Navy Job: Airman

Not to be confused with entry-level Air Force members

A US Navy fighter jet launching
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This enlistment program option enables men and women to eventually qualify for one of several Navy ratings (skill specialties) through on-the-job airman apprenticeship training. The program also offers apprenticeship training in ratings that may not be available at the time of enlistment.

After completion of recruit training, enlistees in the Airman Apprenticeship Training program attend a three-week course on basic theory in aviation fundamental skills. After successful completion of this training, airman apprentices are usually assigned to squadrons or other aviation commands where the Navy needs them the most.

Navy Airman Apprentices

Airman apprentices can request and may receive on-the-job training in any one of several available ratings available at their first command by completing correspondence courses and personal advancement requirements. They must be qualified for and recommended by their commanding officer to receive this training.

Airman apprentices may also attend special Navy schools to learn about firefighting, aircraft systems, preventive maintenance of equipment and the use of special tools used in the rating they are seeking.

Airman apprentices must be able to get along well with others, as they are important members of the aviation team. Other qualities include resourcefulness, curiosity, a good memory, manual dexterity, physical strength, and normal color perception.

Enlistees enter the Navy as E-1s (Airman Recruit). Advancement to E-2 (Airman Apprentice) may be achieved after nine months of successful naval service, with advancement to E-3 (Airman) after an additional nine months.

Duties of Navy Airmen

The duties performed by airman apprentices include repairing, maintaining and stowing aircraft and associated equipment in preparation for flight operations, working with qualified personnel to gain job training and experience and performing ground and deck duties involved in the take-off and landing of aircraft.

They also stand security watches on flight lines or decks, handle the temporary duty for 90 to 120 days with food services divisions and serve as members of crash crews and security alert teams. 

They also participate in Naval ceremonies.

Qualifying as a Navy Airman

You'll need a combined score of 210 on the verbal (VE), arithmetic (AR), mechanical knowledge (MK) and automotive and shop (AS) sections of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) tests. 

As with most Air Force jobs, you need normal color perception (no colorblindness). You have to be a U.S. citizen for this job as well.

A secret security clearance from the Department of Defense is required for this job. The process involves a background check of finances and character, and past drug use or alcohol abuse may be disqualifying. 

Technical Training for Navy Airmen

Airman apprentices are taught fundamental skills needed in an aviation environment. Most of the training takes place at their first duty station in the form of on-the-job training in the rating for which they are "striking." By "striking" for a specific Navy rating, a qualified person may be assigned to a Navy class "A" technical school for further training in that rating.

Navy Ratings in the Airman Apprenticeship Training Program

  • Electronics
    AT - Aviation Electronics Technician
    AE - Aviation Electrician's Mate
    AD - Aviation Machinist's Mate
    AME - Aviation Structural Mechanic (Safety Equipment)*
    AMH - Aviation Structural Mechanic (Hydraulics)
    AMS - Aviation Structural Mechanic (Structures)
    AS - Aviation Support Equipment Technician
    ABE - Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Equipment)
    ABF - Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Fuels)
    ABH - Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling)
    AC - Air Traffic Controller*
    AG - Aerographer's Mate*
    AK - Aviation Storekeeper
    AO - Aviation Ordnanceman
    AW - Aviation Warfare Systems Operator
    AZ - Aviation Maintenance Administrationman
    PH - Photographer's Mate
    PR - Aircrew Survival Equipmentman*

* Class "A" technical school required.