Plan Your Next Move to Become a Coast Guard Officer

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This page contains application information for Coast Guard officer programs. Please read the below instructions to ensure you understand all the steps necessary to submit an application.

The deadlines and information in this page apply to the following programs:

  • College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative (CSPI)
  • Direct Commission Aviator (DCA)
  • Direct Commission Engineer (DCE)
  • Direct Commission Intelligence Officer (DCIO)
  • Direct Commission Lawyer (DCL)
  • Direct Commission Physician Assistant (DCPA)
  • Direct Commission Maritime Graduate (MARGRAD)
  • Direct Commission Selected School (DCSS) Program
  • Officer Candidate School Reserve Commission (OCS-R) & Temporary Commission (OCS-T)
  • Direct Commission Prior-Trained Military Officer (PTMO)
  • Selected Reserve Direct Commission (SRDC) Program
  • Wilks Flight Initiative (WiFI)

Application Process:

Overview: The application process for all officer programs consists of compiling a package of relevant document and credentials, including: a narrative, resume, transcripts, letters of recommendation, copies of degrees received, etc. All applicants for Coast Guard officer commissioning programs (with the exception of Coast Guard academy applicants) work with a Coast Guard recruiter to prepare and submit their application. Recruiters arrange the officer interview, commissioning physical exam, and background screening, key components to your application package. Remember to treat the entire application process like a job interview, your professionalism and integrity are evaluated by your recruiters. Applicants who display behavior that is inconsistent with the Coast Guard core values: honor, respect and devotion to duty, will be disqualified from the process.

Timeline: Building a compelling application typically takes several months to complete.

1. First Step: Your first step should be to determine your program(s) of interest, and whether you meet the eligibility criteria. To do this, please consult the following:

     a) Coast Guard Recruiting Command’s officer application job aid kit (OJAK) which contains extensive information relevant to officer commissioning programs.

     b) Officer program page (continue to select the more info buttons to read about specific eligibility criteria for our officer programs).

     c) Officer opportunities page to read about career fields, promotions, pay and benefits, initial training, and officer FAQs.

2. Determine your deadline: based on your program of interest, you should then read the information in the program deadline dates section below to educate yourself on the application deadlines. Several programs have multiple opportunities to compete for selection.

Example: Find the program that you wish to compete for, i.e. Direct Commission Engineer (DCE) and then find the corresponding panel number. For DCE, the panel numbers are 01-14 and 04-14. This is when your application is due to your recruiting office (RO).

3. Contact Your Recruiter: You should then get in touch with your nearest recruiting office as soon as possible, well in advance of the RO deadline, whether you are a Coast Guard member, a civilian, or a member of another service. Begin the process by filling out some pertinent information that recruiters need to help you. Participate in a chat sessions with an RO. Additionally, find the contact information for your nearest recruiting office, located on our find a recruiter page. Your recruiter will screen you to ensure that you meet program eligibility criteria, character criteria, and medical criteria.

4. Begin your Application: Find your program in the program application forms section below, and begin the application paperwork. The officer program check-off sheet relevant to your program will assist you and your recruiter in compiling all the information necessary for you to compete for an officer selection. A background screening will also be a part of this process.

  • Coast Guard Members: You will utilize the check-off sheets for your program that indicate they apply to Coast Guard members.
  • Civilians/Members of Other Services: You will use the check-off sheets for your program that apply to civilians or a member of another service.

5. Application Resource: CGRC’s officer application job aid kit (OJAK) is designed to help you and your recruiter compile a compelling application. This document contains application best practices, data, statistics, and program eligibility information. OJAK should be used in conjunction with your officer program check-off sheet.

6. Physical Exam: Please be aware that a qualifying commissioning physical is required to ensure that you are medically fit for service. Your recruiter will assist you in scheduling your physical at MEPS. Current service members may obtain a commissioning physical from a military service provider.

7. Interview: Another major aspect of your application is an interview that is conducted by an impartial board of three commissioned Coast Guard officers. These officers will evaluate your potential to be a successful officer in the organization. Your recruiter will arrange your interview.

8. Application Submission: Once your package is complete, your recruiter will conduct a quality check to ensure that all required documents are present. Your recruiter, and only your recruiter, will submit your application to the Coast Guard Recruiting Command (CGRC). The deadline for this submission is listed as the to CGRC NLT date for the associated programs in the program deadlines section. Please be cognizant that this is the date by which CGRC must receive your application.

9. Selection Panel: Your package will compete for selection in the Panel relevant to your program, which convenes on the panel start date listed below in the program deadline dates section.

10. Stay in Touch: Ensure you maintain contact with your recruiter throughout this period of time.

11. Panel Results: You will receive a notification from the CGRC if you are selected. Typically, notifications occur within approximately one month following the conclusion of the panel. You will also receive a notification if you are not selected.

As a reminder:

Applicants for officer programs shall have applications fully completed and submitted to the local RO no later than the deadline in the chart below.


Selection Panel # Officer Program Recruiting Office (RO) Deadline CGRC Deadline (CGRC NLT) Panel Start Date




























 03 FEB14



4. The following programs will be considered for each panel, as long as FY14 vacancies exist.

01-14 (DCO): DCA, WiFI, DCE (Note 1), DCIO, DCPA, DCSS, MARGRAD, PTMO (Note 2)
02-14 (DCO): DCPA, DCL
03-14 (OCS-T): OCS-T
05-14 (CSPI): CSPI
06-14 (OCS-R): OCS-R

Note 1: DCE will consider the following degrees:

  • C4IT (command, control, communications, computers, and information technology degrees)
  • Mechanical engineering
    *Of the C4IT degrees, electrical engineering will be highly sought after. Please refer to the OJAK for more information.

Note 2: PTMO will consider the following specialties/degrees:

  • Management
  • Human Resources
  • Finance
  • Engineering (C4IT and Mechanical)
  • Intelligence

*Individuals must either have a degree in these specialty areas, or have extensive training in these specialty areas.  Please refer to the OJAK for more information.

Before you begin, you can download the officer application job aid kit.  This document contains overviews, best practices, statistics, and a FAQ section for every officer program the Coast Guard offers.

Officer Application Job Aid Kit (pdf)

Downloadable Forms

Clinical and Rehabilitation Therapist

College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative (Scholarship Program)

Dental Officer

Direct Commission Aviator (DCA)

Direct Commission Engineer (DCE)

Direct Commission Intelligence Officer (DCIO)

Direct Commission Lawyer (DCL)

Direct Commission Physician Assistant (DCPA) Program

Direct Commission Selected School (DCSS) Program

Environmental Health

Health Services

Maritime Academy Graduate (MARGRAD)

Officer Candidate School (OCS)



Prior Trained Military Officer (PTMO)

Wilks Flight Initiative (WIFI)