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Jobs for Navy Veterans

Paul served in the U.S. Navy from 1967–1971. He was stationed in Illinois, California, aTexas, and on bases in Taiwan, Japan, and Maryland.

U.S. Navy soldiers in formation

U.S. Navy soldiers in formation

Learn a Job or Start a Career in the Navy

When I was a young boy, people used to say, "Join the Navy and see the world." My perception of sailors at that time was that of servicemen who sailed the seven seas and stopped for fun-time shore liberty at exotic ports such as Hong Kong and Singapore.

I learned, however, what the real Navy was like when I enlisted in 1967. Starting with basic training and sitting through the Navy Basic Training Aptitude Test, I learned that the Navy was about selecting and training the right personnel to do all of its many jobs. After meeting with a Navy counselor who discussed my aptitude strengths, I was assigned to Chinese Mandarin language training even though my job preference was that of a Hospital Corpsman.

To make a long story short, my subsequent training in Chinese and overseas duty using the language changed my life by introducing me to a civilian Chinese language translation career with the federal government after I left the Navy.

In this article, I detail representative jobs that can be learned in the Navy and how these jobs can lead to civilian careers for Navy veterans.

When a person joins the Navy, he or she is generally sent to a school for training in a job rating. You name it, and the Navy has it for jobs that are common in the civilian world. These include white-collar and blue-collar jobs, technical, service-oriented, medical, legal, and other professional jobs. There are also some exotic job ratings. The following are just a sampling of Navy jobs that have civilian career opportunities.

Jobs for Veterans Without a Degree

Since the Navy operates aircraft carrier task forces, it has to train various personnel in aviation-related work. Some of the aviation work ratings with civilian career opportunities are:

1. Air-Traffic Controller - AC

The air-traffic controller is responsible for directing and controlling aircraft. Experienced Navy air-traffic controllers should be able to secure employment as air-traffic controllers at civilian airports.

2. Aviation Machinist's Mate - AD

Aviation machinist's mates maintain turbo-jet engines and associated equipment. Their skills can easily be utilized by any number of commercial airlines like Delta and United.

3. Aviation Structural Mechanic - AM

Personnel in this aviation job rating maintain aircraft parts like wings, fuselages, and landing gears. These people could easily work as mechanics for commercial airlines.

4. Aerographer's Mate - AG

Aerographer's mates are the U.S. Navy's weather forecasters who are trained in meteorology. Their civilian counterparts are weathermen and weatherwomen or meteorologists.

Construction Jobs

Navy personnel with construction ratings are like civilian construction workers. They include sailors with skills such as:

1. Builders — BU

These include skilled carpenters, plasterers, roofers, cement finishers, asphalt workers, masons, and painters. Servicemen and servicewomen with these specialties build and repair structures like piers, bridges, towers, schools, and houses.

2. Construction Electricians — CE

Construction electricians are responsible for power production and electrical work to build and operate airfields, roads, barracks, and hospitals. They are like civilian construction electricians and telephone and electrical repairmen.

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Cryptologic Technicians – CT

Years ago known as communication technicians, cryptologic technicians perform a wide range of classified work in support of the national intelligence effort. Other Navy personnel refer to CTs as "spooks" due to the secret nature of their work. Three of the most popular CT branches are:

1. Interpretive Cryptologic Technicians — CTI

CTIs handle radiotelephone communications and foreign language translation. After learning a foreign language and security training, they will work as needed on ships, on overseas bases, and in the U.S. Many former CTIs have had foreign language translation careers working for federal intelligence organizations such as the CIA. As a former CTI, I had a long career with the Defense Department as a Chinese translator.

2. Maintenance Cryptologic Technician — CTM

A CTM maintains electronic and electro-mechanical equipment. An obvious civilian job would be that of an electronic equipment maintenance person.

3. Networking Cryptologic Technician — CTN

A CTN handles computer network systems and communications. In the civilian world, a CTN would be able to get jobs in computer-related fields.

Paraprofessional Job Ratings

The Navy has some paraprofessional job ratings. Two of these ratings include:

1. Hospital Corpsman — HM

A hospital corpsman is a para-medical professional who provides health care to service people and their families. After receiving basic medical training for about 3–4 months, HMs can be assigned to hospitals, ships, or bases where they may function as medical technicians, nurses' aides, or physician and dental assistants. They are primarily concerned with giving first aid and micro-surgery. During times of war, HMs will serve on battlefields administering first aid to Marines.

My son was a hospital corpsman for five years. After his medical training, he was assigned for duty to the National Navy Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. He was also deployed on a ship for two months to Europe. HMs can easily find jobs such as medical assistants and X-ray technicians in the civilian world.

A legal man is a trained paralegal assistant. In the Navy, an LN will assist Navy lawyers in court-martials and nonjudicial punishment affairs. A job as a paralegal assistant with a law firm would be easy to obtain.

Miscellaneous Navy Jobs

The Navy has many other miscellaneous jobs that offer training for future civilian careers. A few examples of these miscellaneous jobs are as follows:

1. Mass Communication Specialists — MCs

Mass Communication Specialists are the Navy's journalists and photographers.

2. Culinary Specialist — CS

A CS in the Navy prepares menus, pays attention to the ordering of the quantity and quality of food, and operates galleys and other dining facilities. He or she may also function as a food service specialist for the President of the United States. In the civilian world, CSs could become chefs or dietitians.

3. Master-at-Arms — MA

A Master-at-Arms upholds law and order aboard ships and also at shore stations. After a Navy career, an MA would have a good chance of working as a detective, security guard, policeman, or policewoman.

4. Information System Technicians

An Information System Technician designs, installs, operates, and maintains state-of-art local and wide area networks, mainframe, mini, and microcomputer systems. As a civilian, this work would entail that of a computer systems analyst.

When joining the Navy, you not only get to see the world, but you also have a great opportunity to receive job training in a career that you could have for the remainder of your life. Numerous exciting and challenging jobs will benefit both you and your country.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Paul Richard Kuehn


Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on May 09, 2013:


I'm very pleased that you found this hub interesting and useful. The training I received in the Navy really changed my life. Without my training in languages and overseas travel while in the Navy, I would not be at where I am today.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on May 09, 2013:

Paul, this information is a revelation! It's interesting to note that Navy provides one with such a wide range and variety of training and experiences so as to make getting a job once of the Navy a lot easier.

Thanks for sharing a most informative article.

Voted up, useful and interesting.

Shared and pinned.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on May 06, 2013:


Coming from a military family, I'm glad you found this hub interesting and useful. Thanks for the votes and especially the sharing.

moonlake from America on May 06, 2013:

Great information. I come from a military family. Voted up and shared.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on February 01, 2013:


Thanks for reading this hub. I really appreciate your comments, voting up, and sharing of this hub.

Danson Wachira from Nairobi, Kenya on February 01, 2013:

Hi Paul,

I have always admired this people in forces because i know it is a tough choice that need dedication. Thanks for sharing this information here for would be in force. Voted up and sharing.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on January 28, 2013:


Thanks for reading this hub and I appreciate your comments. The language training which I got and used in the Navy was very useful for me in getting a civilian job.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on January 27, 2013:

I'm glad to hear that Navy personnel have all these options for work after they leave the service. Hopefully, it's not too difficult for them to find a job. Voting this Up and Useful.

Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on December 31, 2012:


Thank you very much for reading this hub and your great encouraging comments. I don't know that much about training which members of the Army and Air Force can receive. I do know that there appear to be a few more training opportunities in the Air Force than in the Navy. In the field of learning languages, I know for sure that Army and Air Force personnel have the same opportunities to learn languages as Navy personnel Thanks for sharing.

Suzie from Carson City on December 30, 2012:

Paul.....This is not only interesting, but a real eye-opener. Deciding to join the Navy appears to be one wise choice, for someone searching "what to do," after school. It's amazing to see the long list of impressive careers that become possible for Vets, due to their rating and training.

I don't know for certain, but I'm guessing that this is not so much the case with all branches of the military?

I realize they all have their pros and cons. Of 4 sons, only one, Son # 3.....Became a U.S. Marine. He has a very high IQ and also happens to be a natural at "mechanical problem solving" (Lord knows where he go it from) Yes, you're reading the totally biased words of a proud mother, but I swear, he's amazing......his talent transcends even sibling rivalry....and his brothers are in awe. Now, there's proof!

Anyway, his lucrative career, today, actually does relate to his military MOS, and I never gave it much thought before your hub.

See, Paul, signs of great writer, Sir. Every time I read your work I LEARN SOMETHING VALUABLE! Thanks.....UP++ Sharing

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