electricians mate at work

Electrician’s Mate (EM): 2023 Career Details

In today’s Navy, an Electrician’s Mate (EM) ensures that all electrical equipment and electrical systems aboard ship are properly maintained and operating efficiently. 

The EM repairs, tests, and installs advanced electrical appliances and equipment both in port and underway.

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)

Don’t confuse the Electrician’s Mates (EM) rating with the Nuclear Electrician’s Mates (EMN). These are a highly qualified and select group of EMs who attend the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command.

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Requirements and Qualifications

To serve as an EM in the United States Navy, you must meet these requirements:

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Training and Career Path

Like all other sailors, Electrician’s Mates must successfully complete 10 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 Electrician’s 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 Electrician’s 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 Electrician’s Mates are assigned to specialized training prior to deployment to the fleet after the initial training.

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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 Electrician’s Mates (EM)?

The Navy charges its Electrician’s 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 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:

  • Repairing distribution circuits
  • Installing lighting and power circuits
  • Running wires for lights and other equipment
  • Repairing appliances and electrical equipment
  • Installing and maintaining storage batteries
  • Ensuring the operating efficiency of electric motors.
  • Connecting electric power equipment and machinery
  • Repairing and maintaining shipboard elevator systems
  • Maintaining the efficiency of voltage transformers, voltage regulators, current transformers, distribution panels, switchboards, switches, and controllers
  • Inspecting, testing, and repairing electric power equipment
  • Repairing and maintaining propulsion and auxiliary control consoles

EMs mostly work indoors both at sea and ashore in various conditions.

EMs do much of their work will be done in a shop-like environment, both physical and technical in nature. They also 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:

TourSea TourShore Tour
First Tour53 Months36 Months
Second Tour60 Months36 Months
Third Tour48 Months 36 Months
Fourth Tour48 Months36 Months
Fifth Tour36 Months36 Months
Sixth Tour36 Months36 Months
Seventh Tour36 Months36 Months

Note that some overseas assignments also count as sea tours.

Electrician’s 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 Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), Basic 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:

  • Electricians
  • Electrical Engineering Technicians
  • Electrical and Electronic Equipment Assemblers
  • 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)

The Navy encourages EMs 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:

  • Computer Operator
  • Electric-Motor Repairer
  • Electrician
  • Electrician, Maintenance
  • Hydroelectric-Machinery Mechanic (Utilities)
  • Power-Plant Operator

Navy Electrician’s Mates can acquire over 20 national certifications, as well as over 10 state occupational licenses.


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

U.S. Navy COOL Summary For Electricians Mate (EM)

U.S.Navy COOL Electricians Mate (EM) Rating Card

Navy Electricians Mate (EM) Reviews

Travis R.
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