Monitoring sea conditions. Analyzing meteorological data. Developing accurate forecasts for virtually any locale in the world. Aerographer’s Mates do hands-on work that helps Navy Meteorologists and Oceanographers prepare Navy forces to succeed in any physical environment.
Whether it’s hurricanes or fog, high tides or shifting ocean currents, weather has an important influence on daily operations and planning in the Navy. Those in the Aerographer’s Mate (AG) role are the Navy’s meteorological and oceanographic experts, trained in the science of meteorology and physical oceanography. Using instruments that monitor weather characteristics such as air pressure, temperature, humidity, and wind speed and direction, they distribute this data to aircraft, ships and shore-based commands.
Serving as Enlisted Sailors (high school diploma or equivalent required), Navy AGs are part of the Information Dominance Corps (IDC) – a group of highly specialized information experts fully integrated across surface, subsurface, air, space and cyberspace domains. With shared functions, capabilities and resources, IDC members leverage their skills to optimize decision making and to maximize the use of sensors, weapons, network communications and control systems for purposes of national security and warfighting.
Those who work in the oceanography and meteorology field have the responsibility to supply important environmental information that impacts Navy missions of all types. As an Aerographer’s Mate, you will perform duties that may include:
- Collecting, recording and analyzing weather and oceanographic information
- Making visual and instrument observations of weather and sea conditions
- Operating meteorological satellite receivers
- Interpreting satellite data, radar imagery, and meteorological and oceanographic codes
- Preparing up-to-date weather maps and oceanographic data
- Issuing weather forecasts and warnings
- Providing weather/oceanographic briefings
- Using, testing, calibrating, and performing minor and preventive maintenance on meteorological instruments
- Working under the oversight of METOC Officers (four-year degree required) who manage information related to meteorology and oceanography
Aerographer’s Mates serve on large ships such as aircraft carriers, amphibious ships and cruisers as well as at Naval air stations, weather centers and other shore-based facilities located in the U.S. or overseas – generally dividing time between assignments ashore and afloat. The work is mostly analytical. Typically, duties are performed in a clean, comfortable office-like environment and involve working closely with others with little supervision.
Training & Advancement
Upon completion of initial 7–9 week Recruit Training (known as Boot Camp), those pursuing an Aerographer’s Mate role report to Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., where they receive formal Navy technical training at “A” School for 19 weeks. Here, they develop a working knowledge of meteorological observation, recording and equipment in preparation for their first assignment.
From there, AGs work toward qualifying as environmental observers and prepare for advanced training through “C” School – which comes with career progression. Over time, they will transition from the role of observer to forecaster to supervisor. In the course of service, specialized training received could lead to credentialing, certification, licensure and/or apprenticeship opportunities from a number of national boards and organizations. Promotion opportunities are regularly available but competitive and based on performance.
Beyond offering access to professional credentials and certifications, Navy technical and operational training in the field of meteorology and oceanography can translate to credit hours toward a bachelor’s or associate degree through the American Council on Education. You may also continue your education through opportunities like the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges Navy (SOCNAV) Degree Program, Navy College Program and Tuition Assistance, and the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
Aerographer’s Mates are rewarded with excellent benefits – including competitive pay that’s dependent upon rank or rate and years in service. Like most positions, your increase in rate and rank is earned. Promotions depend upon your performance and time in service.
A high-school diploma or equivalent is required to become an Enlisted Sailor in the meteorology and oceanography field in the Navy. Those seeking an Aerographer’s Mate position must be U.S. citizens with normal color perception who can meet eligibility requirements for a security clearance. They should have an interest in aviation and weather and have good speaking, writing and record-keeping skills, a good working aptitude of math, and the capability to do highly detail-oriented work.
After the Navy
The specialized training and expertise you gain as an Aerographer’s Mate may prepare you for a wide range of job opportunities available within the federal government, including future employment in areas focused around areas such as meteorology, oceanography, hydrology, physical science, and astronomy and space science.
Other career opportunities in the civilian sector include work as Inspectors, Teachers, Environmental Science Technicians, Geologicial Technicians and Atmospheric and Space Scientists.
Consider Your Service Options.
There are different ways that you can commit to serve in America’s Navy. Besides full-time opportunities in Active Duty, part-time Reserve positions are also available in this career area.