navy airman - an

US Navy Airman (AN): Career Profile

If you fancy yourself as kind of a jack of all trades and you like things that way, then you may be a good fit to enlist in the US Navy as a Navy Airman.

Those that do this Navy job fill a lot of important gap positions on board ships and at Naval Air Stations.

Make no mistake about it; Navy airmen have a very important role to play in today’s modern and fast-paced Navy.

Here are just some of the duties that a Navy Airman may be asked to perform:

  • Help stow aircraft and repair and maintain the associated equipment in order to keep it prepared at all times for flight operations
  • Work closely with qualified personnel at your duty assignment to gain experience in any number of tasks that may be assigned to you
  • Performing ground and deck duties that play a key role in the take-off and landing of aircraft
  • Stand security watches on flight lines or flight decks when required
  • May volunteer to do temporary duty of 90-120 days with a food service division
  • Many Navy Airmen double as members of crash crews and security alert teams

Being a Navy Airman also is a great way to get a Navy career started while trying to decide exactly what you want to do with your long-term Navy future.

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That’s because those enlisted members that choose to be Navy Airmen can eventually choose to enter into one of several more specific Navy skill specialties (ratings).

This is done through what is known as the on-the-job Airman Professional Apprenticeship Career Track (PACT) training.

More on what PACT training is all about can be seen in the YouTube video below:

Navy Airman Requirements and Qualifications

Here is what it takes to qualify to start training to become an enlisted US Navy Airman:

Educational Requirements

  • High School Diploma
  • GED

ASVAB Requirements

  • Minimum combined ASVAB Score of 173 on Arithmetic Reasoning, Auto & Shop Information, Math Knowledge, and Verbal Expression. 

Additional Qualifications

    • Be between the ages of 17 and 41
    • Must have normal color vision
    • Must have normal hearing
    • Your visual acuity must be at least 20/100 and correctable to 20/20
  • Must have at least average physical strength and have good manual dexterity
  • Successful completion of 10 weeks of Navy Basic Recruit Training held at Great Lakes Naval Training Center which is located on the western shore of Lake Michigan, close to Chicago. (Not required of those with prior military experience or training)

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Training and Career Path to Become a Navy Airman

Once the above requirements and qualifications have been met, the enlisted member wishing to become a Navy Airman will undergo the following training steps:

Navy Technical Training Information

For those that are not keen on spending extended periods of time in a classroom setting, this is a great career field to get into in the Navy.

It features one of the shortest Navy technical training A-schools at just 17 days long.

The Class “A” Technical School for Navy Airman takes place at the Navy Technical Training Center (NATTC) located in Pensacola, Florida.

The Navy recruits that attend this technical school will only receive training on the fundamental skills that are required to do this type of Navy job specialty.

On-the-Job Training

Since technical training just lays a basic foundation for this Navy job specialty, extensive on-the-job training is the main way that Navy Airman recruits will learn the skills necessary to do their jobs.

This training will take place at their first permanent duty assignment after technical training school has been completed.

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On-the-job training will be related to the specific job skills that are needed from the recruit at their new permanent duty assignment.

How Much Are US Navy Airman Paid?

US Navy Airman pay is based on two characteristics.

These are an enlisted member’s current rank and the amount of time they have spent in the military.

Most new US Navy Airman will start out at the pay grade of Seaman Recruit (E-1).

Longer-term commitment to the Navy or special job-related skills that have already been acquired may result in a starting Navy Airman rank of Seaman Apprentice (E-2) or Seaman (E-3).  

Here is the current paytable for Navy enlisted based on rank and time in 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

Advancement through the Seamen ranks (E-1 to E-3) is done simply by time in grade.

Those wishing to become enlisted non-commissioned officers in the Navy (E-4 and above) will need to achieve a good test score combined with their current time in grade to advance in rank.

Miscellaneous Pay, Allowances, and Incentives

There are other forms of payment that may add to someone’s paycheck while they are serving their country in the Navy too.

These include:

  • Housing allowance for those authorized to live off base (BAH)
  • Subsistence allowance (Food – BAS)
  • Temporary duty pay
  • Hazardous duty pay
  • Sea duty pay (Separation pay)
  • 100% paid healthcare
  • Tuition reimbursement

What’s Life Like as a Navy Airman?

Variety is the spice of life as far as job assignments and duty stations go for Navy Airman.

This job specialty offers many opportunities for traveling and seeing the world.

Shipboard and temporary duty assignments are also very common for those in this Navy specialty.

Needless to say, it does not make a great career path most of the time for those that are raising a family.

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Since there are a lot of demands placed on Navy Airmen, their hours can sometimes be long. But the teamwork and camaraderie involved while doing the work often make it worth it.

During peacetime, Navy Airmen are allowed weekly days off, shore leave, and 30 days paid leave each year.

Job Reviews

Here is what a few former enlisted members who are Ex-Navy Airmen had to say about their job experiences on the website

US Navy Airman Civilian Career Opportunities

Many people do not think that this type of Navy training will lead to gainful civilian employment, but this is certainly not the case.

This is especially true given the fact that most career Navy Airmen will chart a course through PACT training that will teach them a specific skill that can lead to well-paying civilian employment.

Those who only learn the basic skills required of first-term Navy Airmen can apply and often will be accepted into jobs such as the following:

  • Working for airport, city, or local fire departments
  • Becoming an equipment mechanic, shop worker, or other industrial trades worker
  • Working in different capacities for domestic and cargo airlines
  • Gain employment working as policemen or security personnel
  • Handle a variety of airfield operations duties

Although decent-paying jobs that Ex-Navy Airman qualify for don’t always jump out at a person, they are out there and there are a lot of them.


Craig S.
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