Jobs in the U.S. Navy are called “rates”. There are 79 rates in the Navy, each with an essential role in the operational structure and each with unique qualities necessary to succeed.
Deciding which Navy job to pursue seems daunting, but no task is impossible if broken down into digestible chunks.
This article is the best place to start exploring jobs in the Navy and how to decide which direction to go.
Jobs In The Navy: Enlisted or Officer
Sailors have a proud heritage that dates back to the triremes of Ancient Greece.
There are nearly five enlisted for every officer in the Navy.
Enlisting requires a high school diploma, GED, or an equivalency, and while most enlisted Sailors possess this requirement, some do enlist with some college completed.
These Sailors are the muscles of the Navy, and nothing happens without these Sailors on the deck plates.
Naval Officers have a long tradition made famous through books, television, and movies.
Professionalism and leadership headline the qualities of a Naval Officer. Guided by the mantra of the “Officer and Gentleman” mindset, these commissioned officers represent the finest the Navy offers.
Commissioning requires at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college.
Some students participate in the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corp. (NROTC) if their university has an NROTC Unit. This program allows you to train while in school so that you can be commissioned in the United States Navy the day you graduate.
Another option to commission is through the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. The Academy is a four-year military training institution that requires participants to meet stringent requirements to stay at the academy and be commissioned as a Naval Officer.
Many officers earn their degree before pursuing a commissioning opportunity, usually within their specific study area.
Beyond the Enlisted vs. Officer distinction, a significant differentiator in the Navy is the community a Sailor would be joining with their Navy Job.
When you think of the Navy, you probably think about the surface community.
Surface sailors are stationed onboard ships like destroyers, cruisers, and frigates. These sailors are the traditional prototype sailors you see in the movies, sailing on ships that float on the surface of the ocean.
This community contains the bulk of U.S. Navy Jobs.
Submariners brave the deeps of the ocean. Traveling miles below sea level, conducting operations in secrecy throughout the world.
These sailors have different standards they must meet, due to the nature of their job, that require additional physical and mental testing to determine if a sailor can handle the life of a submariner.
The “Silent Service” is not for everyone, but those who serve in the U.S. Navy’s submarine fleet tend to be very proud of their service.
The final major community in the U.S. Navy, the aviation community, does everything airborne.
Jobs in the U.S. Navy within this community can be anywhere from maintaining a flight log, controlling airspace, arming fighter jets, or launching planes off the flight deck of an aircraft carrier.
Squadrons are where these sailors call home, deploying on aircraft carriers and at airfields worldwide.
Jobs in the Navy
While you think about what you would like to do in the world’s greatest Navy, consider where you would like to serve, how you would like to help, and what you hope to gain from your service.
Before you choose your job in the U.S. Navy, talk to your recruiter about the community that job is in, what the advancement is like, and what kind of training opportunities that job might offer.
The Navy community you serve in is an essential first step to choosing your job in the Navy, so know your options and apply your knowledge.