Serving as specialists in cyber communications Cryptologic Technician

Analyzing encrypted electronic communications. Jamming enemy radar signals. Deciphering information in foreign languages. Maintaining the state-of-the-art equipment and networks used to generate top secret intel. This is the highly specialized work of those in the Navy Cryptology community.

Job Description

When it comes to sensitive military communications, the continuous battle is to keep one’s information concealed and protected while simultaneously exposing and deciphering that of the enemy. The general role of a Cryptologic Technician (CT) in the Navy is to help maximize operational integrity and situational awareness by collecting, analyzing and reporting on communication signals using computers, specialized computer-assisted communications equipment and video display terminals. It’s a highly secretive job that is carried out by different types of CTs with advanced training in specific areas of cryptology.

Serving as Enlisted Sailors (high school diploma or equivalent required), Navy Cryptologic Technicians 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.

Serving part-time as a Reservist, your duties will be carried out during your scheduled drilling and training periods. Take a moment to learn more about the general roles and responsibilities of Reservists. And know this: The impact of your work and your service will go far beyond the time that you put in.

Specific Responsibilities

Within Navy Cryptology, there are distinct focus areas that have their own training paths and job descriptions. Depending on your interests, you could pursue opportunities centered around any of the following specializations: Interpretive, Technical, Networks, Maintenance or Collection. Each CT role works under the oversight of Information Warfare Officers (four-year degree required).

Cryptologic Technician Interpretive (CTI) – CTIs serve as experts in linguistics (including Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Persian-Farsi, Russian, and Spanish) and deciphering information in other languages. Primarily, their responsibility is to collect, analyze and exploit foreign language communications of interest to identify, locate and monitor worldwide threats; transcribe, translate, and interpret foreign language materials and prepare time-sensitive tactical and strategic reports; and provide cultural and regional guidance in support of Navy, Joint Force, national and multi-national needs.

Cryptologic Technician Technical (CTT) – CTTs serve as experts in airborne, shipborne and land-based radar signals. Primarily, their responsibility is to operate electronic intelligence-receiving and direction-finding systems, digital recording devices, analysis terminals and associated computer equipment; operate systems that produce high-power jamming signals used to deceive electronic sensors and defeat radar-guided weapons systems; and provide technical and tactical guidance in support of surface, subsurface, air and special warfare operations.

Cryptologic Technician Networks (CTN) – CTNs serve as experts in communication network defense and forensics. Primarily, their responsibility is to monitor, identify, collect and analyze information; provide computer network risk mitigation and network vulnerability assessments and incident response/reconstruction; provide network target access tool development; conduct computer network operations worldwide in support of Navy and Department of Defense missions.

Cryptologic Technician Maintenance (CTM) – CTMs serve as experts in the preventative and corrective maintenance of sophisticated cryptologic equipment, networks and systems. Primarily, their responsibility is to 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; and configure, monitor and evaluate Information Operations (IO), Information Warfare (IW) systems and Information Assurance (IA) operations.

Cryptologic Technician Collection (CTR) – CTRs serve as experts in intercepting signals. Primarily, their responsibility is to collect, analyze and report on communication signals using computers, specialized computer-assisted communications equipment, video display terminals and electronic/magnetic tape recorders; exploit signals of interest to identify, locate and report worldwide threats; and provide tactical and strategic signals intelligence, technical guidance, and information warfare support to surface, subsurface, air and special warfare units. CTRs could also be assigned duties as fusion analysts – a role that involves taking intelligence data from multiple sources, effectively “piecing together the puzzle,” and generating a coherent intelligence product report to be used by decision makers.


Most of what you do in the Navy Reserve is considered training. The basic Navy Reserve commitment involves training a minimum of one weekend a month (referred to as drilling) and two weeks a year (referred to as Annual Training) – or the equivalent of that.

CTs in the Navy Reserve serve in an Enlisted role. Before receiving the ongoing professional training that comes with the job, initial training requirements must be met.

For current or former military Enlisted servicemembers: Prior experience satisfies the initial Recruit Training requirement – so you will not need to go through Boot Camp again.

For those without prior military experience: You will need to meet the initial Recruit Training requirement by attending Boot Camp for seven to nine weeks in Great Lakes, Ill. This training course will prepare you for service in the Navy Reserve and count as your first Annual Training.

Career Advantages

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 – allowing you to become even more competitive in your challenging field.

Plus, the expertise you gain as a Cryptologic Technician, coupled with your security clearance, may prepare you for a wide range of federal jobs. Depending on your specialization area, this could include opportunities within the U.S. Intelligence Community, and potential employment with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or National Security Agency (NSA).

Depending upon your specific background, other excellent career opportunities in the civilian sector could include work as a Computer Systems Analyst, Computer Programmer, Computer and Information Systems Manager, Database Administrator, Network and Computer Systems Administrator, Intelligence Analyst, Operations Manager, Linguist or Translator.

And the more tangible benefits? Competitive pay. Points earned toward retirement benefits. Outstanding insurance options. And much more. Read about the benefits of serving in the Navy Reserve.

Education Opportunities

Beyond offering access to professional credentials and certifications, Navy technical and operational training in the field of intelligence 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.

Specific opportunities vary depending upon specialization area within the field of cryptology. Contact a Navy Reserve Recruiter for details.


A high school diploma or equivalent is required to become an Enlisted Sailor in the cryptology field in the Navy. Those seeking a Cryptologic Technician position must be U.S. citizens who can meet eligibility requirements for a Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information security clearance. They should have an interest in advanced electronics and technology; exceptionally good character; good speaking, writing and record-keeping skills; a good working aptitude of math; and the capability to do highly detail-oriented, highly classified work.

General qualifications may vary depending upon whether you’re currently serving, whether you’ve served before or whether you’ve never served before.

Specific qualifications vary depending upon specialization area within the field of cryptology. Contact a Navy Reserve Recruiter for details.

More Information

Want to explore further? Learn what you need to know about joining the Navy Reserve. Find us on Facebook to interact with actual Navy Reservists. Or, if you need more information, contact a Navy Reserve Recruiter.

Consider Your Service Options.

There are different ways that you can commit to serve in America’s Navy. Besides part-time opportunities in the Navy Reserve, full-time Active Duty positions are also available in this career area.