As a Cryptologic Technician (CT), formerly Communications Technician, you will provide communications support in a war fighting capacity. Being a CT means you’re vital to the ship's intelligence gathering operation.

  • Service
  • Specialisation
    Intelligence, IT and Communications
  • Location
  • Starting Trade Training
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About the role

As a Cryptologic Technician (CT), you will provide communications support in a war fighting capacity. Being a CT means you’re vital to the ships intelligence gathering operation. This role was previously named Communications Technician.

You will be trained to operate highly sensitive and cutting-edge communications equipment to detect, intercept, collect, identify, analyse and exploit electronic emissions in defence of the ship and to gather information to support the mission of the fleet. Additionally, CTs present this information to the ship’s officers to support decision making in threat environments.

As a Cryptologic Technician, you will complete demanding training in technical analysis and equipment usage. Your day-to-day tasks will be real challenges that offer great opportunities for high achievers.

You will need to understand and adhere to strict security requirements that surround this type of work and be able to present information clearly and concisely to command and provide an overall picture of what is happening from the information collected and analysed. Cryptologic Technicians must be able to gain and maintain a Top Secret Vetting security clearance as your day-to-day work is highly sensitive.

Job on base

When Cryptologic Technicians are not deployed they will likely be based in the Wellington area at the Defence Headquarters or Joint Forces Headquarters. Positions in Auckland will be at the Naval Operations Support Unit which is located in Devonport Naval Base. Positions also exist for two year exchanges based in Canberra, Australia.

Job on deployment

Cryptologic Technicians at sea primarily work in Defence Watches which consist of a 7 x 5 routine (i.e. 7 hours on, 7 hours off, 5 hours on, 5 hours off). In addition to the primary duties of a Cryptologic Technician, sailors on board HMNZ Ships are required to perform general tasks, anytime and anywhere to assist with the functioning of the ship. The completion of overnight duties in port is a role performed by all sailors, including Cryptologic Technician, on a rotational basis.

Cryptologic Technicians are primarily employed on the ANZAC Class ships. However with the introduction of the Project Protector Fleet (i.e. Multi Role Vessel and Off Shore Patrol Vessels) Cryptologic Technicians are required to augment these ships in order to enhance the ships Indications and Warnings and Force Protection. There are also opportunities to deploy on one of the other NZDF operational missions overseas or undertake a posting overseas that will allow you to enhance your tradecraft.

Career progression and training

Career progression

Basic Training

Job Training

Ongoing Training

As soon as basic and specialist training is complete, Cryptologic Technicians usually post to a ship, or to a shore establishment within New Zealand, to consolidate the skills learnt and work towards their promotion to Able Cryptologic Technician.

Upon successful enlistment into the Navy you will be posted to Devonport, Auckland. Here you will do 16 weeks of basic military training to find out if you have what it takes to be in the Navy, and learn various subjects including:

  • Teamwork and support
  • Naval history and customs
  • Drill and parades
  • Core mariner skills and weapons training
  • First aid and firefighting
  • Physical fitness
  • Self-discipline

After completing Basic Common Training and obtaining the appropriate security clearance, CT Ratings will begin a four year training plan which will help them progress to the rank of Leading Cryptologic Technician (LCT).

In the first year, ratings will undergo Basic Ranch Training in order to develop an understanding of various concepts and analytical skills required of CTs and how to apply them in a real work environment. After promotion to Able Cryptologic Technician (ACT) ratings will spend the majority of their time deployed on RNZN or Allied vessels, or ashore working to support overseas deployed units as well as attending professional advancement courses to increase their skill base.

Once ratings have gained sufficient experience working on CT systems at sea and ashore they will attend a LCT course. This course will facilitate the skills required to manage a small team in an operational environment.

All sailors are required to complete damage control (DC) training. The three main components of DC are firefighting, flooding and toxic gas drills. Seamanship, sea survival, rifle training is also mandatory to be an effective and safe member of the ships company.

Due to the nature of the CT trade, some courses throughout a ratings career will need to be conducted overseas with other allied partner nations or even deployed on one of their ships. Due to the security clearance a CT holds, you may be deployed on Joint Force NZ missions all over the world with other services (i.e. Army, Air Force).

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Salary and benefits

Careers in the Navy are well-rewarded, as well as being diverse and exciting. As you become more experienced and move up through the ranks, gaining additional skills and qualifications, you will see your salary rise accordingly.


Under Initial Training


Starting Trade Training


Future Potential Earnings

Figures updated on July 1st 2023

Benefits and allowances

Earn a competitive salary while training or learning your trade, along with additional allowances for time spent in the field, at sea, overseas, or deployed on operations.

In addition to salary and allowances, other benefits of joining the New Zealand Defence Force include:

Access to your Service marae or tūrangawaewae

Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels

Free access to gyms and swimming pools on camp and bases

Opportunities to travel

Free and subsidised medical and dental care

Subsidised food and accommodation on camps and bases

Free and subsidised insurance cover

Help to buy a home and save for retirement

Entry requirements



Fitness and Medical


Period of Service

  • You must be 18 years old upon completion of recruit course.
  • You must have been a NZ Citizen for a minimum of 10 years.
  • Meet the citizenship & security requirements to gain TSV security clearance for this trade.
  • You must pass a full Psychological Assessment.
  • Complete a 10-year background history check that can be checked with the New Zealand authorities to obtain high level security clearance.

3 years secondary school. Note, qualifications may be used to assess trade suitability.

There are strict citizenship and security requirements to gain the required TSV security clearance for this trade, including having been a New Zealand citizen for at least 10 years. 

Find out if you’re eligible here.

There may be a return of service period for this trade.

Please contact our 0800 number or talk to your Candidate Experience Facilitator for more information.

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