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Receive Pay & Benefits as a Coast Guard Member

As an active-duty member in the Coast Guard, you'll be privy to a benefits package that is largely unheard of for most people just starting out. College tuition assistance, housing and meal allowance, free health, dental and eye care, and 30 days paid vacation are just the beginning of the benefits offered.


All active-duty enlisted members entering the Coast Guard start out making approximately $20,000 annually. This is just basic pay. Members may also be entitled to other allowances depending on their status. Other allowances might include sea pay, housing allowance (if you don't use the government housing that is provided), clothing allowance, family separation allowance and hazardous-duty pay. Pay increases are also given based on time in service and promotions. Download the most recent military pay scale.


Through the Post-9/11 GI Bill, we'll help you pay for college or vocational technical training. To find out more, and also get up-to-date official information, visit the new "Post-9/11 GI Bill" (which offers a substantial increase in benefits).

Housing and Meals:

You'll receive additional tax-free money for Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), if government housing is not available in the area you are stationed; Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS), if government dining facilities are not available in the area you are stationed; and a uniform allowance (for enlisted personnel only) to help maintain your uniforms. Tax Advantage: All existing allowances for food, housing and clothing are not subject to federal or state income taxes.

Health, Dental and Eye Care:

While on active duty, you'll receive complete medical, dental and eye coverage, at no cost.


You'll receive 2.5 days paid vacation per month, for a total of 30 days paid vacation a year.

Free Travel:

As a member of the Coast Guard, you may get the opportunity to travel far and wide as part of your job. Not only will you get to see new places, you'll do it on our dime. Also, you will have access to military space-available flights. This is a unique privilege provided to service members, retirees and their families. Under the Space-Available (Space A) program, eligible passengers can fill unused seats on Department of Defense-owned or controlled aircraft, once all the space-required passengers and cargo have been accommodated.


You choose your career path based on your aptitude, physical abilities, security clearance, motivation and determination. The Coast Guard offers all specialties to both men and women equally and these specialties are now linked to the Coast Guard's Credentialing Opportunities On-Line program. You can learn more about how certifications and licenses; relate to Coast Guard specialties by visiting

Life Insurance:

As an active-duty member, you have the option of selecting $50,000 increments up to a maximum of $400,000 in life insurance at a minimal cost. You also may elect to participate in the family life insurance plan and have your dependents covered.

Other Benefits:

The benefits you'll receive on active duty also include certain health care and other benefits for your family. Plus, we allow both men and women to take up to two years off (without pay) to stay home with a newborn. At the end of the two years, you can rejoin at the same rank as when you left.

You'll have shopping privileges at military bases and access to all kinds of recreational facilities.

And, looking into the future, we offer various retirement plans, including one option that lets you retire and start receiving your pension after serving just 20 years.