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Electrician's MateBack to Top
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An electrician's mate (EM) is responsible for installation, maintenance, repair, and management of sophisticated electrical and electronic equipment. These include:
- Electrical Power Generation
- Fractional and Integral Horsepower Motor
- Cutter Propulsion Plant Control
- Interior Communication Systems, Electronic Navigation Equipment and Gyrocompass Equipment
Types of Duty:
Afloat units are the EMs primary focus at 42%. All cutters 110' and larger have EMs working aboard, as well as some smaller cutters. These cutters are stationed throughout the world, including Alaska, Guam, and Puerto Rico. On some cutters, the EM is the engineering petty officer (EPO), and while acting in this capacity is responsible for all engineering systems aboard the cutter, as well as supervising the engineering department. EMs have a variety of cutter support assignments including maintenance and logistics commands (MLC), integrated support commands (ISC), and engineering support units (ESU). EMs work both in and out of rate at groups, stations, aids to navigation teams (ANT), LORAN stations, air stations, and marine safety offices (MSO).
Training opportunities for EMs are outstanding. Being an EM requires a vast knowledge of electrical theory along with the practical hands-on skills required to manage, repair, maintain, calibrate, and install all kinds of electrical and electronic equipment. The 19-week EM 'A' School is one of the most intensive courses in the Coast Guard. Located in Yorktown VA, personnel will learn about mathematics, physics, electrical circuit analysis, and test equipment. They will be well versed in motor, generator and transformer principles, theory and application, electrical and electronic component theory, and circuit applications. After 'A' school, most graduates enter the fleet where their newly learned skills can be applied. Class 'C' schools abound and range from courses in advanced analog electronics, advanced digital electronics, programmable logic controllers, fiber optics, and gyrocompass. Numerous cutter-specific main propulsion control and monitoring systems (MPCMS) courses are available. During a career, an EM can expect to receive training in electronics, management, and leadership. At mid-career, high-performing EMs may compete for selection to the advanced computer, engineering, and technology (ACET) education program, which provides two years, full time, paid college for the member to obtain an associate's or bachelor's degree in engineering or technology.
To be an EM, you should have an interest in electrical, electronic, mechanical, and pneumatic systems, an aptitude for detailed work, and an above-average ability in solving mathematical problems. Since electricity itself is best never seen, the ability to visualize the theoretical working of the systems is a prime prerequisite. An EM must have normal color vision. Practical experience or prior training in electrical or electronic repair is helpful, but not required.