View Coast Guard Job Descriptions

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Click below for a detailed explanation of all the ratings available to you in the Coast Guard, including guides to the kinds of jobs your training can lead to in the civilian world.

Photo of an aviation maintenance technician conducting a check of a helicopters internal system.

Aviation Maintenance Technician

AMTs are responsible for maintaining and crewing CG aircraft. The technical training and experience they obtain replicates that of various occupations in commercial aviation.

Photo of an aviation survival technician preparing to jump out of a Coast Guard helicopter.

Aviation Survival Technician

The duties of ASTs include saving lives, providing emergency medical support, and maintaining the survival equipment their shipmates depend upon in emergencies.

Photo of a boatswain's mate driving a small boat in the water near a Coast Guard cutter.

Boatswain's Mate

Are you looking for a real hands-on seagoing experience? Boatswains mate may be the experience for which you are looking.

Photo of a food service specialist preparing a meal in the galley onboard a Coast Guard cutter.

Culinary Specialist

Learn about the various aspects of the restaurant or catering industry while serving your country.

Photo of damage controlmen learning how to fight a fire.

Damage Controlman

DCs are the Coast Guard's maintenance and emergency repair specialists.

Photo of an electrician's mate repairing the light on a navigational buoy.

Electrician's Mate

Electricity is the lifeline of any system, and EMs are the ones the Coast Guard counts on most to keep it all connected and running.

Electronics technician repairing close-in weapons system (CWIS)

Electronics Technician

ETs are in charge of maintaining virtually all of the Coast Guard's electronics systems from navigation systems to command, control and communication (C3) systems.

Photo of a gunner's mate conducting training during a weapons test onboard a Coast Guard cutter.

Gunner's Mate

For those interested in the technical inner-workings of small arms, weapon systems, and pyrotechnics, becoming a gunner's mate can provide the opportunity to learn all there is to know.

Photo of a health services technician reading a patient's chart.

Health Services Technician

Do you want to learn hands-on medical skills? Do you want to save lives? These technicians care for individuals in distress or life-threatening situations.

Photo of intelligence specialists conducting a search for contacts.

Intelligence Specialist

With the Coast Guard taking an increasingly larger role in homeland security, we've established a new and vitally important rating, intelligence specialist (IS). As an IS, you will be one of the first defenders of our ports and waterways.

Photo of a machinery technician conducting a check of a ship's engine systems.

Machinery Technician

MKs maintain engineering systems at virtually every Coast Guard unit and actively participate in operational missions. Technical training and experience obtained are comparable with occupations in commercial engineering and law enforcement fields.

Maritime enforcement specialist conducting a search of a storage compartment on a fishing boat.

Maritime Enforcement Specialist

Protecting America's ports, waterways, and interests at home and abroad. Maritime Enforcement Specialists are trained in Maritime Law Enforcement, Anti-terrorism, Force Protection, and Physical Security.

Photo of an operations specialist working on the computer in a command center.

Operations Specialist

As an Operations Specialist (OS) you will play a central role in protecting the public from all maritime threats and hazards through command and control of boats, cutters, aircraft and personnel. Working from the nerve center where all major operational plans and decisions are made, you will develop search and rescue plans to save mariners in danger, oversee law enforcement operations, and gather and apply intelligence information while operating the most advanced tactical computer systems in the Coast Guard.


Photo of a public affairs specialist taking photos while underway on a small boat.

Public Affairs Specialist

If you have an interest in photography, writing and crisis communications, you could be the main link between the Coast Guard and the public.

Photo of a storekeeper talking on a satellite phone while underway on a Coast Guard cutter.


Good with numbers? Managing money? Apply your skills to help serve the Coast Guard.

Photo of a yeoman assisting a newly reported Coast Guardsman onboard a cutter.


As with any large organization, good human resources management is vital to the Coast Guard.