Home : Home : Shipyards : Portsmouth : Worker Skills

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is one of the largest employers in the Seacoast employing more than 6,600 civilian employees. The Shipyard Apprentice Program's Trades Apprenticeship and Worker Skills Progression Program train applicants in various skilled trades. The shipyard has Memorandums of Understanding with York County Community College and Great Bay Community College providing employees the opportunity to earn credits towards associate’s degrees in Trade and Technical Occupations and Technical Studies at the two local community colleges respectively.

Resources For Applicants

DONHR Resources:

USAJOBS Resource Center: http://www.usajobs.gov/ResourceCenter


 OCHR Fact Sheet 



Worker Skills Progression Program

This is a five-year apprentice program where on-the-job learning and technical trade training are combined to progress an individual to the journey level. Program processes and requirements are similar to the Trades Apprenticeship Program described below with the exception of academic training and placement exams, which are not required for the Worker Skills Progression Program. Trades are shown below. Visit
http://www.usajobs.gov/ frequently to view openings in the Worker Skills Progression Program as positions in this program are opened at random intervals.

Trades Apprenticeship Program

This four-year apprentice program features paid academic and trade training, and on-the-job learning. All training is conducted at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, with beginning pay at the Wage Grade 5 level. Participants will be promoted at two-year intervals, first to the intermediate journey worker and then to the full journey worker level provided performance meets requirements. Credit may be given for previous work experience and/or training. Benefits include four hours of annual leave and four hours of sick leave for every 80 hours of actual work, a retirement plan, Thrift Savings Plan (similar to a 401K) and optional employer subsidized health and life insurance.

Apprentices attend academic classes at the shipyard with trade training typically conducted in the shop areas. Apprentices must successfully complete all courses prescribed in their trade-training plan. Graduates receive journey worker certificates from both the Department of Labor and Department of Navy, and receive college credits towards an associate's degree from either York County Community College or Great Bay Community College.

http://www.usajobs.gov/ frequently to view openings in the Trades Apprenticeship Program as positions in this program are opened at random intervals. Enter “Trades Apprentice” in the keywords block and click "Search Jobs." Select the "Trades Apprentice" hyperlink (make sure the location listed is US-ME-Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Kittery). Select “Apply Online”. Follow the instructions for logging into your account (if you already have one) or for creating a new account. Be sure to provide a detailed description of your work experience. An Office of Personnel Management placement exam will be administered to eligible applicants approximately four to six weeks after the announcement closes.

Applicants must be a U.S. citizen, be 18 years of age or older, satisfy the security requirements of Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, take an Office of Personnel Management placement exam, and be physically able to perform the duties of the position for which they are selected. Practice exams that contain questions similar to those on the academic placement exam can be found at the following web links.
* See Link Disclaimer
http://www.studyguidezone.com/accuplacertest.htm and select any of the self assessment modules at the bottom of the web pages for practice questions. You can also go to http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/accuplacer/ and select the sample problems link in the second paragraph on the web page for more advanced math problems. Additionally, many local high schools offer adult basic education courses in shop math and basic algebra that are helpful in preparing for the math portions of the placement exam.

The major occupations available through the apprenticeship program at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard are listed below. Production needs will dictate which trades are available for each incoming class of participants.


Shipfitter (Shop 11S):  A shipfitter plans, manufactures, installs, removes and repairs structural assemblies aboard U.S. Navy vessels.  These assemblies vary in size from less than 100 pounds to over several tons and consist of ferrous or non-ferrous metals.

Sheetmetal Mechanic (Shop 17T):  A sheet metal mechanic fabricates, modifies, repairs, assembles and installs sheet metal items in buildings and aboard U.S. Navy vessels.  Metals used may include galvanized and black iron, aluminum and aluminum alloys, stainless steel, copper, and brass sheets, lead alloys, and bronze.  Sheet metal items may include HVAC duct, lockers, protective covers and metal paneling.

Welder (Shop 26W):  A welder cuts and joins all types of industrial and marine metals aboard U.S. Navy vessels and in facility buildings using complex welding and thermal cutting processes.


Machinist (Shop 31M):  A machinist manufactures new and repairs existing parts using lathes, milling machines, boring mills, drills and CNC operated equipment.  Duties may include disassembling, inspecting, reassembling and testing components such as turbines, valves, pumps and compressors.  Duties may also include machining of forged and heat treated material as well as rubber and plastics.

Marine Machinery Mechanic (Shop 38M):  A marine machinery mechanic installs, removes, optically aligns, tests, overhauls and repairs ship's main propulsion machinery including turbine generators, internal combustion engines, reduction gears, propeller shafts, pumps, valves, auxiliary engines, nuclear reactor components, ordnance machinery and other shipboard components.  Duties may also include work on hydraulic actuators, boat davits, capstans, windlasses and auxiliary cranes.


Marine Electrician (Shop 51E):  A marine electrician installs, repairs, manufactures and tests nuclear and non-nuclear shipboard electrical systems and control equipment.  Typical work includes overhauling, repairing, and testing rotating equipment, motor control equipment, switchboards, power panels, circuit breakers, connectors, communication equipment, batteries, lighting and cabling.

Electronics Mechanic (Shop 67X):  An electronics mechanic installs, troubleshoots, repairs and tests shipboard electronic equipment and systems.  Duties of the electronics mechanic may include installation, diagnosis, repair and testing of nuclear and non-nuclear shipboard electronic equipment and systems.  Assignments may include work on sonar transducer arrays, fire control systems, communications and computer repair.



Air Conditioning Equipment Mechanic (Shop 56A):  An Air Conditioning Equipment Mechanic removes, repairs, overhauls, aligns, installs, tests, and adjusts ship's air conditioning and refrigeration systems and components including compressors, pumps, valves, heat exchangers, switches, electrical and pneumatic system controls.  Removes and replaces various types of refrigerants, and conducts pressure, vacuum, and operational testing of air conditioning and refrigeration systems using nitrogen and refrigerants.

Shipboard Pipefitter (Shop 56P):  A shipboard pipefitter removes, repairs, manufactures, installs and tests piping systems aboard U.S. Navy vessels.  Typical duties may include using piping diagrams to determine angles of bends, using machinery to bend those angles and installing the piping aboard ship.  Materials used may include copper, nickel copper and stainless steel.

Production Machinery Electrician (Shop 06E):  A production machinery electrician maintains, installs, repairs, retrofits and troubleshoots electrical circuits and components associated with industrial machinery.  This includes the performance of electrical preventive maintenance.

Production Machinery Mechanic (Shop 06M):  A production machinery mechanic installs, repairs, inspects, aligns, analyzes and rebuilds industrial plant equipment and machinery.  This process includes operating and maintaining ultra high-pressure water jetting and high-pressure air systems as well as maintaining, inspecting and rebuilding nuclear support equipment/facilities.

Electronic Industrial Controls Mechanic (Shop 06X):  An electronic industrial controls mechanic repairs, tests and calibrates electronic measuring equipment.  Duties may also include maintenance and repair of CNC systems, automatic welding equipment, automated access control systems, security and alarm systems and fiber optic closed circuit systems.

Insulator (Shop 57I):  An insulator applies a variety of insulation materials on hulls, steam turbines, distillation plants, refrigeration plants, ventilation ducts and other piping systems and equipment to prevent loss of heat or cold, prevent condensation and reduce noise levels aboard ship and noise transfer to the sea.  Materials used include molded calcium silicate, fiberglass and foam plastic insulations along with insulating and adhesive cements.


Fabric Worker (Shop 64F):  A fabric worker plans, designs, lays out, constructs and installs containments of various sizes and configurations for radiological, environmental and cleanliness controls shipboard, in drydocks and in facilities.  Other work can include reupholstering ship’s furnishing, manufacturing tool bags, protective coverings, and other items on request.  Materials used include polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyurethane (PUR) sheeting, herculite, Kevlar, canvas, naugahyde, linen and other flexible materials.

Plastic Fabricator (Shop 64P):  A plastic fabricator builds, modifies and repairs plastic, fiberglass and rubber components using techniques such as casting, laminating, thermoforming, vacuum bag molding, compression molding and spray coating.  Duties may also include working with terrazzo, vinyl floor coverings, sound damping, Special Hull Treatment, wood, plexiglas, powder coatings and plastisol.

Shipwright (Shop 64S):  A shipwright uses optical instruments to provide reference points and alignment services during docking evolutions and overall.  Other duties include erecting, maintaining and removing scaffolding in both nuclear and non-nuclear applications.  Woodworking duties may include building temporary enclosures, plenums, shipping skids, mock-ups and pipe templates. 

Painter-Blaster (Shop 71P):  A painter-blaster prepares surfaces and applies coatings on interior and exterior surfaces, tanks and voids aboard ships and as shop applications to meet specific decorative and preservation requirements.  Duties include abrasive blasting, needle gunning, grinding and sanding surfaces for preparation.  Also included is applying coatings such as alkyds, epoxies and powder coatings by brushing, rolling and spraying.

Temporary Services Electrician (Shop 99E):  A service electrician provides temporary electrical distribution services to U.S. Navy vessels during overhaul / repair operations.  Typical duties may include installing and connecting temporary shore power to lighting, ships systems support equipment and alarm systems.

Temporary Services Pipefitter (Shop 99P):  A temporary services pipefitter installs, tests, maintains and removes temporary services to U.S. Navy vessels during overhaul / repair operations.  Temporary services provided may include HVAC, air and water for various uses, effluent discharge and steam.


Rigger (Shop 72R):  A Rigger selects, installs, and uses cables, ropes, shackles, beam clamps, strongbacks and other weight handling gear to lift, move, and position heavy loads.  Riggers use complex multipoint suspension techniques to maneuver over, under, and around obstacles by tilting, dipping and turning the suspended load.   Other duties include the fabrication, installation and repair of standing and running rigging and wire cable or fiber rope articles such as slings, towing bridles, wire rope nets, and other ship and boat rigging and weight handling gear.  Riggers direct the operation of cranes and similar equipment and plan for clearance and safety factors.  They assist in ship docking operations by laying out and handling docking lines and tackles, snubbing lines on cleats or bollards, hauling in lines by operating capstans, and performing similar duties.  Riggers work with Shipwrights for dock build-ups and for the positioning of the ship during docking operations.

Crane Electrician (Shop 98E):  A crane electrician installs, repairs, manufactures and tests electrical systems and control equipment on cranes.  Typical work includes overhauling, repairing and testing rotating equipment, motor control equipment, switchboard equipment, connectors, communication equipment, batteries, power and lighting systems on a variety of shipyard cranes.

Heavy Mobile Equipment Mechanic (Shop 98M):  A heavy mobile equipment mechanic performs maintenance and repair on various types of heavy-duty equipment such as floating, portal, gantry, bridge and truck cranes.  Duties may also include work on railroad locomotives.  Work may include repair of diesel and gasoline engines gearboxes, power transfer and braking systems and DC generators.

Electronic Industrial Controls Mechanic (Cranes) (Shop 98X):  An electronic industrial controls mechanic for cranes troubleshoots, repairs, adjusts, modifies, and tests electronic controls on lifting and handling equipment.  This includes solid-state motor and generator controls, computer controlled hoist motor drives, radio-controlled components, monitoring and alarm systems, and indication equipment.  Duties also include the duties of the crane electrician.


Non Destructive Tester (Shop 35M):  A non destructive tester identifies physical and mechanical properties or defects of a piece of material or structure without altering its end use capabilities. This demanding and ever changing field requires continuous academic study. The inspection methods used in the naval ship repair industry can be classified to the following groups: Visual, Liquid Penetrant, Magnetic Particle, Ultrasonic, Radiographic and Eddy Current. 


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