Back to Top

Active-Duty Officer FAQ

What are the job specialties for officers?

Officers can specialize in

  • Aviation
  • Command, Control, Communications and Computers (C4)
  • Engineering Logistics
  • Civil Engineering
  • Naval Engineering
  • Financial Resource Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Health Services
  • Legal
  • Marine Safety
  • Operations (Afloat, Ashore, Intelligence, Law Enforcement)
  • Reserve Program Management

As a member of the Coast Guard, do I get paid time off for maternity leave?

The Coast Guard is proud to have fully integrated women in our operations at all echelons since 1978. The Coast Guard recognizes that our mission readiness is directly tied to the health and well-being of our service members and that childbirth can be a challenge for women in the service. Accordingly, the Commandant has directed eligible members be authorized up to 12 weeks of maternity leave following the birth of a child.

Do I have any choice in selection of location or assignments?

Every member of the Coast Guard, officer and enlisted alike, request assignments on something similar to an electronic resume. The request may contain several choices; final determination of assignment is made by an assignment officer, who must balance the workforce nationwide. Not every location is always available.

Does the Coast Guard offer an ROTC program at colleges?

The Coast Guard does not offer a ROTC program.

Does the USCG have a JROTC program?

Yes, the Coast Guard has a JROTC Program. You can learn more about that here.

How do I apply to Officer Candidate School?

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.

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?

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.

What are the qualifications to join the Coast Guard?

Following are the basic requirements for becoming a member of the Coast Guard:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or a Resident Alien.
  • Have reached your 21st but not your 42nd birthday (37th birthday for Direct Commission Aviator, and 27th for CSPI) as of 30 September of the fiscal year in which the selection panel convenes.
  • Prior-service personnel should contact their local recruiter for specific programs.
  • Have a high school diploma. GEDs are accepted in special circumstances.
  • Have no more than three dependents.
  • Pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test.
  • Pass a military entrance medical exam.

What happens during a deployment?

Deployment generally refers to an extended assignment away from your home base. Larger Coast Guard cutters may have extended deployments of up to three months or longer during which they patrol and visit other ports. However, mid-size and smaller cutters as well as air assets generally function in and around the home base where your son or daughter is assigned and generally deploy for a few days to a few weeks at a time.

What is a Port Security Unit (PSU)?

Port Security Units (PSUs) are expeditionary forces primarily responsible for providing the Department of Defense layered defensive protection utilizing both waterside and landside security forces. The PSUs can also provide limited domestic support to Captains of the Port in executing port security operations. To learn more, watch this short video.

What is the difference between active duty and reserve service?

Active-duty service is a full-time commitment for the period of the enlistment while reserve service is a part-time commitment, 2 days a month and 2 weeks a year. Please note that reservists are subject to active-duty activation in times of national need.

What kinds of benefits does the Coast Guard provide?

All incoming Coast Guardsmen earn a competitive salary based on rank and additional benefits that are hard for young people to come by in the civilian world like free medical, dental and eye care, and for active - duty members, possible housing, meal and uniform allowances.

What will happen when I fill out the APPLY NOW page?

Your information will be forwarded to your local recruiting office. 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 to contact you. If you don't hear back within 72 hours, it is recommended that you click here to speak with a chat representative. Because of the personal/sensitive nature of the information you've submitted, only limited individuals have access to it. You do not need to reapply but simply go into the general chat forum to discuss your issue or concern.