- Can I serve part time?
- What is the difference between active duty and reserve service?
- What opportunities are in the Coast Guard Reserve and what are the qualifications to join?
- Do I have a choice regarding location where I will serve?
- What is the USCG Academy and how do I apply?
- Is it true the Coast Guard is very selective?
- How hard is it to join?
- What will happen when I fill out the GET MORE INFORMATION page?
- What will happen when I send an email to the Recruiter in charge?
- What is the difference between the Coast Guard and the other services?
- What are some benefits of joining?
- Does the Coast Guard take people with prior service?
- What if I'm not a United States citizen and do I have to speak English?
- How long am I required to serve?
- What is boot camp like?
- What are the minimum physical fitness requirements?
- Do I have to know how to swim?
- How much pay will I receive?
- Will I receive a bonus?
- Will I receive a cost-of-living allowance?
- Do I qualify as enlisted or as an officer?
- What if I'm a physician, dentist or pharmacist?
- What if I'm a physician assistant?
- What about Direct Commissions?
- What kind of training will I receive?
- How do I become a Coast Guard pilot?
- What are qualifications for Coast Guard pilots?
- What is a rescue swimmer and how do I become one?
- What is a typical day at a Coast Guard station like?
- Where do I get more information?
- What is the likelihood of serving overseas?
- How will I transition back to the civilian world after my Coast Guard service commitment and does the Coast Guard help with job placement after I serve?
- How do I obtain the educational benefits?
- Is there a delayed entry program?
- Can I join with a friend and serve together?
- If I have done drugs, am I disqualified to join?
- Should I drop by the recruiting office?
- Are there any study materials for the ASVAB?
- Does the Coast Guard have information about opportunities for U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps Medical Officers?
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE COAST GUARD
The Coast Guard currently has two JROTC programs.
1) The Claude Pepper Junior Leadership Pilot Program (CPJLPP) was created at the Maritime and Science Technology Academy (MAST) located in Miami, Fl. The CPJLPP was created December 1989 with the passing of Pub. L. 101-225, title II, Sec. 204. This congressional mandate formed the CPJLPP which was modeled off of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) units of other Services. MAST has evolved from a Trade School to a "Top 100," nationally recognized high school with over 95% of its student body college bound immediately after graduation. The huge minority base of the student population routinely receives scholarships to prestigious colleges and universities. The curriculum provides the students a challenging environment in which to learn.
2) Camden County/CamTech High School (CCHS) Junior Leadership Program in Camden County, NC (just outside Elizabeth City, NC). The Junior Reserve Officer Training Pilot Program (JROTPP), now referred to as the Junior Leadership Program (JLP) was created at the Camden County High School (CCHS) on 19 April 2010 in following the legislation in Pub. L. 109-241, title IV, Sec. 401. This congressional mandate formed the JLP which was modeled off of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) units of other Services. The JLP is broken up into two semesters and each student takes JLP classes for one semester a school year. During their "off" semester, the students are expected to participate in calisthenics, drill and extra-curricular activities. CCHS has had the highest rate of graduation in the local Elizabeth City, N.C. area, but the purpose of the JLP is largely to keep students in school through graduation.
Both JROTC programs educate high school students on leadership, citizenship, nautical science, close order drill and general military knowledge.
Yes. The Coast Guard Reserve is a part-time force of nearly 8,000 specially trained people who serve the Coast Guard one weekend a month and two weeks every year. Many reservists have other occupations or are students pursuing a degree. In either case, the Reserve provides the advantages of military service without eliminating other pursuits.
Active duty service is a full-time commitment for the period of the enlistment while reserve service is a part-time commitment, two days a month and two weeks a year. Please note that reservists are subject to active-duty activation in times of national need.
In general, reservists work alongside active-duty men and women filling many of the same basic job functions. Some port security job functions are exclusive reserve assignments. Reserve needs differ by location, and it is important to check with your nearest Coast Guard recruiting office for the current opportunities available.
Active-duty Coast Guard Forces serve where the Coast Guard needs them. Assignments could be aboard one of the many cutters, at a support station, on a flight crew, or at an air station.
Reserve Coast Guardsmen generally serve at a Coast Guard unit within 100 miles of their residence. A recruiter can provide details of possible reserve opportunities.
The USCG Academy is one of the five military service academies. Located in New London, CT. The USCG Academy's mission is to produce leaders of character for service to the nation. About 300 High School graduates enroll annually, leaving four years later with a Bachelor of Science degree and commission as an Ensign.
The USCG Academy is one of the top ten academic experiences in America. Graduates experience much more than intellectual growth. The opportunity to develop physically, morally, and spiritually sets the Academy apart. Two-thirds typically graduate in technical majors, which include Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Operations Research and Computer Analysis, and Marine Environmental Science. Seventy percent compete in Division I and II intercollegiate sports.
The USCG Academy is tuition free. Cadets also earn a modest paycheck. Graduates are obligated to serve for five years upon graduation. Applications are accepted on-line. The annual application deadline is February 1. There are no congressional nominations. We encourage you to talk personally with your Admissions Officer.
Director of Admissions
U.S. Coast Guard Academy
15 Mohegan Avenue
New London, CT 06320-9807 E-mail: email@example.com
The U.S. Coast Guard Academy is a highly selective, degree granting institution that graduates commissioned officers. For more information, including eligibility requirements, visit the Coast Guard Academy website.
Yes, we are a small military service with 38,000 active duty and 8,000 reserve personnel. The Coast Guard is not for everyone, and not everyone who wants to join may be qualified. We have high standards and are very selective with applicants we bring on board.
In order to join the Coast Guard, you must not only meet qualification criteria, but also meet a "whole person" evaluation. You must sincerely desire to serve your country and develop your leadership and professional potential.
Think of your meeting with a recruiter as a "job interview", where your personal skills and attributes will be evaluated and compared with other eligible job applicants. Your recruiter will work with you to fill out a variety of forms that validate your eligibility. You must honestly answer all questions and provide supporting documentation/ information.The qualification criteria include:
- You must be a U.S. citizen or a resident alien.
- You must be between the ages of 17-27, (prior service up to age 29 and up to age 32 if attending an 'A' school) for Active Duty. (If you are 17, you'll need parental consent.)
- Reservists must be between ages 17-39. Prior service personnel should contact their local recruiter for specific programs.
- You must have a high school diploma. GEDs are accepted in rare circumstances.
- You can have no more than two dependents.
As part of the recruitment process, you will have to pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test and a military entrance medical exam. We are now currently accepting minimum qualification scores of 45 or higher in the ASVAB.
You will also be subject to a police background check and as with other military services; felony convictions will disqualify you from consideration. Your credit will also be evaluated.
The "whole person" evaluation considers your attitude, professionalism, honesty, respect, language proficiency, weight/physical abilities and work ethic.
As the first step in the process, we recommend you complete the "Get More Information" form on gocoastguard.com. Your information will be forwarded to your local recruiting office. You will also receive an email verifying that your information has been forwarded. Our recruiters are very busy and it may take up to 72 hours for them to contact you.
Your information will be forwarded to your local recruiting office. Because you have provided some validating information, our recruiters will prioritize contacting you. You will also receive an email verifying that your information has been forwarded. However, our recruiters are very busy and it may take up to 72 hours for them to contact you. If you don't hear back within 72 hours, email: click here
Our Coast Guard recruiters are very busy and cover large areas, so be patient. If you do not receive a message back within 72 hrs, click here to send an e-mail.
The United States Coast Guard is a military, multi-mission, maritime service within the Department of Homeland Security and one of the nation's five armed services. Its core roles are to protect the public, the environment and the U.S. economic and security interests in America's coasts, ports and inland waterways. These capabilities underpin our three broad roles: maritime safety, maritime security and maritime stewardship. There are 11 missions that are interwoven within these roles:
- Search and Rescue
- Marine Safety
- Ports, Waterways and Coastal Security
- Drug Interdiction
- Migrant Interdiction
- Defense Readiness
- Ice Operations
- Aids to Navigation
- Marine Environmental Protection
- Living Marine Resources
- Other Law Enforcement
For more detail on each mission, please see Coast Guard Missions within this site.
The Coast Guard is hiring prior-service people.
Enlistment into the U.S. Coast Guard, or any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, by citizens of other countries is limited to those foreign nationals who are legally residing in the United States and possess a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Alien Registration Card (USCIS Form I-151/551 - commonly known as a "Green Card"). Applicants must speak, read, and write English fluently.
The U.S. military branches cannot assist foreign nationals in obtaining admittance into the United States. Questions concerning immigration to the United States should be asked of the U.S. Embassy. Only after immigration procedures are completed and an applicant is legally in the United States may an application for enlistment be accepted.
Enlistment contracts are for 8 years. The most common contracts consist of 4 years active duty and 4 years in the inactive reserve component. Three, four or six year active duty contracts may be offered in some cases.
Boot camp is an eight-week long training session at the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May, NJ.
Boot camp is tough, both mentally and physically! Its purpose is to prepare you for life in the Coast Guard. Much of your training will take place in a classroom where you will learn valuable skills such as first aid, fire fighting, weapons handling, practical seamanship, and general Coast Guard knowledge. You will have daily physical fitness classes and spend time at the pool learning water-survival techniques. You will meet your Company Commander (CC) on the first Friday of your training. The CC has the responsibility to make a hard-working, efficient team out of 50 or 60 strangers. The CC will teach you military drill, which includes marching, handling the M-1 Garand rifle, and showing you the "ropes" of U.S. Coast Guard life.
After you enter the Delayed Entry Program (DEP), you will receive a copy of the "Helmsman, " a recruit guidebook. Study the entire book. There is a lot of very important information in it. Pay particular attention to the list of items you cannot bring to boot camp, the 11 General Orders, and the Position of Attention. Also, prepare yourself for physical fitness training.
To meet minimum qualifications for graduation, you must be able to perform the following:
(in 1 minute)
male: 29 female: 15
(in 1 minute)
male: 38 female: 32
1.5 MILE RUN:
male:12:51 female: 15:26
SIT AND REACH:
male: 16.50 female: 19.29
COMPLETE SWIM CIRCUIT:
Jump off a five foot platform into the pool, swim 100 meters, and tread water for five minutes.
Yes, you will be tested on your ability to enter a swimming pool from a 1.5 meter platform and safely swim 100 meters in five minutes without touching the side or the bottom of the pool and without any goggles. You'll then have to tread water for five minutes without a life jacket. If you fail to complete this test, you'll be required to get up earlier and attend an additional swim class in the morning before your regular classes.
This is a mandatory requirement for you to graduate from basic training. You should come prepared. The more abilities you have, the more comfortable you'll be. The training staff at Cape May will help you, but time is short.
If you are afraid of being in, on, or near the water, you are not eligible to apply.
There are various types of pay. Basic pay is received by all and is the main component of an individual's salary. There are other allowances, often referred to as special pays, for specific qualifications or events, including dangerous or hardship duties unique to an individual assignment. Click the link below to find the basic pay scales.
You will have to speak to your recruiter about current bonus availability.
Pay tables change periodically to account for changes in the cost of living.
There are several ways to become an officer in the Coast Guard: By successfully graduating from the Coast Guard Academy, successfully completing Officer Candidate School (OCS), or through one of several Direct Commissioning Programs. You must have normal color vision for all officer programs.
Officer Candidate School (OCS) is 17 weeks of training in New London, CT. Studies include nautical science, law enforcement, seamanship, and leadership. When you graduate, you will be commissioned as an ensign (O1) with a three-year, initial active-duty obligation. Upon completion of your initial three years of active duty, you and the Coast Guard will decide if you can extend on active duty.
If you have a four-year college degree from an accredited college and meet the age, physical, and moral requirements, you may apply for OCS. Upon completion of your officer package, you will have an interview with three Coast Guard officers. The completed package will be submitted to a board who will select the top candidates from the packages they receive. For more information, please visit the OCS Home Page or visit your local recruiter.
LCDR Robert Pekari
USCG Headquarters (CG-1121)
Operational Medicine/Medical Readiness Div.
Physician Assistant Force Manager
The Coast Guard has multiple Reserve openings and occasionally active duty positions for qualified physician assistants (PA,) please contact: please contact:
LCDR Robert Pekari
USCG Headquarters (CG-1121)
Operational Medicine/Medical Readiness Div.
Physician Assistant Force Manager
As a professional lawyer, engineer, maritime graduate, or environmental manager, you may also qualify for a Coast Guard Direct Commission. Successful applicants attend a four-week indoctrination school at New London, CT, and receive a reserve commission as an Ensign, Lieutenant Junior Grade, or Lieutenant, depending on your education and experience. For more information on individual programs, please visit our Direct Commissions page.
In the Coast Guard, you can attend any training school you want, permitted you qualify for it. The results of your ASVAB will determine what schools you qualify for. Also, in order to enter into the aviation rates, your vision can be no worse than 20/100 uncorrected, corrected to 20/20. In addition, you need normal color vision to enter into the aviation rates, and any rate that requires you to navigate or work with electricity. It is important to know that all of our schools have waiting lists. They range from a few months to over two years for some ratings. You must have a minimum of 30 months remaining on your enlistment before you can enter any Class A school. If the school you want has a very lengthy wait, you may need to extend your enlistment a number of months to bring the total left on your enlistment up to 30 months.
This is training for a specialty you have chosen. It may involve work details and duty, but the main focus is on technical and professional training.
You will be paid for every day you are in the Coast Guard. You will receive pay according to published pay schedules for your pay grade, in addition to any temporary duty or travel allowances due you.
For reserve, depending on the program, you will receive boot camp and maybe A-school training. Weekend or weekday drills are considered training. Active Duty for Training (ADT) is 12 days of active duty at a Coast Guard unit or Coast Guard school, and is required annually.
To become a Coast Guard pilot, you must first become a Coast Guard officer or be a graduate of another armed service's flight school, and have served on active duty as a military pilot. Prior service military pilots may apply for Direct Commission Aviator positions that become available semi annually. Please contact your nearest recruiter to find out when the next opening will be announced. Commissioned officers in the Coast Guard apply for flight school and are put on a waiting list for the next available convening class, once they have been determined qualified.
A qualification for flight school includes passing a Class 1 Flight Physical. Two big issues, aside from being in good physical health, are dental and vision requirements. The dental exam will check for cavities and other problems with teeth and gums that may be affected by changes in air pressure while engaged in flight. Basically, you will be required to have no dental problems and no cavities. Vision requirements are also very stringent. Eyesight should be 20/20. If not, it must be correctable to 20/20, no exceptions. Uncorrected visual acuity must be better than 20/50 in either eye. There are other limitations imposed, based on the type and strength of the lens prescription. In addition, normal color perception, depth perception, and field of vision are also required.
They are a small group within the U.S. Coast Guard, only about 300 of them service-wide. To join their ranks, candidates must endure physical and mental challenges that rival those facing any potential Army Ranger, Navy SEAL, or Air Force Pararescueman.
The Coast Guard's rescue swimmers are the brave young men and women who hoist or free fall from a helicopter into dangerous seas to perform daring rescues.
The rescue swimmer training school has one of the highest student attrition rates of any special operations school in the military. Roughly 75 students go through the school each year, and fewer than half complete the training.
It really depends on what type of unit you go to. Life at a small boat station is different than life on a ship. Most boot camp graduates will receive orders to a ship. You must remember that everyone in the Coast Guard has started at the bottom and worked their way up. It is very important that you maintain an excellent attitude during this time! Your supervisor will be watching to determine what type of worker you are. Opportunity and respect are given to those who deserve it. At this point, you will start to perform the duties of a crewman at your unit. You must learn everything about your ship and/or small boats at your station. You may be going on rescue missions, assisting with law enforcement, working aids to navigation, or whatever the mission of the unit may require.
For recruiting literature, fill out our Request Form, and more information will be sent to you. See your local recruiter. To find a recruiter nearest you, go to our recruiter locator page.
Coast Guard personnel can be called upon to serve overseas during time of national emergency or on routine deployments of cutters overseas. In fact, Coast Guard personnel have served in every major conflict including Desert Storm and the Iraq war.
However, as a member of the Department of Homeland Security, the majority of Coast Guard assets are used to enforce the law on the seas, protect natural resources and the environment in the nation's ports, major waterways, and homeland coastal waters.
The transition is virtually seamless, as the majority of your training and experience should directly relate to your next job or career. Transition assistance, from resume writing and interviewing workshops to aptitude testing, is available to Coast Guard members prior to departing, if they desire it.
Each unit in the Coast Guard has a point of contact to assist you with answering specific questions or locating the resources you need to begin or finish your education, and for everything in between.
Yes, the Coast Guard has and utilizes the Delayed Entry Program, which allows you to commit to the Coast Guard (and for us to commit to you) up to twelve months prior to beginning your training.
The Coast Guard has a Buddy Program, which allows you and one or more friends to join and begin training together. There is no guarantee however, that following training you will receive the same assignment.
Illegal drug use is prohibited in the Coast Guard or any other military service. Prior conviction of illegal drug use may be disqualifying. All Coast Guard men and women are subject to random drug testing throughout their term of service.
No, first schedule an appointment with a recruiter. Find the recruiting office nearest your location and send the Recruiter in Charge (RIC) an email. Our recruiters are very busy, but they should contact you within 72 hours. Once you speak with a recruiter, they will ask you questions to confirm your eligibility and ask you to provide some information, prior to meeting.
There are quite a few study aids out there to help you prepare for the ASVAB. Although recruiters are not allowed to help you in preparation for your ASVAB test, your local library or student career adviser should have printed study guides with sample tests. The March2Success website, hosted by the U.S. Army, also has online study materials. Click here to visit March2Success.
Coast Guard medical officers are typically residency trained in Family Medicine or Internal Medicine to support the primary care role in Coast Guard practices. Further training opportunities exist for those assigned to Flight Surgeon billets: Aviation Medicine Primary (US Army Fort Rucker or US Air Force Wright-Patterson AFB), Aviation Mishap Investigation and Prevention (USAF), and Operational Aeromedical Problems (US Navy Aeromedical Course). Active duty physicians may also attend courses such as the Homeland Securities Medical Executives, Senior Leadership, Joint Operations Medical Management, and Medical Management of Chemical and Biological Casualties courses. For needs of the service, CG medical officers may sometimes attend a second residency while incurring obligated service upon completion. For more information, Click here to learn more.