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US Navy Aviation Electronics Technician (AT): Career Profile

If you like working with your hands and have a high electrical and mechanical aptitude, then you will want to strongly consider entering the Navy as an Aviation Electronics Technician.

This is a demanding and important job that can enable you to see the world and pave a pathway to a well-paying civilian job.

Once you become a Navy Aviation Electronics Technician, you will join an elite group of navy enlisted personnel that helps keep the electronic systems and subsystems on the world’s most advanced ships and aircraft in good working order.

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Here are some of the demands that are placed on those that call themselves Navy Aviation Electronics Technicians:

  • Maintain, repair and calibrate a huge range of cutting-edge electronic equipment
  • The equipment to be worked on includes communications, threat detection navigation, electronic countermeasures, and tracking & identification systems
  • Some AT jobs may even involve working with nuclear-based electronic technologies such as nuclear reactor control, propulsion systems, and power generation on Navy nuclear-powered vessels
  • May volunteer to become an AT on a flight crew

Wherever the Navy goes on air, sea, and land, a well-trained Aviation Electronics Technician will need to go with them to ensure the Navy’s many advanced electronic systems are kept working properly.

More on what a Navy Aviation Electronics technician does can be seen in the Youtube video below:

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Navy Aviation Electronics Technician Requirements and Qualifications

Here is what it takes to qualify to start training to become an enlisted US Navy Aviation Electronics Technician:

Educational Requirements

  • High School Diploma
  • GED

ASVAB Requirements

  • Minimum combined ASVAB Score of 222 on Verbal Expression, Mechanical Comprehension, Arithmetic Reasoning and Math Knowledge.

-OR-

  • Minimum combined ASVAB Score of 22 on Arithmetic Reasoning, General Science, Electronics Information, and Math Knowledge.

Additional Qualifications

  • Be between the ages of 17 and 34 unless in possession of a waiver
  • Be a United States Citizen
  • Must have at least average physical strength and have good manual dexterity
  • An electrical or mechanical background is preferred but not required
  • Proficiency with computer use is also desired
  • Successful completion of 8 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)
  • Have to complete a current Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI) that will allow that enlisted person to obtain a Secret or higher level security clearance

*** Note: For someone that wants to be a nuclear-related Aviation Electronics Technician (ATN), those jobs entail ASVAB scores and qualifications that will be even higher than this. ***

Related Article: US Navy Age Limits

Training and Career Path to Become a Navy Aviation Electronics Technician

Once a Seaman recruit has completed the requirements and qualifications stated above, they will then proceed on the following technical training path.

Navy Technical Training Information

Technical training starts with the AT Basic technical Training School held at Great Lakes Naval Training Center in Michigan.

This course in the fundamentals of electronics maintenance and troubleshooting lasts approximately 9 weeks.

After that, the trainee will proceed to the Class “A” Technical Training School at the Navy Technical Training Center (NATTC) located in Pensacola, Florida.

Here the Seaman recruit will spend 42 demanding weeks learning how to function as a seasoned Navy Aviation Electronics Technician.

This part of the technical training involves learning about such things as radar and advanced communications installation and repair.

On the Job Training

Navy Aviation Electronics Technician (AT) at work. Image: Wikimedia.org

A short on the job training session is required for every new Navy Aviation Electronics Technician recruit once they arrive at their first duty assignment.

This on the job training period will further hone the new recruit’s skills to those that are related to their current electronics working environment.

How Much Are US Navy Aviation Electronics Technicians Paid?

US Navy Aviation Electronics Technician pay is based on the same enlisted pay scale as any other Navy job.

The two characteristics that determine a Navy enlisted member’s base pay are their 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). Some may have special skills or schooling that will allow them to start out as a Seaman Apprentice (E-2) or Seaman (E-3).  

Here is the current pay table for Navy enlisted members based on rank and time in service:

InsigniaPay GradeRankAbbreviation2019 Pay (monthly)
N/AE-1Seaman RecruitSR$1,681
E-2Seaman ApprenticeSA$1,884
e-3 navy seamanE-3SeamanSN$1,981
petty officer third classE-4Petty Officer Third ClassPO3$2,195
petty officer second classE-5Petty Officer Second ClassPO2$2,394
petty officer first classE-6Petty Officer First ClassPO1$2,613
chief petty officerE-7Chief Petty OfficerCPO$3,021
senior chief petty officerE-8Senior Chief Petty OfficerSCPO$4,345
master chief petty officerE-9Master Chief Petty OfficerMCPO$5,308
command master chief petty officerE-9Command Master Chief Petty OfficerCMDCM$5,429
master chief petty officer of the navyE-9Master Chief Petty Officer Of The NavyMCPON$5,580

Advancement through the Seamen ranks (E-1 to E-3) is done automatically based on time in grade.

Higher enlisted non-commissioned officer pay grades (E-4 and above) are achieved by a combination of test scores, job proficiency, and the amount of time spent in a current pay grade.

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

Related Article: Navy Enlisted And Officer Ranks And Pay 

What’s Life Like as a Navy Aviation Electronics Technician?

This is a demanding and challenging navy career field, to say the least, but it also comes with many rewards too.

Those who become Navy Aviation Electronics Technicians will feel the pressure of working in an intense, fast-paced environment where there is little room for error.

A workday will never be boring and there is ample downtime to pursue one’s own hobbies and interests too.

There is also a vast opportunity to travel the globe and see the world and make lifelong friends while being a Navy Aviation Electronics Technician.

Unless in wartime or under other unusual alert statuses, enlisted Navy Aviation Electronics Technicians are allowed weekly days off, rotating shore leave when in port, and 30-days yearly paid leave each year.

Aviation Electronics Technician Job Reviews

Here is what a few former Navy enlisted members had to say on the website Indeed.com about their experiences as a Navy Aviation Electronics Technician:

navy at review on Indeed

US Navy Aviation Electronics Technician Civilian Career Opportunities

This is a navy job that will lay a great foundation for future civilian employment.

In today’ modern world electrical troubleshooting related jobs are in very high demand and usually come with very good salaries too.

Ex-Navy Aviation Electronics Technicians should have little or no problem quickly finding rewarding civilian employment.

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Examples of positions that Navy Aviation Electronics Technicians typically fill are:

  • Working as private contractors for the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, Air Force Reserve, and US Government.
  • Maintaining ground and tower control radar systems at airports
  • Gaining employment with utility and communications companies
  • Troubleshooting equipment for transportation and logistics companies
  • Working in service departments for electrical goods and computer manufacturers
  • Power grid service technicians
  • Helping both domestic and cargo airlines maintain their avionics systems

Here are some examples of civilian companies that hire Ex-Navy Aviation Electronics Technicians:

  • Lockheed Martin Corporation – Greenville, SC
  • Sierra Nevada – Colorado Springs, CO
  • PEMCO/Airborne – Tampa, FL
  • Signature Flight Support – Frederick, MD
  • Constant Aviation – Mesa, AZ
  • Teledyne Controls – El Segundo, CA
  • 1st Choice Aerospace – Miramar, FL

It must also be noted that the security clearance that any Ex-Navy Aviation Electronics Technician possesses can be a valuable commodity when job hunting.

References:

Official Navy Page

Navy Cool

Craig S.
Craig S.
Craig spent many years on active duty service in the Air Force stationed in such places as Okinawa, Japan and SAC Headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. While in the military, he spent time analyzing imagery from a variety of aircraft such as the SR-71. He was also one of the first enlisted members in the Air Force to experience working with near real time satellite imagery. Craig currently resides in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and runs his own business.

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