navy personnel specialist

Navy Personnel Specialist (PS): Career Details

Navy Personnel Specialists (PS) are the Navy’s customer support representatives for their fellow sailors. 

The PS provides their shipmates with both counseling and information to Navy-related occupations, general education and job training opportunities, rights and benefits, and promotion requirements.

The PS also determine travel entitlements and deductions and military pay in addition to maintaining and auditing the pay and personnel records of Navy enlisted personnel. 

They also prepare accounting/financial reports related to travel and pay transactions and operate the associated accounting systems.

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Personnel Specialist (PS) became an official Navy rating in 2005 when the Navy merged the Disbursing Clerk (DK) and Personnelman (PN) ratings.

ps navy rate
PS2 (SW) LaShay Nelson fills out record charts aboard the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) July 1, 2014, while underway in the Persian Gulf. (Source: U.S. Navy MC3 Keith)

The DK and PN ratings were established in 1948.

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Requirements and Qualifications

To serve as a Personnel Specialist (PS) in the United States Navy, you must meet certain requirements:

Training and Career Path

PSs, 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).

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The five-week-long Personnel Specialist (PS) A School is located in Meridian Mississippi.

personnel specialist
PS3 Josephine Fabia assigned to the executive department aboard the USS America (LHA 6), operates a fire hose during hose team training in the ship’s hangar bay.  (Source: U.S. Navy MCSN Hand)

Through a combination of group and individualized instruction and practical application, future PSs are familiarized with the forms and procedures of naval personnel administration.

What’s Life Like for a Personnel Specialist (PS)?

The Navy subsects the job of a Personnel Specialist into seven different jobs:

  • PS (Customer Service Clerk)
  • PS (Financial Specialist)
  • PS (Financial Specialist Clerk)
  • PS (Financial Specialist Supervisor)
  • PS (Personnel Clerk)
  • PS (Personnel Manager)
  • PS (Personnel Supervisor)

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The day-to-day duties of a Personnel Specialist include:

  • Maintain Enlisted Service Records as well as correctly enter information.
  • Onboard new personnel, transfer personnel, and prepare personnel for Fleet Reserve or retirement.
  • Prepare separations (all types).
  • Provide shipmates with information related to Navy occupations, rights and benefits, requirements for promotion, and opportunities for general education and job training.
  • Interview and counsel Navy personnel on various matters.
  • Administer and order advancement examinations.
  • Process examination returns.
  • Assist sailors and their families during times of personal hardships or special problems.
  • Issue military and dependent identification cards.
  • Perform travel claim accounting duties.
  • Prepare financial reports.
  • Maintain accounting and payroll databases for collection of government funds and disbursement.
  • Collect money owed to the US Treasury by Navy personnel.
  • Maintain and audit shipboard Automated Teller Machines (ATMs).
  • Act as agent cashiers to pay government funds.
  • Write official reports and letters.
  • Make recommendations for assignments.
  • Provide pay and entitlement information to sailors.

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PS1 James Long Jr. mentors PS2 Charles Tobler on his advancement profile sheet, giving some much needed advice on how to advance to Petty Officer First Class. (Source: US Navy / MM3 Deugan)

Personnel Specialists normally work in a clean office environment doing, depending on the assignment, mostly metal and administrative work.   

PSs may work with others under close supervision or alone with limited supervision.

While ashore, Personnel Specialists are usually assigned to a Personnel Support Detachment (PSD), while at sea, they are traditionally assigned to the Personnel, Supply, Training or Administrative Departments.

Navy Personnel Specialists (PS) Sea/Shore Rotation

Personnel Specialists enjoy a great Sea/Shore Rotation.

A PS will spend about 75 percent of their time ashore and 25 percent of their time assigned to the fleet.

TourSea TourShore Tour
First Tour48 Months (4 Years)36 Months (3 Years)
Second Tour42 Months (3.5 Years)36 Months (3 Years)
Third Tour42 Months (3.5 Years)36 Months (3 Years)
Fourth Tour36 Months (3 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)

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PS2 Natalie Howe of Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) Phoenix, sings the National Anthem during a pre-season baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres. (Source: Navy Personnel Specialist (PS): Career DetailsU.S. Navy / MC2 Deneault)

How Much Are Personnel Specialists (PS) 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, PSs may be entitled to other forms of compensation including base allowance for housing (BAH), base allowance for subsistence (BAS), sea pay, etc.

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Job Reviews

I must admit that I was amazed at the overwhelmingly positive reviews by current and former Personnel Specialists. 

I thought that it would be much less so giving the intense customer service aspect of the rating.  Such is not the case:

The Department of the Navy’s Credentialing Opportunities Online (COOL) website estimates that there are about 2,300 men and women serving as Personnel Specialists in the Navy today.

Personnel Specialist at work
PS3 Ferdirick Domingo assists a Sailor with his Navy cash card account in the disbursing office aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). (Source: U.S. Navy / MC2 Evans)

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Civilian Career Opportunities

Civilian career opportunities abound for Personnel Specialists exiting or retiring from the Navy.  These include:

  • File Clerk
  • Customer Service Representative
  • Billing, Cost, and Rate Clerks
  • Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks
  • Legal Secretaries
  • Secretaries and Administrative Assistants
  • Administrative Service Managers
  • Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists
  • Bank Tellers
  • Payroll and Timekeeping Clerks
  • Branch/Department Financial Managers
  • License Clerks
  • General Office Clerks
  • Clerical Library Assistants

Opportunities for departing PSs also exist as with the Department of Homeland Security as Import Specialists and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Technicians.

Personnel Specialists are encouraged to 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 PSs to complete several of their civilian apprenticeship requirements while on active duty.

Several national certifications, federal licenses, and state licenses are obtainable by sailors in the Personnel Specialists rating.

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Young people interested in a Naval career should give consideration to the Personnel Specialist rating. 

The field is especially a fit for you if you enjoy providing customer service, are people-oriented, good at record-keeping, are detail-oriented, and can clearly communicate your ideas.

Life as a Personnel Specialist in the Navy allows you to serve your country and see the world, but you will also teach you valuable skills to aid you in your career after the Navy. 


Find A Navy Recruiter

Official Navy Human Resources Careers Page

Navy Personnel Command Personnel Specialist (PS) Overview

Navy COOL Summary For Personnel Specialist (PS)

Navy COOL Personnel Specialist (PS) Rating Card

Navy Personnel Specialist (PS) Reviews –

Travis R.
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