navy interior communications electrician - ic rate

Interior Communications Electrician (IC): 2023 Career Details

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

Interior communications are critical to the efficient working of all shipboard activity. 

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

ICs work everywhere onboard the 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.

Shipmates often refer to Interior Communications Electricians as “IC-men.” 

Related ArticleNavy Electricians Mate (EM): Career Details

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Requirements and Qualifications

To serve as an 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 10 weeks of  Navy Recruit Training, at the Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes (RTC Great Lakes).

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

For nine weeks, sailors learn the basics of technical documentation and the fundamentals of mechanical theory. Electrical and Electronics are also covered in this rudimentary course. 

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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 12 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 schematics, AC/DC circuitry, and solid-state electronics. Electrical math and logic systems are also part of the curriculum. They are also taught CPR. 

This Navy technical training includes group instruction, classroom lectures, and practical, hands-on application. 

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

Interior Communications Electricians perform maintenance on a variety of electronic systems on board ships. These include the wiring of alarms, communications systems, and indicators.

They also work on the ship’s control systems, including speed and steering controls, as well as maintaining power generators and distribution systems.

They may perform repair and maintenance on navigation systems, visual landing aids for aircraft, and environmental systems.

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

  • Maintain or repair interior communications systems
  • Maintain and repair shipboard navigation equipment
  • Test and repair interior communications
  • Install phone and other comm circuits, boxes, and switchboards
  • Maintain dead reckoning and course-plotting equipment
  • Maintain and repair TV systems
  • Inspect, install, or recharge equipment batteries

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

They 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 Months36 Months
Second Tour60 Months36 Months
Third Tour48 Months36 Months
Fourth Tour48 Months36 Months
Fifth Tour36 Months36 Months
Sixth Tour36 Months36 Months
Seventh Tour36 Months36 Months

How Much Are Interior Communications Electricians (IC) Paid?

Like all 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

As are all sailors, ICs may be entitled to other forms of compensation including Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS), sea pay, etc.

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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. 

The petty officer is equally proud of 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.

This is largely due to the extensive training and experience they gain while serving in the Navy.

The Navy COOL Summary For Interior Communications Electrician (IC) lists over 15 potential civilian job opportunities post-Navy.  A few of these include:

  • Electrician
  • Audio and Video Equipment Technician
  • Security and Fire Alarm Systems Installer
  • 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 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. 

This allows them to obtain a US Department of Labor (DOL) nationally recognized “Certificate of Completion” to prepare for life outside the Navy.

ICs can obtain over 25 national certifications and multiple state licenses.

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 to serve in the US Navy and see the world.

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Find A Navy Recruiter

Official Navy Careers Page

U.S. Navy Personnel Command Interior Communications Specialist (IC) Overview

Navy COOL Summary For Interior Communications Specialist (IC)

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

Navy Interior Communications Specialist (IC) Reviews

Travis R.

Originally posted on 09/16/19

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