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ET-ELECTRONICS TECHNICIAN
Last Post 30 Jun 2017 02:42 PM by ET2CIO. 57 Replies.
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chuklesUser is Offline
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chukles

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10 Jan 2010 12:02 AM
    ELECTRONICS TECHNICIAN (ET)


    To view a video of this rate, click here.

    ETs are responsible for the installation, maintenance, repair and management of sophisticated electronic equipment, including command and control systems, shipboard weapons, guidance and fire-control systems, communications receivers and transmitters, data and voice-encryption equipment, navigation and search radar, tactical and electronic-detection systems, electronic-navigation equipment, and computers.

    Types of Duty:

    ETs are stationed throughout the Coast Guard, including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Guam. ETs work out of large and small shops, communications stations, LORAN stations and all major cutters. The large shops are called electronics systems detachments and smaller shops are known as electronic systems support detachment duty. From these units, ETs are dispatched to Coast Guard search-and-rescue stations and smaller cutters to maintain, repair or install communications and navigation systems.
    Training Available:

    Being an electronics technician requires a vast knowledge of electrical theory along with practical hands-on skills needed to repair and maintain C3 systems. Basic Electronics Technician School is one of the longest in the Coast Guard, at 28 weeks. Located in Petaluma, Calif., (just one hour north of San Francisco), students will learn how to repair and maintain HF SSB transceiver systems, antenna systems, VHF mobile transceivers, direction finders, GPS receivers, small boat radar, depth finders, and integrated control systems. Coast Guard 'C' schools are available to ET school graduates and mid-career ETs who are responsible for maintaining close-in weapons systems, fire control systems, air search radar and large cutter radar, to name just a few. At mid-career, high-performing ETs may compete for selection to the Advanced Avionics Integrated Weapons Systems Maintenance course, a 29-week 'B' school worth 32 semester hours. At the pinnacle of ET education opportunities is the Advanced Computer, Engineering, and Technology education program, which provides two years, full-time, paid-for college for the member to obtain an associate or bachelor's degree in engineering or technology.
    Qualifications:

    To be an ET, you should have an interest in electronics and computer systems and an aptitude for detailed work, and you should be above average at solving mathematical problems. You must have normal color vision. Practical experience or prior training in electronic systems maintenance and repair is helpful, but not required.

    Related Civilian Jobs:

    Electronics Technician
    Guidance Systems Specialist
    Radio and Radar Repair
    Computer Technician
    Telephone Repair


    Vr,
    Chuck

    These poor, plain men, dwellers upon the lonely sands of Hatteras, took their lives in their hands, and, at the most imminent risk crossed the most tumultuous sea…and all for what? That others might live to see home and friends. — Annual Report of the U.S. Life- Saving Service, 1885

    Recruiting Website

    Read here for answers to the most often asked questions about joining the Coast Guard!

    I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords. I'd like to remind them that as a trusted Coastie, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves.
    lutori84User is Offline
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    17 Mar 2011 10:03 AM
    I got the ET A school! Im pretty excited... I would like more information... like, what is the chances going ashore vs. going afloat, is it a 8 to 5 job, or is it different. I am married, and although I now this is a sea going service! I just wan to know what to expect! thanks in advance and have a great coastie day!
    magmamUser is Offline
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    28 May 2011 05:43 PM
    My son is putting in for this ET A school. I was wondering if we have anyone here that can give the personal side of this rate or their experience in this rate.
    coastie2679User is Offline
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    04 Jun 2011 05:35 PM
    I will be an ET, but I'm going through DEPOT in about 30 days and I don't have to go to "A" school. I will post more as I go through the process...
    dave.liUser is Offline
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    05 Jul 2011 06:00 PM
    Can anyone describe to me their experiences as an ET? I'm studying for the ASVAB right now. Pretty sure I'll do well. I'm considering full-time and reserves right now. If I do Full-Time it would be for the travel adventure etc. If I do Reserves it's really because I want to be able to finish my Bachelor's without much leftover debt. Although with only 2 years to go I probably won't be accumulating much of it. I also see that there is a lot of reward in returning from bootcamp and receiving training in the Coast Guard, both personally and career-wise. I mostly just want to know the life of an ET. What's good what's bad. Also what kind of personality does it take to be in the coast guard minus all the hokey defending your country with honour blah blah blah. I get that part.
    christnpUser is Offline
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    06 Jul 2011 10:54 AM
    Don't mean to be rude, but not your type of personality I'm afraid -- you would be joing for the wrong reasons (in my opinion) if you just want adventure. Join for your country first, for the job quality and security second, and then for the adventure. Defending your country is no "hokey!"
    “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” -- John Quincy Adams
    coastie2679User is Offline
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    06 Jul 2011 11:03 AM
    NOTHING about defending this country is "hokey". You may want to check that attitude.
    I agree with christnp. If you want "adventure" and "experience" then apply for a job as an electrician on a cruise ship or for "Whale Wars". You'll waste your time (and the Coast Guard's) by just joining for "experience". ESPECIALLY if you think defending your country is "hokey".
    Old Guard2User is Offline
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    06 Jul 2011 11:44 AM
    I think you are taking what he said with too much heart. He isn't saying defending our country is hokey... he just wants answers as to what the rate is truly like. Some people will stand on a platform and talk about how they are doing this for the honor & glory of the nation... meanwhile they hate their job, hate their shipmates and couldn't offer a true perspective of the job. It isn't a matter of "for God & country" he is interested in, it is the job itself. The Navy's motto for a long time was "Join the Navy. See the world." There is nothing wrong with joining for the adventure of it all he also talks about the reward of boot camp and training in the Coast Guard. Best wording? Maybe not. Prosecutable offense and not provide any true feedback on the job itself? No, not at all. I can't add anything because I'm not active duty and no one in my immediate circle was an ET that I can even relate a story or two about.

    As for the gaining experience... how many people post here "I want to do ME because I plan on becoming a cop and I want the experience." Again, I see nothing in Dave.li's post that he should be told to go away summarily. He wants experience, he wants adventure, he wants the reward of boot camp & training... he doesn't want a dog & pony show with flags waving in a patriotic stance. Everyone wants to know what a particular rate of interest holds for the future. Not to mention he posted the question in exactly the right forum, regarding A school & ET's.

    I don't mean to be rude either... but neither one of you have added any insight into what an ET might or might not do... do you know??
    Sector NY, Staten Island
    coastie2679User is Offline
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    06 Jul 2011 03:26 PM
    Old Guard 2: as usual, you are correct. I'm really bad at reading "tone" in forums.
    Dave.li: I apologize if I offended you. As Old Guard 2 points out, I didn't provide any useful information. Perhaps in another 6 months, after I've been an ET for a bit, I'll have some more valuable information for you.
    uberchrisUser is Offline
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    06 Jul 2011 07:19 PM
    some people join for exactly that, experience, job skills and school. whats wrong with that? if you honor your end of the contract you signed, excel in your everyday duties, and take care of your shipmates, how would you be wasting yours, or the coast guards time? maybe i missed something.................?
    coastie2679User is Offline
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    07 Jul 2011 08:07 AM
    As I said, uberchris, I've misread the tone of dave.li's post. When I have something useful to provide, I will post more then.
    Old Guard2User is Offline
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    07 Jul 2011 08:28 AM
    It's ok, point made, apology offered, we move on. Sometimes the written word can be misinterpreted and read wrong. Hey, even I might have been wrong and Dave might be a fool. But I just didn't take it that way and wanted everyone to read again before an attack party started. That's all. Now let's not get off on other crazy topics, this is one area of the forum that should remain on track.

    Anyone that can help Dave and provide an answer as to the life of an ET, I am sure he will greatly appreciate it. This was his first post, let's see what we can muster up to help him out. All friends again, no hurt feelings, everything is just peachy keen my jelly beans.
    Sector NY, Staten Island
    christnpUser is Offline
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    07 Jul 2011 10:17 AM
    @dave.li: I too apologize if I was offensive, it could very well be that I was reading the tone incorrectly. As Old Guard 2 eluded to, it is difficult to accurately get a tone when reading. 

    With that, I definitely don't think it was worded properly... the "... blah blah blah" portion of the post is what set me on edge and it what likely caused me to miss the overall point of the post. Unfortunately I have no experience in the ET rate, but I too am researching the rate and considering it as a possible CG career path. Again, I apologize if my post was offensive.

    I was sure to add in the statement "in my opinion" to hopefully ensure that it was not taken personaly . This is not the proper thread for political debate, so I will refrain from going into any detail concerning some of the other posts in response my comment . Like Old Guard said, move on...

    EDIT: P.S., everything is peachy here !
    “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” -- John Quincy Adams
    Vikingsailor796User is Offline
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    14 Feb 2012 08:18 PM
    Where all the ETs at?
    ET2toCivUser is Offline
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    29 Aug 2012 04:05 PM
    I realize I'm resurrecting the dead, but maybe I could offer some insight for future browsers.

    I went in to the CG in 2001, and got out in 2006. I was an E-2 out of boot camp and was an E-5/ET2 when I got out of the CG. I opted out of the guaranteed 'A' school and was assigned to a 378' as a deck hand straight out of boot camp. After doing my requisite time to E-3, I quickly decided that I didn't want to stay a non-rate forever, so I decided to go to school. I originally was hoping for an aviation rating, but never could passed the eye part of the flight physical. Looking around our boat, I decided to settle on the next best thing. I remember being in the South Pacific in 90+ weather and watching the ETs come out of the air-conditioned Radio room in sweaters. I decided then and there, ET!

    - These are all based on my experience of three years on a 378' cutter -

    The upsides:

    - you're usually in an air-conditioned space, because your equipment can't overheat without malfunctioning. Unless your equipment breaks out on the yard arm of a mast, or in-between the stacks of the main diesels...then it's a little less comfortable.

    - If it aint broke, don't mess with it. Meaning, generally you're not too busy, because your equipment is chugging along like it's supposed to. (I found that the navigation side of things was typically less busy than the communications side.)

    - As a corollary to the above, lots of time to play xbox/computer, take independent learning courses, learn russian, sit in your bunk ALL day and write erotic fiction, sit on the fantail and smoke, lazily roam about the boat so people don't see you in the same spot too often. (These are all ways that I witnessed my fellow ETs spend their day.)

    - you spend a long time at 'A' school. Petaluma has an incredible cafeteria, and is set on a pretty cool compound out in amongst a bunch of pastures/fields. The school isn't difficult, but most people think it is, so you get an uber-leet factor. But you're still not as cool as the ITs

    - People don't really know what it is that you know and do. This is in part to the secrecy of the profession (if they ever caught on they'd make us do work!) and the fact that we don't really know what we were doing. Technology and under-trained technicians typically combine to form a whole lot of magic.

    - when you get it, you're a hero! For doing your job! Okay, sorry for the sarcasm, but looking back on it, I think if we had rewarded the engineer crew for doing their job as much as ETs, we'd have to do it ALL the time. (Either those aux guys really knew how to sell it that they were working...or they were actually working A LOT.)

    The downsides:

    - If it aint broke, don't mess with it. This was also a serious downside to me, in that there was nothing to do! If you get a micro-manager for a supervisor, there is always busy work to be done, but typically there's very little involving your actual job. And because you're supposed to be "on call" at any given time, you typically can't train outside of your set primary duty. (Note: That isn't to say that you can't do some secondary thing, like law enforcement, 'rescue swimmer', health promotion coordinator, etc.)

    - If you ever get bored of it, you'll have to leave and come back to try new things. Some less critical needs ratings have the option of 'lateraling' in to another rating that is more needed, but ET's are typically one of the hardest to keep filled, so no lateraling for you. From what I remember, it might be possible to drop down to E-3 and start up a new track, if they let you. Some times even this isn't an option though and you have to get out and come back in.

    - You probably won't be able to use your ET experience as a civilian, unless for a contractor for USCG/DOD. This is just my experience. I have applied to a lot of jobs, from a Field Technician for weather systems to Comcast Dish Guy and have never gotten a bite. That doesn't mean I haven't been able to use my experience, I just had to get more imaginative. If your willing to stay close to the larger hubs of USCG/DOD traffic, you could probably get a decent job with a contractor. I had a shipmate get out and start at $28 /hr as a consultant for one of the defense contractors. He would work from home via email. Meaning he would reply to emails in his underwear...maybe doing an hour or two of work per day. He eventually go bored of it and got a second job.

    - things don't get too technical. I was expecting to unlock the mysteries of all technology during 'A' school. Not so much. We had this computer-based training process for the first month or two, then sat through other classroom-based instruction on the more practical aspects. If you are in for the knowledge of it, just do this: take a year-long freshman sequence in physics, then a year-long sophomore/junior sequence in experimental techniques. Done? You now know more than probably all (if not all) of the ETs in the Coast Guard about what that oscilloscope really does, or how to actually fix something. Don't get me wrong, ET 'A' school prepares you for your job, which is that it will prepare you to isolate and swap out...that pretty much it. It's all module/card based troubleshooting...is this card's "bad" light on?...swap it out and see if it's still on...and so on and so forth. If you really want to go on in your education, they do have a two year "advanced" education process that gets in to the nitty gritty. You might even end up with a bachelor's...not sure. I think that was a pipeline program for warrant, if I'm not mistaken.


    Note: I also was assigned to a Electronic Support Unit for approximately one year. During that time, I worked a 7-3:30 schedule with an extra long lunch for working out. Looking back on it, it was a great job for great pay. I think my failure to enjoy had something to do with my age (20 years old) but also because it was insanely boring. And with that boredom comes guilt. I always felt guilty because I wasn't doing anything. And if I wanted to do something, it typically involved cleaning things.
    ET2toCivUser is Offline
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    29 Aug 2012 04:17 PM
    If I were to do it all over again, I would probably have gone IT (which didn't exist when I enlisted) or EM. I didn't have any intention of staying in for 20, so my thoughts revolve more around how useful the rating is on the outside. With IT, you're using the same if not at least similar software to many industries (Windows Server), and functioning as a network and sys admin. This gives you directly applicable experience to lateraling over as a civilian. Also, you get the telephone side of things which you could probable take to a telephone company and start without too much relearning of the wheel.

    As an EM, I'm pretty sure you can go through the US Military Apprenticeship Program and use your hours worked toward your journeyman electrician license.

    If either of these don't appeal to you, and you intend to get out, then I recommend thinking for a long time on what you plan to do when you get out. It's my perspective that getting out without much relevant or portable experience has considerably slowed my professional development down. There were times when I could have been competitive for a $20 /hr job as an IT2 but settled with a $12 /hr job as an ET2, which significantly increased the burden of working and going to school.
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    11 Oct 2012 04:29 PM
    thanks for the great information! I'll likely be in the third class coming up, unless 6 people ahead of me jump off the list or get holds. About how far into A school will I get orders to my next unit?
    FloridaGirlUser is Offline
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    11 Oct 2012 06:39 PM
    When you have about 8-10 weeks left.
    Honor: if you need it defined, you don’t have it.
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    26 Dec 2012 11:39 AM
    I am in school online right now, and am hoping to try it during A school. Anyone know how reasonable it is to go to ET A school and take one college class online at the same time? Also, is ET a homework-heavy school, or is it mostly hands-on, in-class stuff? thanks
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    26 Dec 2012 06:05 PM
    I've heard its a pretty homework heavy school
    Take what you like and leave the rest behind.
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    26 Dec 2012 07:19 PM
    Anything is possible. I personally wouldn't risk paying for a class and then possibly failing it. You aren't going to know your course load within the school and I think it would be irresponsible to take a chance for your commitment to the school, what the CG is paying you to do at the time, to suffer as well. If you think that the risk is worth it and that you can balance it all go for it.
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    26 Dec 2012 08:01 PM
    Thanks for the responses. I wasn't planning on taking classes while at A school, just had high hopes. The thought of getting my degree six months earlier than my prior plan sounds prety tempting ;-) I suppose I'll have to ditch that idea until my next unit.
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    26 Dec 2012 08:12 PM
    No doubt. I have my grad degree on hold right now and it is killing me. Depending on my workload at my next unit, afloat, I may have a scarce opportunity to knock out a class or two but will probably have to put it on hold for 18+ more months.
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    27 Dec 2012 06:31 AM
    Yikes, that'd kill me too! If it helps, I know that at AMU (and I am sure at a bunch of other online schools) they will extend the class 180 days for you if you are afloat and can't get all of your classwork in on time.
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    27 Dec 2012 09:30 AM
    Thanks. AMU is an option and they will take most if not all my transfer credits and have the degree I am going for. I will check in to them a little more in the next month or so. I currently do Duquesne University through an online program. Absolutely wonderful school, tier 1, huge military benefits but they do 15 week terms so it limits my options.
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    27 Jan 2013 10:28 PM
    Looking to revive this thread. Anyone have any exciting information about ET? A day in the life? Outlook for advancement? A-School? Types of units ETs are assigned to? Differences between ET and IT (the other rating that I'm considering)?
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    28 Jan 2013 11:33 AM
    Hi Lamp-My son is an ET in the CG. THis is not at all what he planned on doing when he joined. He originally thought he would go MST. From boot he was assigned to the CGC BErtholf [like the Cadillac of cutters]. He put his name on MST list and after 8 or 10 months decided to remove his name from that list and go to ET. Although he still has not decided if the CG will be a career, I was very concerned that changing his choice for A school-they say Choose your rate, choose your fate. I was afraid he might choose something with a shorter wait time and that choice might not translate to a "career" choice. Well we had a few heart to hearts about that decision-basically what he told me is that the ETs seemed like some of the happiest crew on his ship and he could see himself content there...well thats good enough for me. So off to Petaluma he goes, it is a long school but since he was already in Cali h had a car etc. Fast forward and he is now assigned to a cutter out of Boston. He needed some other type of C school class to actually join the ship so for the first couple of weeks he worked at the shop on land until he went back to Petaluma for a class, came back to Boston and finally joined the ship just in time for a patrol. So far he likes the work. He tells me sometimes they are waiting around for things to break, a lot of swapping of parts and long days while on patrol. When in port he is usually done around 1pm. I believe he will be heading for another class in Petaluma shortly.
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    28 Jan 2013 12:52 PM
    That's great, magmam. Thank you. Did he enjoy A-School? What does he do when they're sitting around waiting on things to break--training, busy work, preventative work, nothing at all? I appreciate the feedback! There's not a lot of information out there on ET or IT!
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    28 Jan 2013 07:05 PM
    He thought that A school was long but relatively easy. He was quite happy to have a car there as Petaluma is in the middle of no where. Since he had just come off a cutter in Alameda he had people to go spend the weekend with when he was free. It was a relatively small class. They all worked out their picks and pretty much got what thy wanted out of the available billets. H said while underway there is preventative maintenance they do, fix stuff that breaks-which he says happens more due to the age of the equipment then anything else. THere is still watch, small boat checks[whatever that is...]. He says days underway are usually 12 hours or more but that he rather be busy then bored on a ship. He has managed to take a class during his patrol but there is actually a professor on board.
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    28 Jan 2013 11:25 PM
    Thanks for all this info--it's perfect! One more question: he said school was pretty easy, did he have any prior experience with electronics?
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