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 Selected School (DCSS) Program
  • Direct Commission Maritime Graduate (MARGRAD)
  • Officer Candidate School Reserve Commission
    • Reserve Commission (OCS-R)
    • Temporary Commission (OCS-T)
  • 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, degrees, etc.  All applicants for Coast Guard officer commissioning programs (except Coast Guard Academy applicants) work with a Coast Guard recruiter to prepare and submit their application.  Recruiters arrange an 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 being constantly evaluated by your recruiters!  Applicants who are disrespectful or 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 if you meet the eligibility criteria.  To do this, please consult the following:
    • Coast Guard Recruiting Command’s Officer Application Job Aid Kit, (O-JAK) which contains extensive eligibility information, FAQs, selectivity data, and best practice guidance designed to assist you in creating your application.
    • The Officer Programs page also contains information regarding initial assignments, accession rank/grade and potential career paths for each officer program. To access this information, please visit the Officer Programs page.
  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. “DCE (Direct Commission Engineer).” The application deadlines are 22 September 2014 and 16 March 2015, respectively.  This is when your application is due to your recruiting office.
    Note: Typically, there are more opportunities for selection in the earlier panel, so it is worthwhile to submit an application to compete in the first available panel for your program.  If you are not selected, as long as you remain eligible, you can compete in the second panel.
  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.
  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.
    • Begin the process by filling out some pertinent information that recruiters need to help you. Please visit the on-line screening page, email your recruiter, or participate in a chat session with a Coast Guard Recruiter.
    • Additionally, the contact information for your nearest recruiting office is 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.
  5. Application Resource: The Officer Application Job Aid Kit (O-JAK) describes the various steps and components of the application process in great detail.  Consult the Officer Application Job Aid Kit early to ensure you prepare your application properly.
    Note: Officer Application Job Aid Kit ­must be used in conjunction with your Officer Program check off sheet to develop your application.
  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 a Military Entrance Processing Station (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.
    Note: Be prepared for the interview; it is in a formal setting and is very extensive. Consult the Officer Application Job Aid Kit for interview information & preparation tips.
  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 “CGRC Deadline” date for the associated programs in the “Program Deadlines” section.  Please be cognizant that this is the date by which Coast Guard Recruiting Command must receive your application!
  9. Selection Panel: Your package will compete for selection during 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 Coast Guard Recruiting Command and your recruiter 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.  If selected, you will be informed by Coast Guard Recruiting Command and your recruiter of additional steps that may be required of you, including directions on how to accept or decline your appointment.
    Note: Selection is conditional on your ability to maintain eligibility for commissioning into the Coast Guard.
  12. What's next?  Once you have accepted your selection, Coast Guard Recruiting Command will begin coordinating the following:
    • Commissioning Date
    • Officer Training
    • Initial Assignment*
      *For DCO and SRDC selectees only.  OCS selectees undergo the assignment process during Officer Candidate School.
  13. One final reminder: Applicants for officer programs shall have applications fully completed and submitted to the local Recruiting Office no later than the RO deadline.  These dates are final and recruiters should not feel obligated to make exceptions.


Selection Panel #Officer ProgramRecruiting Office (RO) Deadline and Known Waiver DeadlineCGRC Deadline (CGRC NLT)Panel Start Date
01-15 DCO/SRDCDCL, SRDC, DCPA-SELRES* 18 Aug 201415 Sep 201427 Oct 2014
02-15 OCS-TOCS-T 01 Sep 201429 Sep 201417 Nov 2014
03-15 DCODCA, DCE, DCIO, DCSS, MARGRAD22 Sep 201420 Oct 20141 Dec 2014
04-15 CSPI/WiFICSPI, WiFI5 Jan 20152 Feb 20159 Mar 2015
05-15 OCS-ROCS-R16 Feb 201516 Mar 201527 Apr 2015
06-15 DCODCA, DCE, DCIO, DCSS, MARGRAD 16 Mar 201513 Apr 2015 18 May 2015

*The DCPA program is not considering applicants for active duty positions this year. However, the DCPA program is considering applicants for selected reserve positions.


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 Selected School (DCSS) Program

Environmental Health

Health Services

Maritime Academy Graduate (MARGRAD)

Officer Candidate School (OCS)



Wilks Flight Initiative (WIFI)