Navy RS Rating: Retail Services Specialist (2024)

Last Updated on November 16, 2023

This guide provides helpful guidance on enlisting in the Navy as a Retail Services Specialist during Fiscal Year 2024.

As a Retail Services Specialist, you will provide the crew on board with many of the comforts of home, such as snacks, coffee runs and access to laundry services and the barbershop. Your efforts contribute importantly to maintaining a positive atmosphere on board the vessel.

Job Description

Retail Services Specialists (RS) are Navy enlisted Sailors who manage and operate retail, service, and vending activities. This includes ship stores, cash collection machinery, barbershops, laundry operations, postal services, and hotel services.

Managers oversee their performance and use administrative and automatic stock control measures.

Retail Services Specialists operate in a variety of environments, such as offices, ship stores, coffee kiosks (in aircraft carriers), barber shops and laundry plants.

Ashore, their responsibilities involve different assignments, which can comprise bachelor quarters, hospitals, Recruit Training Command, and other Special Shore Programs.

The job requires physical labor and the ability to adjust to various challenges; but the many job tasks allow Sailors to gain essential skills relating to retailing, marketing and shop management.

The RS rating comprises over 2,400 men and women. During a career of 20 years in the Navy, personnel in this rating are expected to devote an average of 60 percent of their time to fleet units and 40 percent to shore stations.


Specific Responsibilities

Retail Services Specialists manage and operate shipboard retail and service activities and are essential for upholding morale on board ships.

  • Running a barber shop on a ship.
  • Assisting with the management and operations of ship laundry and tailor shops.
  • Subscribing and running retail services on the vessel like stores, cafes, and video games.
  • Obtaining and acquiring ship’s store inventory.
  • Keeping financial accounts and accounting systems up to date.
  • Keeping track of inventory and procurement databases.
  • Collecting cash as an agent.
  • Operating and servicing vending and cash collection equipment..

Different Roles


Barbers provide basic military haircuts, adhere to sanitation standards and ensure customer satisfaction.

Laundry Operator

Laundry Operators receive, processing, and issuing of all shipboard laundry. This includes operating washing machines to thoroughly wash items such as linen and uniform articles, as well as maintaining sanitation requirements while providing quality customer service.

Postal Clerk

Postal Clerks are Retail Services Specialists responsible for the management and operation of Navy Post Offices. This includes processing, dispatching and routing mail, servicing customer transactions, keeping records, and managing postal automation systems.

Retail Operator

Retail Operators manage retail activities on board ships, maintaining and operating vending and EPOS machines, and running ship stores.

They check, store, and inventory merchandise; record entering or leaving stock; report any damage or spoiled goods; use scanners to keep tabs on inventories; and ensure storeroom materials are in good condition.

Additionally, they handle orders, receipts, and inventory adjustments, use financial and inventory software applications, create marketing strategies for ship stores, oversee sales and service operations, keep all ships store spaces neat and cleanly ,and provide excellent customer service.

Training and Promotion Opportunities

After graduating from Recruit Training Command Great Lakes (commonly referred to as Navy Boot Camp), you will move on to specialized training.

Class “A” Technical School

You will take part in a 5-week training program at “A” School in Meridian, MS, which covers cash handling, retail operations and laundry operations.

Upon completion of your training, you will receive a placement at a shore station or ship in the United States or overseas.

Promotion opportunities are available regularly, although they are competitive and dependent on performance.

Advanced Training

Later in their career, barbers can take advantage of advanced training opportunities, such as shipboard barber “C” school.

Career Opportunities

Qualified personnel have excellent chances for placement. A Sailor’s motivation, ability, and work ethic will determine how far they can progress in a 20-to-30 year enlisted or officer career.

Retail Services Specialists who have ranked up to E-6 may be eligible to apply for the LDO program. Other program includes STA-21, OCS, MECP, MSC-IPP and the Naval Academy; all of which provide a means to gain a commission.

In Navy Retail, RS personnel will have a diverse and engaging field with exceptional potential for personal and professional growth.

These Sailors will gain problem solving, critical thinking, leadership, organizational skills, and basic computer operating skills (including databases). They will receive training and experience that cannot be matched in the civilian world.

If they choose to separate from naval service, their training and experiences can transition to many sectors within the current global retail industry.

Additionally, opportunities for worldwide travel further enhance their decision to stay in the Navy.

Apprenticeship Program

The U.S. Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP) is a training program administered by the Center for Personal and Professional Development.

It provides a unique opportunity to active duty Navy and Marine Corps service members to gain professional skills and knowledge to satisfy their civilian apprenticeship requirements while still serving on active duty. Upon completion of the program, a Certificate of Completion is granted by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

The USMAP program assists service members in developing job-relevant skills and encourages them to pursue greater military assignments. After successful completion of an apprenticeship, a DOL Certificate of Completion is earned, which can assist them with civilian employment opportunities. The Retail Services Specialist rating includes the following apprenticeship trades:

  • Barber (Personal Service)
  • Retail Store Manager (Retail Trade)
  • Computer Operator

Certification Opportunities

Navy COOL provides a variety of certifications and apprenticeships related to the RS rating.

The Navy COOL website features certifications and apprenticeships offered by various organizations.

  • National Retail Federation
  • American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers
  • Association for Linen Management
  • America Board for Certification in Homeland Security (ABCHS)
  • Dry-cleaning & Laundry Institute International

Qualifications to Join

To become an Enlisted Sailor and Retail Services Specialist, a high-school diploma or equivalent is needed, and U.S. citizenship is required.

To be successful as a Retail Services Specialist, one must possess qualities such as personability and enjoyment of customer service, along with good arithmetic and verbal skills.

They must be able to handle money transactions carefully and show an aptitude for detail-oriented work.

Qualifications to join the military may differ based on an individual’s prior service status.

ASVAB Requirement

To join the Navy as a Retail Services Specialist, applicants must score the minimum ASVAB score.

  • VE + AR = 83

The enlistment qualification requirements above are current as of Fiscal Year 2024, per the Navy Personnel Command. This information is not readily available to the public. So, contact your local Navy Enlisted Recruiter for the most current requirements to join the Navy as an enlisted Sailor.

More Information

To get further information on the Retail Services Specialist (RS) job, contact your Navy Enlisted Recruiter. They will provide detailed information not available online.

The following Navy Enlisted positions may further interest you:

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