The jobs in the military are more similar to civilian jobs than you might think. You would be surprised at how much work goes into running big military outfits as efficiently as possible.

Apart from the soldiers and officers that work on the frontline, there are several other positions and diverse jobs keeping the organization together.

In the Navy, these jobs are called Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) or ratings, as they are more commonly known.

These ratings range from construction workers to engineers, medical officers, computer technicians, intelligence specialists, and so on.

Each rating has its distinct training and specialties, and related ratings are grouped into communities, much like how other jobs are grouped into departments.

Fig 1: Image showing the ranking of the different Navy ratings. Source: Integrated Publishing


The Combat systems community is made up of experts in the repair and maintenance of the weapons, communications, and combat system suites used by the Navy. They help to keep the Navy aware of everything happening around that concern them.

Boatswain’s Mate (BM): BMs generally work in non-technical areas of ships, and they do a lot of physical work involving stowing repairs and maintenance of equipment needed for naval operations. They are available for temporary duty for other divisions like security and food services.

Interior Communications Electricians (IC): This rating is responsible for the installation, repair, and maintenance of all the interior communications systems used in the Navy. These include public address systems, alarms, AV systems, and all telephone systems used onboard to communicate with the ship’s engine room.

Quartermaster (QM): QMs are assistants to deck officers and navigators, or they can serve as helmsmen and perform ship control and navigation duties. Quartermasters conduct weather observations, maintain proper records and logs, and verify the ship’s location while finding out compass and gyro errors.

Mineman (MN): An MN’s primary duty is working on minesweepers, detecting, and neutralizing underwater explosive devices. They also work as technicians, and they repair, test, and maintain underwater mines and keep them safe for handling and storage.


The special operations community is a small and elite group that handles intricate and sensitive missions for the Navy, including, and not limited to, IED disposal, ship repair, and salvage operations. The ratings under this community are only 2 small teams that sometimes work together.

Explosives and Ordnance Disposal Technicians (EOD): EODs are trained to locate, neutralize, and dispose of explosives of all types, both foreign and domestic. As an EOD, you are trained to handle nuclear, chemical, biological, and terrorist IEDs. EODs work on all Navy bases and may sometimes help civilian law enforcement in emergencies and counter-terrorism operations.

Navy Divers (ND): Navy divers specialize in underwater operations such as salvage missions, battle damage repair, search and rescues, and submarine operations. As an ND, you might also be called in to assist the EODs in some underwater missions. NDs also carry out research and development of the highly specialized diving equipment and maneuvers used during operations.


Navy SEALs (SO): Navy SEALS, aka, Special Warfare operators are an elite team that is trained for special and usually, clandestine missions on air, land, and sea. SEALs have a reputation for being some of the toughest military officers in the country, because of the caliber of missions they train for.

Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman (SWCC): SWCC work mainly in maritime environments where they operate the naval warfare craft, carry out extractions and insertions of special operations forces search and seizures, and other coastal operations.SWCC work closely with SEALs and other SOFs on some missions.


The Navy security community is made up of the Military police and the Naval Master at arms, (MA), rating.

They are responsible for keeping all naval operations bases safe and protected from danger, using protective maneuvers within the law. In the Navy, MAs function the same, to an extent, as law enforcement officers and they work within government guidelines to conduct crime prevention programs.

Apart from defense, the MAs are also enforcers of the existing laws, and they act as the force’s protectors onshore stations in any part of the world, and onboard naval vessels on the sea. Here are some of the duties of a Master at arms

  • Routine security checkups
  • Customs operations
  • Security patrols
  • River security operations
  • Training of new security recruits
  • Control and guard of base access points
  • Directing investigations
  • Manage brigs
  • Protect high ranking officers and personages

Fig 2: Chart showing the Navy ratings with the highest number of female sailors. Source: Army Times


The Navy needs organization, much like any other organization or branch of the military. So, any job that has to do with the administration in the Navy is placed under the administration community. These admin ratings watch over every other community and ensure that things go smoothly. There are several ratings in this community, but these are some of the most popular:

Mass Communication Specialists (MC): MCs are the multimedia team of the Navy, and they are directly responsible for the Navy’s presence and image in the media. They create media products, design illustrations, create and supervise media campaigns, and conduct research to identify their target audience. MCs also prepare news articles for publication and manage radio and TV stations.

Paralegals (LN): Paralegals, also known as legalmen, are officers with sufficient knowledge of 5the policies, legal systems, and procedures that govern military and civilian relations enough to do work of a legal nature. LNs are always under the supervision of an attorney, but they assist in legal issues involving debts, veteran’s benefits, martial procedures, and immigration issues. They also help other officers in processing legal forms, letters, and requests.

Navy Counselor (NC): Navy Counselors are so important to the running of the organization that the position is only available for seasoned naval officers. A new recruit isn’t allowed to join because the job can only be done by someone who has experience being in the Navy and knows enough about the policies and rules guiding life as an officer. NCs interview personnel, give talks and manage the organization’s association with the media.

Yeomen (YN): A yeoman’s role in the Navy is mostly clerical and administrative. They run the offices, receive guests, sort mail, and manage the telephones. They also prepare reports, maintain records, handle all the files going in and out of the offices, and assist during legal proceedings by preparing documents like briefs.

Musician (MU): The Musicians in the Navy can be a member of any of the many highly-skilled bands in the country. Navy musicians are usually involved in several types and genres of music, and depending on their assignment, they can play anything from marching tunes to Broadway-style shows.


The Surface Engineering Community is a broad community with nine different ratings. They are the brains behind the sophisticated engines that run the Navy’s vast fleet.

Gas Turbine Systems Technician- Mechanical (GSM): GSMs perform all the routine maintenance and tests on the mechanical constituents of the gas turbine engines, propulsion machinery, and control systems. Their duties include carrying out routine inspections, carrying out preventive maintenance, and performing workplace inspections.

Machinist’s Mate (MM): MMs have similar roles to the GSMs. However, they are more specialized in the operation of steam turbines, refrigeration plants electrohydraulic elevators, etc. They are also skilled in the maintenance of these systems. Their job usually involves some physical activity.

Hull Maintenance Technician (HT): They are involved in fixing valve, piping, and plumbing systems on shipboards. They are skilled in metallurgy; hence they engineer and assemble all forms of metals. HTs ensure quality marine sanitation, repair, and install heat treatment and insulation systems.

Electrician’s Mate (EM): EMs handle everything that has to do with power, generation, distribution, lighting, and electrical circuits on a ship. As an EM, you are responsible for routine maintenance, repairs, and testing of all the circuits, voltage regulators, distribution panels, switchboards, and so on.

Fig 3: Average pay of marine engineers and naval architects in the United States. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics


The Aviation community is made up of several highly important ratings that take care of all the maintenance, Search and Rescue, air traffic control, and pilot instruction. Everything involving the use and maintenance of the Navy’s aircraft is left in the hands of the Aviation Community.

Air Traffic Control (AC): ACs in the Navy are similar to the air traffic controllers in civilian airports in their responsibilities and duties. They conduct naval air operations by giving pilots flight instructions over the radio, and they organize air traffic flow on the naval airfields. The ACS are a big part of the aviation community because they play a critical role in the success of naval aircraft operations.

Aviation Structural Mechanic (AME): AMEs maintain and run repairs on the utility systems on naval aircraft such as the heating, air conditioning, pressure and oxygen systems, and other safety equipment.

Aviation Ordnancemen (AO): AOs are in charge of the ammunition, firearms, and aircraft weapons used by the Navy. They store, inspect, maintain, and assemble these weapons in addition to running tests and repairs of these weapons.

Aviation Electronic Technicians (AT): ATs work with highly advanced equipment, and they are well-trained in computers and electronics. They do a lot of repairs and troubleshooting on the computer-operated weapon systems, aircraft, and power generation and distribution systems.

Aviation Boatswain’s Mates (ABE): ABEs are involved in the launch and quick recovery of naval aircraft on land and from ships. They oversee the preparation of the planes for takeoff, maintenance of the aircraft equipment and gear, and general handling of the naval aircraft.


The Navy Submarine non-nuclear community covers eight ratings that are responsible for the maintenance and general upkeep of the Navy’s submarines. They perform routine inspections, missile operations, and information systems.

Logistics Specialist (LSS): The Logisticians ensure that crew members do not run out of inventories and supplies. Their roles include paying the bills, budgeting for supplies, placing orders, receiving and issuing supplies when they are needed. To be an LSS, you need to be skilled in accounting and warehousing operations.

Machinist’s Mate – Submarine MM(SS): MM(SS) specialize in weapons systems or auxiliary systems. Weapons specialists are skilled in underwater hydraulic systems that unload, ship, and store missiles, while auxiliary specialists maintain non-nuclear systems such as refrigeration, plumbing, atmosphere control systems. Both specialists are skilled in the operation and routine maintenance of these systems.

Missile Technician (MT): They are trained to handle missiles components and operations. MTs maintain, adjust, and align test ballistic missiles using optical equipment and computerized systems. They are also skilled in the electrical component of missile systems. They handle highly classified information.

Yeoman (YNS): They generally perform clerical roles. They provide information about benefits entitled, promotion requirement to submarines. They are also responsible for disseminating official memos and letters and interviewing potential personnel.

Fig 4: Average pay of Navy ranks in the United States. Source: Operation Military Kids


The Information and intelligence warfare community deal with information analysis and intelligence gathering. Every operation and mission is driven by intelligence and well-informed decisions that can’t be taken without sufficient information.

Intelligence Specialist (IS): Intelligence specialists deal with classified information and data about enemies or threats. Their primary duties include analyzing data, generate intelligence from data, analyzing results, and providing intelligence to other officers. Intelligence work is mostly analytical, so the work is usually done in the office.

Aerographer’s Mate (AG): AGs are skilled in meteorology and oceanography, so they are experts in testing and monitoring of weather features for analysis. They then provide these readings to any ship, aircraft, or land base officers.

Cryptologic Technician-Collection (CTR): CTRs analyze complicated digital signals and data using state-of-the-art equipment and technology. Also, as a CTR, you would be expected to guide and provide help to weapons specialists using the signals collected and analyzed.

Cryptologic Technician-Networks (CTN): CTNs work with computer networks, and they conduct operations around the world. To be a CTN, you must go through intensive training in computer network and technology usage. CTNs do a lot of cyber operations, cyber planning, network analyses, forensics analyses, and research and development.


The medical community has one rating known as Hospital Corpsmen, HM. They handle the medical and dental services required for Navy officers and also the Marine Corps, all under supervision by healthcare professionals. HMs have an assisting role so that you would function as a clinical assistant, medical administrative personnel, and technicians.

HMs also act as emergency medical care providers, especially in the absence of a healthcare professional. They may also offer services to the Marine Corps on occasion, especially first aid/treatment in a battle environment.

In the absence of a medical officer on board naval ships, warfare, remote duty stations, and submarines, HMs are delegated Independent Duty Corpsman (IDC)


The nuclear community is a cutthroat field that only accepts the best applicants. You need to perform well in the sciences and math because of the nature and potential hazards of the duties.

Each applicant has to go through a year of training before being assigned to any of the 3 ratings. After that, you may go through some extra training before you start.

Electrician’s Mate (EM): Electrician’s mates work with operating reactor controls, power systems, and other complex equipment in nuclear plants, aircraft, and submarines. You need 12 months of training – 6 in Nuclear Power School, and the rest in Nuclear Field A school.

Machinist’s Mate (MM): MMs are trained to work with power generating systems, operating reactor control, in nuclear plants, submarines, or aircraft. The job of an MM is a challenging one that requires exhaustive training because of the specialties of the job. You also get a lot of opportunities for career growth.

Electronics Technician (ET): ETs have similar job duties as the other ratings in the nuclear community. They perform a variety of duties in the nuclear, engineering, and technological fields. You have to go through 26 weeks in Nuclear Power school, in addition to the 26 weeks in Nuclear Field A school.

Fig 5: United States Navy rank chart. Source: Military Benefits


Seabees are in charge of construction services for the Navy, and other military forces, including the Marine Corps. They build concrete, steel, and wood structures on the base for various operations and amenities. Apart from construction, Seabees offer an initial response to construction sites in case of any natural disasters or recovery.

Builders (BU): In a Naval Construction Force, BUs constitutes the largest. They are involved in works of carpentry, bricklaying, painting, and general building finishing. Due to the nature of their jobs, they are skilled in making estimates for building equipment and labor. They could work in teams or as individuals.

Construction Mechanics (CM): When heavy machinery such as cranes, bulldozers, buses break down, CMs are called upon to repair them. They know spare parts (e.g., batteries, valves, jacking equipment) and materials (fuel, lubricants, hydraulic systems) for routine maintenance of these heavy machines. They work in the field and the garage.

Equipment Operators (EO): EOs are specialized in the operation of heavy machinery. They operate cranes, forklifts, bulldozers in construction sites, and building sites. Due to their constant use of these machinery, they can perform small maintenance on them. They could also draw up estimates for the materials and equipment needed for a project.


If you’re thinking of joining the Navy, you also have to consider your area of specialization and what your strengths are.

That will determine what rating you will get into, and it will also prepare you for the job ahead.

The Navy has a lot of options, so there is a lot of space for you to contribute to the service the best way you can.

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