navy interior communications electrician - ic rate

Interior Communications Electrician (IC): Career Details

The United States Navy charges its Interior Communications Electricians (IC) the responsibility of installation, maintenance, and repair of all equipment required for interior communications aboard ships and at shore facilities.

Interior communications are extremely vital to the inner workings of shipboard activity. 

If those communications systems go down, all sorts of problems can arise.

ICs work everywhere onboard ship, from the bottom of the ship, all the way up the mast, all the way forward, and all the way aft.

The Navy established the IC rate in 1948, a derivative of the Electrician’s Mate rating.

ICs are often referred to as “IC-men” by their shipmates.

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Requirements and Qualifications

To serve as Interior Communications Electrician (IC) in the United States Navy, you must meet certain requirements:

Training and Career Path

ICs, like all other Navy enlisted personnel, must successfully complete eight weeks of  Navy Recruit Training, at the Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes (RTC Great Lakes).

After RTC, ICs head across the base to attend Advanced Technical Training (ATT). 

For nine weeks, the sailors learn basic mechanical theory, basic technical documentation, and knowledge and skills of electricity and electronics through group instruction, besides classroom and shop training.

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IC3 John Cummings, left, trains IC3 Joshua Aziz, from Los Angeles, to operate the visual landing aid control station aboard the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). (Source: U.S. Navy / MC3 Chepusov)

Upon successful completion of ATT, it’s twelve more weeks of training at Naval Training Center (NTC) Great Lakes at Interior Communications Electronics (IC) Class A School

At A school, the ICs study subjects such as electrical math, basic schematics, AC/DC circuits, solid-state characteristics and logic systems required for the IC rating. 

They are also taught CPR.  The training methods at IC “A” school is both group instruction and practical applications.

What’s Life Like for an Interior Communications Electrician (IC)?

It is the Interior Communications Electrician who coordinates and directs the maintenance, installation and repair of interior communications systems at shore facilities and aboard ship.

These systems include indicating and navigation systems visual landing aids for aircraft, communication systems, warning, alarm, and safety systems.

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The day-to-day duties and activities of an IC include:

  • Maintenance and repair of shipboard navigation equipment.
  • Installation of telephone and other communications circuits, boxes, switchboards and bell buzzer systems.
  • Wet cell batteries recharging.
  • Installation and inspection of dry cell and storage batteries.
  • Interior communications and gyrocompass equipment testing.
  • Maintenance of warhead/weapons storage alarm systems.
  • Maintenance of the ship’s DMS/FODMS/GEDMS data distribution system.

ICs work in a variety of environments both at sea and ashore. 

ICs normally work indoors, sometimes in a clean environment, and sometimes in dirty environments of a shop-type nature.

IC3 Britney M. Subbs monitors the integrated launch and recovery television surveillance system aboard the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). (Source: U.S. Navy / MC2 Richardson)

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Navy Interior Communications Electrician (IC) Sea/Shore Rotation

The Interior Communications Electrician (IC) rating is one of the most sea-intensive ratings in the Navy. 

An IC will spend about 65 percent of his time at sea and 35 percent ashore over the course of a 20-year career.

TourSea TourShore Tour
First Tour60 Months (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)

How Much Are Interior Communications Electrician (IC) Paid?

Like all the other Armed Services, the Navy bases a sailor’s pay on their rank and length of service.

InsigniaPay Grade RankAbbreviation2021 Minimum Monthly Pay
N/AE-1Seaman RecruitSR$1,785.00
E-2Seaman ApprenticeSA$2,000.70
e-3 navy seamanE-3SeamanSN$2,103.90
petty officer third classE-4Petty Officer Third ClassPO3$2,330.40
petty officer second classE-5Petty Officer Second ClassPO2$2,541.60
petty officer first classE-6Petty Officer First ClassPO1$2,774.40
chief petty officerE-7Chief Petty OfficerCPO$3,207.60
senior chief petty officerE-8Senior Chief Petty OfficerSCPO$4,614.60
master chief petty officerE-9Master Chief Petty OfficerMCPO$5,637.00
command master chief petty officerE-9Command Master Chief Petty OfficerCMDCM$5,637.00
master chief petty officer of the navyE-9Master Chief Petty Officer Of The NavyMCPON$5,637.00

As are all sailors, ICs may be entitled to other forms of compensation including base allowance for housing (BAH), base allowance for subsistence (BAS), sea pay, etc.

Manned at 99 percent, the Navy (COOL) website claims that highly qualified applicants stand a good chance for placement in the IC rating.

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Job Reviews

Reviews on the career website by former and current ICs are overwhelmingly positive.

One former IC described his experience in the Navy on Indeed:

“I loved the Navy.  It taught me how far the human mind can stretch and be used in situations that may be dangerous…It was fun working with all of my shipmates and learning things that civilians would never understand.”

The reviews on the career website are equally positive.

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IC3 (SW) Loreno Visinho, stationed aboard the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship  USS Essex (LHD-2), described her duties, “I am responsible for the repair and upkeep for the phones and alarm systems throughout the ship.  I am also responsible for maintenance of the announcement systems throughout the ship as well to make sure the internal communications are working properly.”

IC3 (SW) Visinho is especially proud of earning her Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist  (ESWS) pin, “Not a lot of people my rank have done this, I made good use of my free time on deployment to achieve these and I am very proud of this accomplishment,”

The petty officer is equally proud serving in the Navy, “Serving in the Navy means that I am helping my country and contributing to the freedom of our citizens so they can feel safe when they go to bed at night.”

IC2 Zachariah Deaver, left, trains EMFN Jermichael McDuffie during damage control training aboard the USS Comstock (LSD 45).  (Source: U.S. Navy MC2 Buliavac)

The Department of the Navy’s Credentialing Opportunities Online (COOL) website estimates there are only about 2,200 sailors serving as Interior Communications Electricians in the Navy today.

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Civilian Career Opportunities

Interior Communications Electricians retiring or departing the Navy suffer from no shortage of civilian career opportunities after their service largely because of the extensive training and experience they gain while serving in the Navy.

The Navy COOL Summary For Interior Communications Electrician (IC) lists over fifteen potential civilian job opportunities post-Navy.  A few of these include:

  • Electronic Home Entertainment Equipment Installer and Repairer
  • Electrical Engineer
  • Electrician
  • Audio and Video Equipment Technician
  • Security and Fire Alarm Systems Installer
  • Telephone Operator
  • General Manager
  • Operation Manager
  • Radio, Cellular, and Tower Equipment Installer and Repairer
  • Government Property Inspector and Investigator

Like all sailors, ICs should take full advantage of the on-the-job (OJT), training opportunities, and educational opportunities offered and afforded them during their naval service.

The United States Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP) also allows ICs to complete several of their civilian apprenticeship requirements while on active duty to obtain their US Department of Labor (DOL) nationally recognized “Certificate of Completion” in preparation of life outside the Navy.

Over twenty-five national certifications and multiple state licenses are obtainable by ICs.

If you are a young man or woman and meet the requirements, are resourceful, and have manual dexterity with tools, equipment, and machines, the Interior Communications (IC) rating could just be a fit for you.  You will learn highly sought after technical skills while having the opportunity of serving in the US Navy and seeing the world.

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Find A Navy Recruiter

Official Navy Careers Page

Navy Personnel Command Interior Communications Specialist (IC) Overview

Navy COOL Summary For Interior Communications Specialist (IC)

Navy COOL Interior Communications Specialist (IC) Rating Card News Article on IC3 Loreno Visinho 

Navy Interior Communications Specialist (IC) Reviews

Travis R.
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