years)36 Months (3 Years)
Fifth Tour36 Months (3 Years)36 Months (3 Years)
Sixth Tour36 Months (3 Years)36 Months (3 Years)
Seventh Tour36 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.

EM1 Garcia monitors the electronic propulsion plant console from the central control station aboard the countermeasures ship USS Ardent (MCM 12). (Source: U.S. Navy / MC2 Hunsaker)

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.

InsigniaPay Grade RankAbbreviation2023 Minimum Monthly Pay
N/AE-1 +4 monthsSeaman RecruitSR$1,917.60
E-2Seaman ApprenticeSA$2,149.20
e-3 navy seamanE-3SeamanSN$2,259.90
petty officer third classE-4Petty Officer Third ClassPO3$2,503.50
petty officer second classE-5Petty Officer Second ClassPO2$2,730.30
petty officer first classE-6Petty Officer First ClassPO1$2,980.50
chief petty officerE-7Chief Petty OfficerCPO$3,445.80
senior chief petty officerE-8Senior Chief Petty OfficerSCPO$4,957.20
master chief petty officerE-9Master Chief Petty OfficerMCPO$6,055.50
command master chief petty officerE-9Command Master Chief Petty OfficerCMDCM$6,055.50
master chief petty officer of the navyE-9Master Chief Petty Officer Of The NavyMCPON$6,055.50

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.

Related Article: Marine Corps Electrical Engineer (MOS 1142): Career Details

Job Reviews

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
  • Electricians
  • 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
EM3 Santos stands watch at the electric power control panel of the forward main machinery control room aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2).  (Source: U.S. Navy / MC3 Smith)

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.

Related ArticleDishonorable Discharge: Reasons, Consequences, And More

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.


Find A Navy Recruiter

Official Navy Mechanical and Industrial Technology Careers Description

Navy Personnel Command Electricians Mate (EM) Overview

Navy COOL Summary For Electricians Mate (EM)

Navy COOL Electricians Mate (EM) Rating Card

Navy Electricians Mate (EM) Reviews

Travis R.
Affiliate Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you click and purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products I have personally vetted. Learn more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *