The original rating, Communications Technician, evolved in 1948 from the ratings of Specialist (Q) (Cryptographers), Specialist (Q) (Radio Intelligence), Specialist (Q) (Technicians), and Radioman. In 1976, the rating's name was changed to the present day, Cryptologic Technician.

The Navy's computerized personnel system associates the rating name with an alphanumeric Navy Navy Enlisted Manning Code (EMC). For EMC code(s) for CTM, B520; for CTI, B510, B511, B515, or B516; for CTR, B540; for CTT, B550.

CTs perform a variety of duties worldwide at numerous overseas and stateside shore commands, aboard surface ships, aircraft and submarines and Naval Special Warfare. Duties include performing collection, analysis and reporting on communication signals using computers, specialized computer-assisted communications equipment, and video display terminals.

The class "A" school durations and locations for each of the CT ratings can be found under the corresponding heading below.

Cryptologic Technician - Maintenance job description (B520)

Effective October 1, 2011, Cryptologic Technician - Maintenance (CTM) has been made an active duty only program, and no longer available as a Navy Reserve rating.

Cryptologic Technicians (Maintenance) perform preventive and corrective maintenance on electrical and electronic cryptologic and ancillary systems used for communications, analysis, monitoring, tracking, recognition and identification, electronic attack, and physical security. They install, test, troubleshoot, repair or replace cryptologic networks, physical security systems, electronic equipment, antennas, personal computers, auxiliary equipment, digital and optical interfaces, and data systems.

CTMs configure, monitor, and evaluate Information Operations (IO), Information Warfare (IW) systems, and Information Assurance (IA) in support of national and fleet tasking. They manage mission organizational level maintenance, and coordinate repair of command, control, communications, computer and intelligence systems.

Cryptologic Technician (Maintenance) class "A" school is approximately 16 weeks in duration. The class "A" school follows a successfully completed 10 week CTM preparatory school. Both schools are located in Pensacola, Florida.

There are approximately 850 Sailors working in the Cryptologic Technician (Maintenance) rating.

Cryptologic Technicians - Interpretive job description (B510/B511/B515/B516)

Cryptologic Technicians (Interpretive) conduct Information Operations (IO) using foreign language skills and advanced computer systems. They collect, analyze, and exploit foreign language communications signals of interest to identify, locate, and monitor worldwide threats.

CTIs control and safeguard access to classified material and information systems. They transcribe, translate, and interpret foreign language materials, and prepare time-sensitive tactical and strategic reports. They provide cultural and regional guidance in support of Joint, Fleet (special operations, air, surface, and subsurface), national, and multi-national consumers.

Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) class "A" school is broken into two phases. Phase One, depending on the language, is anywhere from 27 to 64 weeks in duration; Phase Two, class "F" school, depending on the language, is 6 to 12 weeks long. The school is located at the Defense Language Institute, Monterey, California.

There are no PCS-afloat billets available to CTIs. Sea time is accrued through Direct Support missions via Aircrew, Subsurface, or Surface missions; CTIs may accrue extensive sea time yet not attain a warfare qualification. This is due to augmentation aboard different class platforms during Direct Support tours, which may preclude them from qualifying Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist (ESWS), Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist (EAWS), or qualified in submarines (SG). CTIs are expected to be qualified Enlisted Information Dominance Warfare Specialist (EIDWS) after completing a tour at a Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC).

For CTI Navy Occupational Specialties, the codes are as such: NOS B510, E-9 only; NOS B511, Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC) 9320 (Middle Eastern/North Africa); NOS B512, NEC 9321 (East/Far East Asia); NOS B515, NEC 9322 (Latin/South America); B516, NEC 9323 (Eastern Europe).

There are approximately 2,110 Sailors working in the Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) rating.

Cryptologic Technician - Networks job description (B525)

The Cryptologic Technician - Networks (CTN) rating was disestablished on June 28, 2023. The personnel and its duties have been transferred to the newly established, Cyber Warfare Technician (CWT) rating.

Cryptologic Technician - Technical job description (B550)

Cryptologic Technicians (Technical) operate and maintain electronic sensors and computer systems, and collect, analyze, exploit, and disseminate Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) all in accordance with fleet and national tasking. CTTs provide safety of platform, Indications and Warning (I&W), and Anti-Ship Missile Defense (ASMD), and provide technical and tactical guidance to Warfare Commanders and national consumers in support of surface, subsurface, air, and special warfare operations.

Cryptologic Technician (Technical) class "A" school is approximately eight weeks long. The "A" school follows successful completion a five week preparatory school. After "A" school, each CTT will attend a class"C/D" school that is approximately 7 to 10 weeks in duration. The schools are located in Pensacola, Florida.

The CTT offers a four year minimum enlistment obligation, but the Advanced Electronics Field option for the rating requires a minimum of a six year enlistment obligation. The six year program offers more school and advanced paygrade opportunities.

There are approximately 2,550 Sailors working in the Cryptologic Technician (Technical) rating.

Cryptologic Technician - Collection job description (B540)

Cryptologic Technicians-Collection (CTR) operate state-of-the-art computer systems to conduct Information Operations, and they collect, analyze and exploit signals of interest to identify, locate and report worldwide threats. CTRs control and safeguard access to classified material and information systems, and provide tactical and strategic signals intelligence, technical guidance, and information warfare support to surface, subsurface, air, special warfare units, and national consumers to maintain information dominance.

Cryptologic Technician (Collection) class "A" school is approximately 16 weeks long. The school is located in Pensacola, Florida.

There are approximately 3,500 Sailors working in the Cryptologic Technician (Collection) rating.

Career Sea - Shore Rotation Chart

Rating's Sea (SEA) Shore (SH) Rotation (months)
CTICareer Path Not Defined by Sea Shore Rotation
CTT 4236363636/36
CTT-AEF48 363636
CTRCareer Path Not Defined by Sea Shore Rotation
CTICareer Path Not Defined by Sea Shore Rotation
CTT-AEF 36 363636
CTRCareer Path Not Defined by Sea Shore Rotation

Relevant Notes: Due to the unique nature and specific skill sets required by Sailors in the various CT communities, career paths are defined by inconus/outconus vice sea shore flow. Sailors can expect to serve on various tours outside the continental United States (outconus) and/or on sea duty (types 2, 3, 4, and 6) during their career. Due to the unique characteristics of the cryptologic community, Sailors in the CT communities are encouraged to contact their community manager or detailers for additional career path information. Inconus/outconus rotation for specific CT ratings are listed below and are dependent upon billet availability and emerging needs of the Navy:

  3. CTI - initial tour length for all Cryptologic Technicians Interpretive (CTI) will be 42 months. CTI's are assigned according to the varying demand for the unique linguistic skills they possess. The in/out assignment flow is only a recommended flow and need not be followed to maintain career progression.
  4. CTM - Cryptologic Technician (Maintenance) Sailors will be detailed according to billet and relief availability. Most PCS afloat tours will be 48 months to include CTM skills 9224, 9225, and 9289. CTM 9229 requires 60 month sea duty obligation following initial skills training.
  5. CTT - Cryptologic Technician (Technical) AEF technicians, CTT skills 173x and 1702, first sea tour will be 48 months due to length of initial training; second sea tour will be 42 months. All other CTT Sailors will serve 36 months on sea tour one and sea tour two.

Qualifications, Interests, and Working Environment

Among the most important qualifications are exceptionally good character, above-average writing, and speaking skills, a good memory, curiosity, and resourcefulness, an orientation toward ideas and information, and ability to keep accurate records and work with details. Also important is adaptability to a wide range of work activities and environments. An Interest in technology and willingness to acquire computerized information processing skills are also helpful.

Applicants for the CT rates must be U.S. citizens and meet eligibility requirements for continuous access to sensitive compartmented information (SCI). Adversely adjudicated drug abuse offenses will not receive waiver consideration. Applicants’ immediate family members, including parents, sibling(s), and spouse, must be U.S. citizens or from a low risk country as defined by Intelligence Community Directive 704. Eligibility for a top-secret clearance is determined by the results of a Single Scope Background Investigation followed by a reinvestigation every five years. Applicants who are former Peace Corps members are not eligible.

Normal hearing is required. Normal color perception is required for CTT and CTM. CT ASVAB Test score requirement.

For CTI applicants a Defense Language Aptitude Battery (DLAB) test must also be taken, at MEPS or wherever available; a minimum score of 100 is required. Based on the DLAB score. Students will then be assigned to a language based on school quotas and requirements as follows: DLAB score of 100-109 qualifies personnel for Spanish, Hebrew, Persian-Farsi and Russian. A DLAB score of 110 or above is required for the Arabic, Chinese and Korean languages.

Financial Responsibility

No person shall be selected who has a history of bad checks (unless through bank error), repossessions, cancelled or suspended charge accounts, or indebtedness exceeding half the annual salary of the paygrade at which the applicant is being recruited. If indebtedness includes a long-term mortgage, total indebtedness must not exceed 2½ times the annual salary.

Personnel in the Cryptologic Technician ratings are paid allowances (BAH, BAS, etc. if eligible) and billet pay (sea pay, flight pay, submarine pay, etc. if eligible), and military enlisted basic pay based on years of service and paygrade.

Credit Recommendations

The American Council on Education recommends that semester hour credits in the associate/bachelor degree programs and vocational certificate categories for courses completed, and experiences acquired in the CT rating.

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