Navy Hull Technicians can trace their roots all the way back to the days when the US Navy was only comprised of wooden-hulled ships.
They have been termed everything from ship-fitters to metal-smiths over the years.
The Navy officially settled on the term hull technician in 1972 when this Navy position became an official career choice instead of an offshoot of other types of Navy careers.
Don’t let the name fool you either because Navy Hull Technicians work on a lot more than just the hulls of Navy ships.
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They maintain all of the surface structure and equipment on a ship and everything that’s attached to it such as the plumbing.
Although Navy Hull Technicians are often portrayed in the movies with their A-shirts on and a large monkey wrench in hand, their jobs are much more complicated and sophisticated than that.
Navy Hull Technicians have many shipboard responsibilities and it would be hard to imagine how any ship would stay structurally sound and sanitary without the help of these skilled metalworking technicians.
Navy Hull Technician Requirements and Qualifications
Here is what it takes to qualify to start training to become an enlisted US Navy Hull Technician:
- High School Diploma
- Minimum combined ASVAB Score of 205 on Verbal Expression, Mechanical Comprehension, Arithmetic Reasoning and Math Knowledge.
- Minimum combined ASVAB Score of 205 on Arithmetic Reasoning, Verbal Expression, Auto and Shop Information, and Math Knowledge
- Be between the ages of 17 and 34 unless in possession of a waiver
- Be a United States Citizen
- Applicants must have normal color vision perception
- There is also a hearing requirement as candidates must have normal hearing in the 3000 Hz, 4000 Hz, 5000 Hz, and 6000 Hz frequency ranges.
- Must have at least average physical strength and have good manual dexterity
- 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)
- Completion of a current Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI) that will allow an enlisted person to obtain a Secret or higher level security clearance
Training and Career Path to Become a Navy Hull Technician
Here are the training requirements that a recruit will go through in order to be able to perform the duties of a Navy Hull Technician on their own.
Navy Technical Training Information
The Class A-school to become a Navy Hull Technician takes place at Naval Station Great Lakes outside of Chicago, Illinois.
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It consists of two phases:
The first phase is 13 weeks long and consists of learning basic engineering principles and filling out the various forms the Navy uses for getting structural ship tasks done.
The second phase is 5 weeks long and is designed to give an HT recruit foundation knowledge in such things as reading blueprints, sheet metal work, welding, pipefitting, shop safety, and other skills that will serve a Navy Hull Technician well.
On the Job Training
Several months of more specific hands-on training will take place at a new recruit’s first duty assignment.
How Much Are US Navy Hull Technician Paid?
US Navy Hull Technicians pay is based on an enlisted member’s current rank and the amount of time they have spent in the military.
Those with no prior military experience will usually start out as a Seaman Recruit (E-1) unless they have special skills or training that will allow them to start as a Seaman Apprentice (E-2) or Seaman (E-3).
Here is the current paytable for Navy enlisted members based on rank and time in service:
|Insignia||Pay Grade||Rank||Abbreviation||2023 Minimum Monthly Pay|
|N/A||E-1 +4 months||Seaman Recruit||SR||$1,917.60|
|E-4||Petty Officer Third Class||PO3||$2,503.50|
|E-5||Petty Officer Second Class||PO2||$2,730.30|
|E-6||Petty Officer First Class||PO1||$2,980.50|
|E-7||Chief Petty Officer||CPO||$3,445.80|
|E-8||Senior Chief Petty Officer||SCPO||$4,957.20|
|E-9||Master Chief Petty Officer||MCPO||$6,055.50|
|E-9||Command Master Chief Petty Officer||CMDCM||$6,055.50|
|E-9||Master Chief Petty Officer Of The Navy||MCPON||$6,055.50|
Advancement through the Seamen ranks (E-1 to E-3) is done simply by time in grade.
Other enlisted ranks are gained through testing and time and grade combined.
Miscellaneous Pay, Allowances, and Incentives
Here are some other forms of pay a navy enlisted member may be entitled to if certain conditions are met:
- Housing allowance for those that live off base (BAH)
- Subsistence allowance (Food – BAS)
- Temporary duty pay
- Hazardous duty pay
- Sea duty pay (Separation pay)
Every Navy enlisted member is also entitled to 100% paid healthcare and often will be reimbursed for any college courses they take while serving in the military.
What’s Life Like as a Navy Hull Technician?
Navy Hull Technicians are tasked with doing a wide variety of shipboard jobs.
- Undertaking welding, plumbing, brazing and soldering tasks
- Installing, maintaining and repairing plumbing valves, piping, plumbing fittings, and marine sanitation systems
- Repairing deck structures and hull surfaces using welds, brazing, riveting and caulking where necessary
- Examining and testing using radiological, ultrasonic and magnetic particle testing equipment
- Doing light and heavy gauge metal fabrication work using such metals as aluminum, corrugated iron, stainless steel, steel and also working with copper, brass and other sheet metals
Here is a YouTube video that talks more about the duties and responsibilities of a Navy Hull Technician.
Someone acting in this capacity can expect to spend up to 70% of their time in the Navy on-board a ship.
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It’s a Navy career that will give anyone who enters into an excellent opportunity to see the world.
That also means anyone that has a family can expect to be away from home a large majority of the time.
Here is what two Ex-Navy Hull Technicians had to say about their time spent in the military in reviews posted on Indeed.com:
Many people who enter into this Navy career have found it to be stressful at times but also joyful and rewarding.
US Navy Hull Technician Civilian Career Opportunities
Those who have left the military consider their time spent as a Navy Hull Technician to be a nice stepping stone toward better than average civilian hourly employment.
Here are some types of civilian jobs that Ex-Navy Hull Technicians are qualified to do:
- Working as a government subcontractor in naval yards
- Industrial pipefitting
- Becoming plumbing professionals
- Industrial sheet metal fabrication
- Doing professional welding work
- Becoming metal test technicians
Examples of companies that are known to hire Ex-Navy Hull Technicians are:
- Epsilon Systems Inc. – San Diego, CA
- AECOM – San Diego, CA
- Huntington Ingalls Industries – San Diego, CA
- Alumacraft Boat Co – Saint Peter, MN
- General Dynamics Information Technology – Chesapeake, VA
Those Ex-Navy Hull Technicians that possess a valid security clearance will find it very valuable when seeking Navy subcontractor positions.
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How long is the first sea and shore tours for a Naval Hull Technician?
The first sea rotation is typically 54 months, while the first shore rotations is 36 months.
What's included in the Navy Hull Technician's basic recruit training?
Recruits are instructed on military drill, seamanship, basic ship damage control, firefighting, firearm training, PT, and the basic essentials of Navy life.
Where can a Hull Tech expect to be based?
There aren't any specific bases that hull technicians work at. You can expect to be aboard one of the 100's of ships in the US Navy fleet.
How long is Hull Tech school?
Hull Technician (HT) A school is located at Naval Station Great Lakes, and is approximately 6 weeks long.
What's the quality of like for a Hull Tech?
In general, you can expect to be working long days in the deep and dark areas of the ship. HT is not a great rating in the Navy, and should be avoided if you have the option.