Navy officer careers list

Navy officer careers list DEFAULT

Navy Officer Jobs Explained

There are many jobs and career paths available to civilians or those who are enlisted in the Navy. Several skills and educational requirements are necessary to become a commissioned Navy officer. Learning which officer positions are available can help you make an informed decision about which career path or Navy school to attend. In this article, we will provide you with a list of Navy officer jobs categorized by their designators.

What are navy officers?

Navy officers are highly educated, specially trained military leaders. Some of their responsibilities include managing the Navy's ships, aircraft, weapons systems and personnel. Officers are required to know how to keep their unit productive and focused, how to perform their necessary job duties and any other tasks assigned to them by superior officers.

Navy officer designators

The Navy offers several career paths that you can be commissioned for if you are interested in serving as an officer. Some of the naval officer designators are:

Restricted line officers

Restricted line officers serve in the line of the regular Navy and Navy Reserves. They are restricted from pursuing unrestricted line officer positions and command at sea. They are often denied unrestricted positions to the Naval Academy or Naval ROTC due to medical disqualifications. Restricted line officers are then designated for service in aviation duty, engineering duty, special duty or aerospace engineering duty.

Some possible job titles of restricted line officers are:

  • Aviation maintenance officer
  • Specialist in information
  • Cryptographic support
  • Automatic data processing

Unrestricted line officers

Unrestricted line officers are eligible to command aircraft squadrons, fleets, ships, submarines and shore bases like naval air stations and naval bases. These officers are not restricted in what duties they are allowed to perform and they are on the line of duty in the Regular Navy and Naval Reserve. They can also advance to become Admirals and command battle groups and Naval ships. Unrestricted line officers are commissioned through the Naval Academy, Reserve Officer Training Corps and Officer Candidate School.

Some possible Navy job titles of unrestricted line officers are:

  • Surface warfare officer
  • Pilot
  • Navy flight officer
  • Aviation support officer
  • Submarine officer
  • SEAL
  • Explosive ordnance disposal officer

Staff corps officers

Staff corps officers serve in specific fields for jobs, such as nurses, chaplains, lawyers, physicians and civil engineers. There are eight staff corps in the Navy that fall under different categories and each has specific staff officer titles:

  • Medical corps: surgeon general of the United States Navy, chief, medical corps
  • Dental corps: chief, dental corps
  • Nurse corps: director, nurse corps
  • Medical service corps: medical service corps officer
  • Civil engineer corps: civil engineer corps officer
  • Supply corps: supply corps officer
  • Judge advocate general's corps: judge advocate general of the Navy
  • Chaplain corps: chief of chaplains of the United States Navy

Limited duty officers

Limited duty officers are those who possess strong managerial skills who were formerly enlisted in the Navy. LDOs are not required to have a bachelor's degree. Instead, they are commissioned based on their skill and expertise in a specific technical area. Their limited duty restricts their career progression but not their authority. For instance, most limited duty officers in the Navy will not be able to command a warship, auxiliary vessel or combat aviation squadron. Job titles of LDOs include:

  • LDO deck officer
  • LDO operations officer
  • LDO special warfare officer
  • LDO aviation maintenance officer
  • LDO data processing officer

Navy officer job titles and responsibilities

There is a wide range of Navy officer titles, and each officer title may perform various tasks. All officers are selected or commissioned based on the need of the Navy and job performance. Navy officers aren't paid based on the job they do, instead, they are paid according to their rank and years of experience.

The following is a list of some officer job titles available in the U.S. Navy:

1. Naval flight officer

Primary duties: Naval flight officers do not pilot aircrafts, they operate the complex technology and advanced systems on board naval aircrafts. They may also coordinate overall tactical missions of multiple air assets and conduct surveillance of missiles, aircraft and submarines during missions. NFOs also control and operate fighter and strike jet weapons systems during combat.

Aspiring NFOs must become commissioned officers and complete flight training after Officer Candidate School. During flight training, recruits will use flight simulators to learn flight rules, aerobatics, navigation and air flight systems.

2. Engineering duty officer

Primary duties: Engineering duty officers are responsible for researching, designing and developing ship systems and integrating weapons into those systems. EDs use their math and science skills to help the fleet perform and function. They also oversee the planning, testing and execution of modernizing and repairing of ships and ship systems.

This officer career requires professional training through the Formal Engineering Duty Qualification Program, and all EDs must earn a technical master's degree at Massachusetts Institute of Technology or Naval Postgraduate School.

3. Navy SEAL officer

Primary duties: SEAL officers lead their platoon or SDV unit during combat operations with a focus on direct action, reconnaissance and surveillance missions. Navy SEAL officers must be diplomats and experts at waging war during politically sensitive, complex and other dangerous environments.

Those that desire to become SEAL officers are required to be selected by a SEAL officer selection panel. Active duty selectees must attend OCS and will then be assigned designator specific training upon completion of OCS.

4. Surface warfare officer

Primary duties: SWOs are involved in most aspects of navy missions. They maintain and operate ships and ship systems while directing their crew. They also manage shipboard launch systems, use advanced technology in ship and battle defense and supply support to other Navy forces. SWOs can work with these specialized forces:

  • Aircraft carrier forces
  • Cruiser-destroyer forces
  • Amphibious forces
  • Mine warfare forces
  • Combat-logistics forces

Those who have not already been commissioned through the Naval Academy or ROTC will be required to attend OCS and receive advance training onshore and at sea to prepare for serving as an SWO and receive their full-service warfare qualification.

5. Director, nurse corps

Primary duties: Directors or officers in the nurse corps are responsible for instructing other nurse corpsmen on how to provide excellent patient care, developing relationships with teams of physicians and other healthcare practitioners, educating individuals on Navy healthcare policy and shaping Navy healthcare policy.

Those who aspire to become a nurse corps officer must obtain an advanced nursing degree and complete active duty for at least three years.

6. Nuclear submarine officer

Primary duties: Nuclear submarine officers are in charge of every aspect involved with submarine operations. This includes running the ship at sea and in port and supervising the reactor plant. As a nuclear submarine officer, you may drive the ship and chart its position; operate radar, sonar, communications and mission equipment; and maintain the weapons system on board.

These officers are required to complete Naval Nuclear Power School in addition to OCS. They must also be selected for this competitive promotion based on performance.

7. Chaplain corps officer

Primary duties: Chaplain corps officers provide religious support and guidance to Navy personnel and their families. These individuals give spiritual leadership, offer pastoral counseling, conduct religious services and provide spiritual education.

Chaplain candidates must attend officer development school. After they complete ODS, they must attend the Naval Chaplaincy School for seven weeks.

8. Supply corps officer

Primary duties: Supply corps officers may work in supply management, inventory control, disbursement, financial management, food service, information systems and other related areas. Their primary responsibilities are to determine the most economic way to transport personnel or cargo quickly, assess and anticipate the demand for supplies and manage the shipping, handling and inspection of packaged equipment and supplies. They also oversee the handling of specialized items such as explosives and medicine.

These officers must attend OCS and they may be selected to receive specialized training upon completion of OCS in:

  • Transportation management
  • Freight classifications
  • Special handling of explosives and medicines

Navy Officer Explained

If you're a college graduate or current student thinking about serving your country, you should consider becoming a Navy officer. U.S. Navy officers are among the most respected men and women who serve our country. In addition, they earn great pay and benefits.

Your first question may be, "So what is an officer?" Simply put, Navy officers are highly educated, specially trained military leaders who manage the Navy's personnel, ships, aircraft and weapons systems.


Officers in the U.S. Navy are also paid well. In fact, the starting pay for a Navy ensign is about $37,000 a year. This is just their base pay; they also get allowances for housing and subsistence. In addition, many Navy officers get special pay such as sea pay, flight pay, hazardous duty pay and more. Check out the Military Pay and Allowances section to learn more.


Navy officers are also eligible for great benefits. The following are just a few examples of the great benefits you can earn:

  • Full medical coverage
  • Full dental coverage
  • Discounted travel
  • 30 days' paid vacation each year
  • Up to $4,500 a year in tuition assistance.
  • Up to $400,000 in life and injury insurance for only $25 a month.
  • Opportunities to earn advanced degrees at the Navy's expense.
  • Use of officer's clubs and other recreation facilities around the world.

Navy Officer Career Paths

The Navy can offer you several career paths if you are interested in serving as an officer. These options include:

  • Naval aviator (pilot)
  • Naval aviation (flight officer)
  • Naval special warfare officer (SEALS)
  • Submarine officer
  • Surface warfare officer
  • Law (JAG)
  • Public affairs
  • Health care
  • Dentistry
  • Civil engineering
  • Naval engineering

Becoming a Navy Officer

There are several ways to become an officer in the U.S. Navy. These include the U.S. Naval Academy, NROTC, OCS, direct commissioning and through the Seaman to Admiral-21 Program.

The eligibility differs from program to program. But in general, you must meet the following criteria to pursue a career as an officer in the U.S. Navy:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen.
  • You must not have reached your 27th birthday by June 30 of the year in which graduation and commissioning are anticipated. Note: Applicants with prior military service may be eligible for age adjustments for the amount of time equal to their prior service.
  • You must have a high school diploma or equivalency certificate.
  • You must have no moral obligations or personal convictions that would prevent you bearing arms and supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States.
  • You must be of good moral character.
  • You must be physically qualified by Navy standards.
  • And you must have qualifying scores on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or American College Test (ACT):
    • SAT: 530 critical reading, 520 math
    • ACT: 22 English, 22 math

Next Step

If you've decided that a career as an officer in the Navy interests you, then your next step should be to contact a Navy recruiter. A recruiter can give you more information about what it means to be an officer and explain the officer commissioning programs in greater detail. So get started today and have a Navy recruiter contact you.

Interested in Joining the Military?

We can put you in touch with recruiters from the different military branches. Learn about the benefits of serving your country, paying for school, military career paths, and more: sign up now and hear from a recruiter near you.

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List of United States Naval officer designators

Wikipedia list article

This is a list of naval officer designators in the United States Navy. In the United States Navy, all active and reserve component officers are assigned to one of four officer communities, based on their education, training, and assignments: Line Officers (divided into Unrestricted Line or URL, Restricted Line or RL, and Restricted Line Special Duty or RL SD), Staff Corps Officers, Limited Duty Officers (LDO), or Warrant Officers (WO/CWO). Each community is further subdivided by primary occupation. Each occupation is identified by a designator.[1]


The officer billet designator codes are four-digit numbers used to identify the primary naval specialty qualifications required of the billet incumbent and to administratively categorize officer billets for proper management and identification. They serve as a manpower management tool when used in conjunction with the officer designator codes. These codes are entered in the Manpower Authorizations (OPNAV Form 1000/2) to indicate the categories of officers required for the billets.[1]

The first digit identifies the officer's community.

The second and third digits denote the officer's area of specialization within the line, staff corps, LDO, or warrant officer community.

The final (fourth) digit denotes the officer's current type of commission.

Fourth DigitCommission
0An officer of the regular Navy whose permanent grade is ensign or above.
1An officer of the regular Navy whose permanent status is warrant officer or chief warrant officer (note that warrant officer [pay grade W-1] is not currently used in the U.S. Navy; all U.S. Navy warrant officers are commissioned as chief warrant officer-2 [pay grade W-2]; only designator 7840, cyber warrant officer of the line, is coded in manpower and personnel records for warrant officer-1 [pay grade W-1], as "Code P" per section 3, part A, of NAVPERS 15839I, of July 2018).[1]
2A temporary officer of the regular Navy whose permanent status is enlisted.
3An officer of the regular Navy who is on the retired list, i.e., is on the permanent or temporary list of retired officers of the regular Navy.
4No longer used.
5An officer of the Navy Reserve, in either the Ready Reserve or the Standby Reserve category (NOTE: this code excludes designators with a 4th digit of 7, 8, or 9, i.e., those reserve officers who are not currently serving on the Full Time Support (FTS) Program, or appointed from the Naval Reserve Integration Program, or a member of the Retired Reserve, see immediately below).
7An officer of the Navy Reserve on active duty in the Full Time Support (FTS) Program (previously known as the Training and Administration of the Reserve [TAR] program); includes officers of the FTS program rotated to other than FTS billets.
8An officer of the Navy Reserve who was appointed in the Naval Reserve Integration Program from enlisted status or whose permanent status is chief warrant officer, warrant officer, or enlisted.
9An officer of the Navy Reserve who is on the retired list, i.e., the Retired Reserve category of the Navy Reserve.

Between fiscal year 1992 and fiscal year 2005, all officers entering the U.S. Navy were awarded a Reserve commission (commissioned as ensigns, USNR). Legislation was signed that all Reserve officers on full-time active duty, previously designated by a "5" in the last digit of the designator, would be converted to a regular Navy commission by the close of fiscal year 2006.

There is no distinction between USN and USNR officers, no matter what the commissioning source. All hold the same ranks, have the same responsibilities and authority, and enjoy the same privileges. As part of the U.S. Navy's Active–Reserve Integration (ARI) initiative that "operationalized" the Navy's Reserve component, the term "U.S. Naval Reserve" was superseded by "U.S. Navy Reserve", and the term USNR was discontinued as a matter of Total Force policy in 2005. All officers in the U.S. Navy now use the term USN with their rank titles.

As used above, Full Time Support (FTS) program officers are reserve officers serving on either fixed or indefinite periods of active duty, while remaining reserve officers, under the authority of 10 USC 12310. The Full Time Support program exists to provide FTS for training, administration, recruiting, organization, and equipping the reserve components.[2]

(1xxx) Line Officers[edit]

Fully Warfare Qualified Unrestricted Line (URL) Officers[edit]

Unrestricted Line Officers (URL Officers) are commissioned Officers of the Line in the United States Navy, both Regular Navy and Navy Reserve, who are not restricted in the performance of duty,[1] and are qualified to Command at Sea the Navy's warfighting combatant units such as warships, submarines, aviation squadrons, and SEAL Teams. They are also qualified to command the higher echelons of those units, known as "major commands," such as destroyer and submarine squadrons, aviation wings and groups, and special warfare groups. At the Flag Officer level, they also command carrier strike groups, expeditionary strike groups, task forces, and Fleet and Force commands. URL officers are also eligible to command shore installations, facilities and activities directly supporting the Navy's warfare mission.[3][4][5]

Non-Warfare Qualified Unrestricted Line (URL) Officers[edit]

110X General URL Officer without warfare qualifications (NOTE: Those Fleet Support Officers (FSO) without warfare qualifications were merged into URL officer designator 110X after 2010, after RL SD designator 170X was phased out, per the 2010 NAVPERS 15839I, Manual of Navy Officer Manpower and Personnel Classifications, Vol. 1, Part A).

Training Designators For Unrestricted Line Officers[edit]

116XURL Officer in training for Surface Warfare Officer qualification.
117XURL Officer in training for Submarine Warfare Officer qualification.
118XURL Officer in training for Special Warfare qualification.
119XURL Officer in training for EOD/Diver qualification.
137XURL Officer in training for duty involving flying as a Student Naval Flight Officer.
139XURL Officer in training for duty involving flying as a Student Naval Aviator (pilot).

Restricted Line (RL) Officer designators[edit]

Officers of the line of the Regular Navy and Navy Reserve who are restricted in the performance of duty by having been designated for aviation duty, engineering duty, aerospace engineering duty, or special duty.[1] RL officers are authorized to command ashore within their particular speciality, but are not eligible for combatant command at sea, which remains strictly within the purview of URL officers.[5]

121XRL Officer - Nuclear Propulsion Training Officer (Nuclear Power School Instructor).
122XRL Officer - Nuclear Engineering Officer (Naval Reactors Engineer).
1230RL Officer - Permanent Military Professor (Pay grades O-5 through O-6 only).
144XRL Officer - Engineering Duty Officer who is qualified as a Ship Engineering specialist.
150XRL Officer - Aerospace Engineering Duty Officer, Engineering or Maintenance (NOTE: Designators 151X and 152X merge into 150X at pay grade O-6).
151XRL Officer - Aerospace Engineering Duty Officer, Engineering (AEDO).
152XRL Officer - Aerospace Engineering Duty Officer, Maintenance (AMDO and AMO).
154XRL Officer - Aviation Duty Officer (ADO Naval Aviator).

Restricted Line Special Duty (RL SD) Officers[edit]

120XRL SD Officer - (Special Duty) Human Resources Officer.
165XRL SD Officer - (Special Duty Officer) Public Affairs Officer.[6]
166XRL SD Officer - (Special Duty Officer) Strategic Sealift Officer (SSO) (NOTE: Formerly designators 162X, 166X, 167X, and 169X (Merchant Marine)).[7]
168XRL SD Officer - (Special Duty Officer) Reserve Recruiting.
170XRL SD Officer - (Special Duty Officer) Fleet Support Officer (NOTE: Designator phased out by 2010, per NAVPERS 15839I, Manual of Navy Officer Manpower and Personnel Classifications, Vol. 1, Part A, and those FSO's without warfare qualifications were merged into URL officer designator 110X).
171XRL SD Officer - (Special Duty Officer) Foreign Area Officer (FAO).
180XRL SD Officer - (Special Duty Officer) Meteorology/Oceanography Officer.[8]
181XRL SD Officer - (Special Duty Officer) Cryptologic Warfare Officer (NOTE: Former designators 161X and 164X merged and redesignated effective Oct 2010 under Information Warfare Community).[8]
182XRL SD Officer - (Special Duty Officer) Information Professional Officer (NOTE: Formerly designator 160X; redesignated effective October 2010 under Information Warfare Community).[8]
183XRL SD Officer - (Special Duty Officer) Intelligence Officer (NOTE: Formerly designator 163X, redesignated effective October 2010 under Information Warfare Community).[8]
184XRL SD Officer - (Special Duty Officer) Cyber Warfare Engineer.[8]
186XRL SD Officer - (Special Duty Officer) Information Warfare Community (IWC) Flag Officer (NOTE: RDML/O-7 and above)
187xRL SD Officer - (Special Duty Officer) Maritime Space Officer[9]

Training designators For Restricted Line (RL) and Restricted Line Special Duty (RL SD) Officers[edit]

146XRL Officer - in training for Engineering Duty Officer (EDO) (NOTE: Designator converts to 144X upon completion of qualification requirements).
172XRL SD Officer - in training for (Special Duty Officer) Foreign Area Officer (FAO) (NOTE: Designator converts to 171X upon completion of qualification requirements).

([2-5]x0x) Staff Corps Designators[edit]

Officers, Regular and Reserve, of all staff corps of the Navy. The eight staff corps (and one Flag Officer) designators are:[1]

210XMedical Corps Officer; includes Naval Flight Surgeon, Naval Surface Medical Officer and Naval Submarine Medical Officer
220XDental Corps Officer
230XMedical Service Corps Officer; includes Naval Aviation Physiologist and Naval Aviation Experimental Psychologist
250XJudge Advocate General's Corps Officer
270XSenior Health Care Executive Officer (NOTE: Flag Officers, O-7 through O-9, accessed from Active duty Medical Corps, Dental Corps, Medical Service Corps, and Nurse Corps officers in designators 210X, 220X, 230X and 290X)
290XNurse Corps Officer; includes Navy Flight Nurse[10]
310XSupply Corps Officer
410XChaplain Corps Officer
510XCivil Engineer Corps (i.e., Seabee) Officer

(6xxx) Limited Duty Officers [11][12][edit]

Officers of the line, or staff, as appropriate by their career field, of the Regular Navy and Navy Reserve appointed for the performance of duty in the broad occupational fields indicated by their former warrant designators or enlisted rating groups.[1]


611X Deck (Surface).
612X Operations (Surface).
613X Engineering/Repair (Surface).
615X Special Warfare (NOTE: Phased out as of July 2018, per NAVPERS 15839I, Manual of Navy Officer Manpower and Personnel Classifications, Vol. 1, Part A).
616X Ordnance (Surface).
618X Electronics (Surface).
620X Nuclear Power (General) (NOTE: Formerly designator 640X).
621X Deck (Submarine).
623X Engineering/Repair (Submarine).
626X Ordnance (Submarine).
628X Electronics (Submarine).
629X Communications (Submarine).
630X Aviator (Aviation) (NOTE: Phased out as of July 2018, per NAVPERS 15839I, Manual of Navy Officer Manpower and Personnel Classifications, Vol. 1, Part A).
631X Deck (Aviation).
632X Operations (Aviation).
633X Maintenance (Aviation).
636X Ordnance (Aviation).
639X Air Traffic Control (Aviation).
641X Administration (General).
643X Bandmaster (General).
647X Photography (General).
648X Explosive Ordnance Disposal (General).
649X Security (General).


651X Supply Corps.
653X Civil Engineer Corps.
655X Law (Judge Advocate General's Corps).


NOTE: 68XX designators to be assigned to Lieutenant/O-3E and below requirements only. LCDR/O-4 and above billets are assigned the appropriate 18XX designator.

680X Meteorology/Oceanography (NOTE: Formerly designator 646X).
681X Cryptologic Warfare (NOTE: Formerly designator 644X).
682X Information Professional (NOTE: Formerly designator 642X).
683X Intelligence (NOTE: Formerly designator 645X).

(7xxx) Warrant Officers[11][13][edit]

Officers of the line, or staff, as appropriate by their career field, of the Regular Navy and Navy Reserve appointed to chief warrant officer for the performance of duty in the technical fields indicated by former enlisted rating groups.[1]


711X Boatswain (Surface)
712X Operations Technician (Surface)
713X Engineering Technician (Surface)
715X Special Warfare Technician (Expeditionary Warfare)
716X Ordnance Technician (Surface)
717X Special Warfare Combatant Craft Technician (Expeditionary Warfare)
718X Electronics Technician (Surface)
720X Diving Officer (General)
721X Boatswain (Submarine)
723X Engineering Technician (Submarine)
724X Repair Technician (Submarine)
726X Ordnance Technician (Submarine)
728X Acoustics Technician (Submarine)
731X Boatswain (Aviation)
732X Operations Technician (Aviation)
733X Maintenance Technician (Aviation) (NOTE: Formerly designator 734X or 738X).
736X Ordnance Technician (Aviation)
740X Nuclear Power Technician (General) (NOTE: The 740X designator was approved for deletion on 9 May 2013. The FY14 LDO-CWO in service procurement board will be the final board which accesses nuclear CWOs. Nuclear CWOs may continue their service by converting to nuclear LDO (640X) or continue their service as warrant officers and compete for promotions through CWO5. All billets will be recoded to 640X and 740X will not be deleted until the inventory naturally attrites. NAVADMIN 124/13 refers.)
741X Ship's Clerk (General)
748X Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician (General) (NOTE: The 748X designator was approved for deletion on 26 Oct 2011. No new accessions to the 748X designator will be taken. All personnel and billets will be appropriately recoded in phases that began on 1 Nov 2011. NAVADMIN 319/11 refers).
749X Security Technician (General)


751X Supply Corps (NOTE: Authorized for active duty billets/personnel only).
752X Food Service (Supply Corps)
753X Civil Engineering (Civil Engineer Corps)
756X Technical Nurse (Nurse Corps)


780X Oceanography
781X Cryptologic Warfare Technician (NOTE: Formerly designator 744X).
782X Information Systems Technician (NOTE: Formerly designator 742X).
783X Intelligence Technician (NOTE: Formerly designator 745X).
784X Cyber (NOTE: Formerly designator 743X).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ abcdefgh"Chief of Naval Personnel Command Manual NAVPERS 15839I, "Manual of Navy Officer Manpower and Personnel Classifications - Volume 1 (Major Code Structures)". Part A, Billet and Officer Designator Codes".
  2. ^Bellamy, Oliver (2002-04-09). "The Role of the Reserve Component in Transformation and Its Effects on Active Component/Reserve Component Integration". Fort Belvoir, VA. doi:10.21236/ada404526.
  3. ^Mack, VADM William P. and Paulsen, CAPT Thomas D., The Naval Officer's Guide, 9th ed., Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, c1983
  4. ^Knott, CAPT Richard C., The Naval Aviation Guide, 4th ed., Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, c1985
  5. ^ abMack, VADM William P. and Stavridis, CAPT James, Command at Sea, 5th ed., Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, c1999
  6. ^"Apply for DCO". Retrieved 2016-12-26.
  7. ^"NAVADMIN 183/11".
  8. ^ abcde"NAVADMIN 205/10".
  9. ^"The New Maritime Space Officer Designator – What You Should Know". United States Navy. Retrieved 2021-08-28.
  10. ^
  11. ^ abU.S. Navy Personnel Command, Officer, Community Managers, LDO/CWO OCM, References, LDO/CWO DesignatorsArchived 2013-09-27 at the Wayback Machine, last accessed 2 January 2012
  12. ^
  13. ^"Alignment of the limited duty officer and chief warrant officer information dominance corps designators".
TOP 5 jobs in the U.S. Navy 2021

A Day in the Life of a Navy-Officer

Of all the branches of the armed forces, the Navy is often viewed as the one most flavored with the scent of adventure. Who wouldn't want to travel around the world, the logic goes, on an enormous (or not so enormous) ship and see exotic locales such as Hawaii, Australia or Japan? If the Navy were a company, its officers would be the management and board of directors. Electricians, administrators, combat specialists and all the rest of the jobs necessary to run the Navy are headed by officers. Officers must know how to do these jobs, how to keep their unit focused and productive, and how to perform duties assigned by their superior officers.

Paying Your Dues

To be an officer in the Navy is to test your physical strength, leadership abilities and technological prowess. You can apply to enlist as an officer as early as your sophomore year in college. If one is a professional in the fields of medicine, law, engineering or religion, the Navy may appoint you an officer. This includes a six-week course. There is also the NROTC  (Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps), which allows college students to become officers while attending school full time, and the Naval Academy, which accepts potential officers right out of high school. Life as an officer in any branch of the armed forces can be strenuous, but if you have talent and innate leadership ability, you will be in high demand. Most notably, the late President John F. Kennedy served as an officer in the Navy.

Present and Future

The United States Navy has been an important part of nearly every American war. The role of the Navy was changed forever in 1910, when an American civilian pilot successfully launched a plane from an aircraft carrier. This led to the Aircraft Carrier’s evolution into the dominant ship in naval warfare in the middle and latter half of the twentieth century. Most notably, the Navy became arguably the most important branch of the armed forces in the modern nuclear age, when submarines became able stay underwater for years at a time and carry nuclear weapons.

Quality of Life


The first few years as an officer can be frustrating, but consider them a learning experience. Officers must become accustomed to command, leading other naval personnel. The first Naval officer rank is Ensign, the equivalent to Second Lieutenant in the other branches of the armed forces. NROTC, or Naval Academy graduates will automatically receive this rank. Be prepared for unofficial testing by superior officers. Life on a naval base or ship can be hard for some and easy for others.  You'll have work to do every day, and the hours (depending on your job) will be somewhat irregular. You also won't be able to go home for months or even possibly years at a time. However, the Navy considers this a minor sacrifice to exchange for the privilege of "preserving the freedom of your country." Time aboard a ship can be numbing for some, but an officer will rarely have the luxury time to become bored. As with all branches of the armed forces, the Navy bestows a great amount of responsibility on its officers; the position is not something to be taken lightly, and an officer takes on the trust of all Americans by managing their most valuable resources.


After around four years as an Ensign, the Navy will almost automatically promote a young officer to Lieutenant Junior Grade (the equivalent of First Lieutenant), or higher. Pay goes up, as do benefits, responsibilities, and privileges.


After ten years as a Naval Officer, the amount of money one earns becomes much greater, and if one has conducted him or herself in a professional, orderly manner, the sky is the limit as far as promotion goes. Commissioned officers can conceivably become Generals, and occasionally run for high political office when they retire.



Careers list officer navy

The United States Navy separates its rankings between the enlisted personnel and officers.

Navy Officers have more supervision and responsibilities compared to enlisted personnel which equates to higher pay.

The best Navy Officer jobs are rewarding military careers with the opportunity to do something important and beneficial to keeping the nation safe.

Learn more about the 10 best Navy Officer jobs to find out which career might be the best fit for your goals and aspirations.

10 Best Navy Officer Jobs

There are a variety of careers to consider in the U.S. Navy.

The best Navy Officer jobs are found in job fields like:

  • Business
  • Communications
  • Cyber Warfare/IT
  • Engineering
  • Healthcare
  • Law & Management
  • Logistics
  • Repair & Maintenance
  • Special Warfare
  • Weapons & Electronics

Every Navy Officer job is rewarding in its own way, but here are the leading occupations because of reputation, job duties, average pay, and prestige:

Related Article – Navy Jobs List: A List Of All 71 Ratings In The US Navy For 2019

Jump To Best Navy Officer Jobs

#10 Public Affairs

jobs in the navy

Navy Public Affairs keeps the best interests of the military branch in order.

Public Affairs Officers (PAO) work with enlisted personnel to project a positive image of the U.S. Navy.

The Navy Officers are responsible for creating press releases and other reports that provide the mass media with more information about the daily activities of the branch.

Therefore, Navy PAOs keep the image of the Navy in good light and help clear misconceptions about the military.

Your important work presents the nation with a better understanding of Naval affairs and operations.

Related Article – US Navy Mass Communications Specialist (MC): Career Profile

#9 Supply Corps

navy jobs

The United States Navy is a massive operation that includes hundreds of thousands of personnel.

Therefore, these members of the Navy depend on the military branch for supplies not just limited to weapons.

The Navy Supply Corps oversees the gigantic supply chain on the military organization.

Commissioned officers in the Supply Corps perform work in supply management, inventory control, disbursement, expeditionary logistics, financial management, operations analysis, and information systems.

Navy Officers that manage the Supply Corps are responsible for other enlisted personnel like Logistics Specialists (LS) and Personnel Specialists (PS).

If their work is not done correctly, platoons lack the necessary supplies which can greatly hamper operations.

Consequently, the behind-the-scenes officer role is extremely vital to daily operations.

Related Article – Army Unit Supply Specialist (MOS 92Y): Career Details

#8 Civil Engineer Corps

navy careers

Serving the U.S. Navy in Civil Engineer Corps is another behind-the-scenes role comparable to the Supply Corps.

Navy Civil Engineer Corps Officers focus on construction, public works, or contract management.

The assignment you receive depends on the current needs of the Navy as well as personal preference and your performance at Navy OCS.

Officers that work in Civil Engineering develop real-world job skills that translate to a civilian job opportunity after you leave the military.

The Navy trusts the Civil Engineer Corps with handling massive investments in high-tech fleets like ships, aircraft, and equipment.

Civil engineers may focus on architecture, construction engineering, and land surveying (to name a few options).

Related Article – Navy Seabees: Career Details For BU, CE, CM, EA, EO, SW, and UT Ratings

#7 Nursing

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Nursing is something that you generally don’t associate with the U.S. Navy yet it’s just as important in the military as civilian life.

Navy Officers that serve as nurses provide high-quality care for sailors.

Nurses work in treatment facilities both in the United States and abroad.

Along with treating sailors, Navy Nurses also provide relief during a humanitarian crisis.

Medical officers assist patients with a variety of health conditions and administer vaccines.

They work alongside other medical professionals such as physicians, surgeons, and medical specialists.

Related Article – Navy HM Hospital Corpsman: Everything You Wanted To Know

#6 Pilot & Flight Officer

navy flight officer - best navy officer jobs

Naval Flight Officers (NFO) serve as important components in the aviation department.

Flight Officers handle antisubmarine warfare and mine countermeasures.

There is also a need to participate in search and rescue operations.

The thrilling career path teaches officers how to project aviation power in fighter and attack, reconnaissance, and sea control missions.

Navy NFOs also conduct enemy surveillance using photographic intelligence.

Even though it takes a substantial amount of time and education to become a Flight Officer it’s well worth the challenge and adventure.

Related Article – Navy Pilot vs. Air Force Pilot: 5 Main Differences Between Each

#5 JAG Corps

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Navy JAG has been idolized in pop culture through TV series and remains a well-recognized officer title.

All in all, Navy JAG represents nearly 1,000 attorneys throughout the world that practice law in support of the military branch.

Navy commissioned officers that act as lawyers serve the nation ashore and at sea.

The Navy Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps practice broad law including Military Justice, National Security Law, Admiralty and Maritime Law, and Environmental Law.

Navy lawyers offer command advice and support for enlisted personnel, military justice, and other types of sailor support.

The opportunities to receive gainful, related employment in the civilian world after leaving the military are also tremendous.

Related Article – US Navy Legalman (LN): Career Profile 

#4 Health Care

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Along with nurses, the U.S. Navy needs other health care workers to promote a safe and caring environment for sailors.

If you aren’t sure about nursing, there are plenty of other opportunities for officers in healthcare.

Whether you decide to work behind the scenes in administration or serve as a dentist or physician – there are plenty of options.

Receiving a medical officer position is not easy and requires a lot of time and effort.

However, the civilian job outlook is outstanding and the experience you receive in the Navy is second to none.

Working as a commissioned officer in Naval health care is one of the best ways to give back in a non-combat role.

Related Article – 11 Pros And 9 Cons Of Joining The Navy 

#3 Surface Warfare Officer

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Navy Surface Warfare Officers (SWO) operate on aircraft carriers.

Aircraft carriers are one of the most impressive and sophisticated types of ships ever produced.

Since aircraft carriers act at the core of national defense, Navy Officers that oversee them provide an integral service.

Navy SWOs ensure that sailors under their supervision maintain and operate the complex reactor and power generation systems of the ship.

While the job demands and pressure is intense, it is appropriate for those that like a challenge and incredible responsibility.

Related Article – Navy Special Warfare Operator (SO) aka Navy SEAL: Career Details

#2 Nuclear Submarine Officer

careers in the navy

Submarines are like aircraft carriers in that they are highly distinct to the U.S. Navy.

As a result, some of the most desirable job roles in the Navy have to do with managing submarines and aircraft carriers.

Navy Submarine Officers assist in all aspects of the nuclear sub operations.

Officers supervise the reactor plant both at ports and in the sea.

Nuclear Submarine Officers also manage staff associated with power generation and propulsion systems.

There is a need to maintain onboard weapons systems and life support systems as well.

Related Article – Navy Fire Control Technician (FT): Career Details

#1 Naval Special Warfare Officer (SEALS)

navy officer careers

Even if you are fairly unfamiliar with the military you’ve heard of a Navy SEAL.

The incredibly prestigious Navy Officer job title is one of the most desirable military positions in the world.

Many strive to become a Navy SEAL yet the special warfare division only accepts a limited amount of candidates.

Then, you need to survive extremely rigorous training just to receive the distinction.

Navy SEALS protect the country as experts in conducting special operations in complex, politically sensitive, and dangerous environments.

Those who are interested in becoming Navy SEAL Officers have a few options to eventually join the elite unit.

Though there is the chance of danger, it’s impossible to find a more exciting and thrilling officer career in the Navy.

Related Article:17 Famous Navy SEALs (and 3 Controversial Ones)


The best Navy Officer jobs vary depending on the job title and required skills.

Regardless, receiving a commission as a U.S. Navy Officer grants you more career opportunities and better pay.

Consider becoming an officer in the Navy to expand your horizons both in the Navy and after the fact in civilian life.

Nicholas A.

Nicholas A.

Nick Anderson has been serving on Active Duty in the U.S. Navy for the last 10 years. He graduated from Saint Leo University with his B.A. in Accounting and is a graduate student at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, pursuing an M.B.A. in Finance. Born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama, Nick enlisted in the Navy at the age of 17. During his deployments onboard the USS Fort McHenry, he traveled to 23 countries on four continents, sailing roughly 42,000 nautical miles across 30 seas and five oceans. He currently resides in Meridian, Mississippi.

Nicholas A.

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ROYAL NAVY OFFICER Interview Questions \u0026 Answers!

Navy Careers: Commissioned Officer Job Designators Descriptions

Navy commissioned officer designations can be somewhat confusing. Unlike the other services which divide their officers into basic branches, the Navy divides their commissioned officers into four basic kinds of officers:

Unrestricted Line Officers

Unrestricted Line Officers are those who are eligible for command of ships, submarines, aircraft squadrons, fleets, and shore bases such as naval bases and naval air stations. These are officers of the line of the Regular Navy and Naval Reserve who are not restricted in the performance of duty. Unrestricted Line Officers are the officers who advance to become Admirals and command Naval ships and battle groups. Designators (jobs) which fall into the Unrestricted Line Officer category are: Surface Warfare Officers, Pilots, Navy Flight Officers, Aviation Support Officers, Submarine Officers, SEALS, Divers and EOD Officers. These officers are commissioned through the Naval Academy, Officer Candidate School (OCS), and Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC).

The number designators associated with many of these jobs are: 1110 - Surface Warfare Officer, 1120 - Submarine Officer, 1130 - Navy SEAL, 1140 - Navy EOD Officer

Restricted Line Officers

Restricted Line Officers are officers of the line of the Regular Navy and Naval Reserve who are restricted in the performance of duty by having been designated for aviation duty, engineering duty, aerospace engineering duty, or special duty. Examples are: Aviation Maintenance Officers, Specialists in Information / Cryptographic Support, Intelligence, Automatic Data Processing, Public Affairs, and Oceanography. As with Unrestricted Line Officers, these officers are also commissioned through OCS, the Naval Academy, or ROTC. Typically, it is a medical disqualification that prohibits an officer candidate to pursue unrestricted line through the Naval Academy or Naval ROTC and they must select restricted line or staff corps. However, officer candidates who apply through OCS may select restricted line options that are open to them regardless of medical disqualification for unrestricted line on an as needed basis by the Navy.

The number designators associated with many of these jobs are: 1200 - Human Resources Officer, 1800 - Oceanography Officer, Intel Officer 1830, 1940 - Cyber Warfare Engineer.

Staff Corps

Those of the Staff Corps are specialists in career fields which are professions unto themselves, such as physicians, nurses, chaplains, lawyers, civil engineers, etc. Staff Corps officers wear their specialty insignia on the sleeve of the dress blue uniforms and on their shoulder boards in place of the star worn by Line officers. These officers are often commissioned through a special "mini-OCS" (five weeks) or through ROTC. However, there are billets filled by the Naval Academy graduating class as well for high achieving Midshipmen seeking medical corps. 

However, most graduates from the Naval Academy select an unrestricted line designator after graduation and transfer into other communities in the unrestricted line or staff corps as well. There are many former Navy SEALs who are doctors and lawyers as well as pilots and submariners who become engineers or even chaplains. Typically after earning the designator warfare specialty (SEAL trident, Pilot wings, etc.), the officer can apply for what is called the "lateral transfer" and move to another designator within the Navy.

Some of the number designators associated with these jobs are: 2100 - Medical Officer, 2200 - Dental Officer, 2500 - JAG Corps, Supply Corps 3100, Chaplain Corps 4100.

Limited Duty Officers

Limited Duty Officers (LDOs) are former enlisted sailors or warrant officers who are selected for a commission based on extensive training and experience in their enlisted rating (job) or warrant officer occupational field. The Limited Duty Officer does not have to have a college degree or greater like all the Unrestricted Line, Restricted Line, and Staff Officers. As the name implies, they are limited to performing their duties as commissioned officers within the field they are selected in. They are commissioned through the LDO Selection Program. Typically, they will not rank higher than Commander (O-5) nor will they become Commanding Officers. They are limited to Executive Officer as the highest command. However, there are some commands in the Navy that are considered Executive Officer tours like Commanding Officer of a Detachment on a foreign Allied base, or the CO of a smaller vessel in the Navy, for instance. The Limited Duty Officers are eligible for these Commanding Officer / Executive officer tours. 

Some of the number designators with these jobs are: 6110 / 6120 / 6130 (Surface), 6150 - SEAL. 

All officer jobs, assignments, and promotions are based on performance and needs of the Navy.

Below are the primary Navy commissioned officer designators:

Baccalaureate Degree Completion Program (BDCP)

Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC)

Aerospace Maintenance

Naval Aviator (Pilot)

Naval Aviator (NFO)

Chaplain (Direct Appointment)

Chaplain (Student Selection Program)

Civil Engineer

Civil Engineer (Collegiate Acceptance Program)


Engineering Duty Officer

Intelligence (Intel)

JAG (Law School) -- Student Selection Program / Direct Appointment

Medical Services Corps

Naval Reactors Engineer

Nuclear Officer (Surface)

Nuclear Officer (Submarines)

Nuclear Power School Instructor

Nurse Corps


Public Affairs

SEAL (Special Warfare)

Special Operations (EOD, Diver)


Surface Warfare Officer


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