Plan Your Next Move to Become a Coast Guard Officer

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Application Process

  1. Overview: This page contains instructions on how to apply to Active Duty Coast Guard officer programs, and includes information on deadlines, best practices, and a list of required application documents.
  2. Summary: The application process for all officer programs consists of compiling a package of relevant documents and credentials, including: a narrative, resume, letters of recommendation, transcripts, degrees, awards, 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 your background and financial screening, and officer interview; key components to your application package. For most applicants, recruiters also arrange a commissioning physical exam at a MEPS.

    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.

  3. Timeline: Building a compelling application requires several months of dedicated effort. Start now.

Application Steps

  1. Plan Your Path: Your FIRST STEP is to determine your program(s) of interest, and if you meet the eligibility criteria.  Consult the following:
  2. Determine Application Deadline:  Consult the Application Deadlines section of this page to determine the due date for your application, and the projected notification and hire dates associated with your program.
    • The "application deadline" is the latest possible date that you can submit your application to your recruiting office.
    • You MUST start processing with your nearest recruiting office at least two months in advance of the deadline to ensure a medical and other screening is completed on time.
  3. Contact Your Recruiter: You will submit your application through your local recruiting office, regardless of whether you are a current Coast Guard member, a civilian, or a member of another branch of the armed forces.
    • The recruiting office closest to you can be found on our Find A Recruiter page.
  4. Program Eligibility Screening:  Your recruiter will conduct a screening to ensure your presumption on the program(s) you are eligible for is correct.  The screening process will validate that you meet the specific set of academic, financial, character, dependency, age, military service and citizenship criteria for the relevant program.
  5. Medical/Physical Screening: Meeting height/weight standards and passing a commissioning physical exam are required to ensure that you are medically fit for service.
    • Civilians: Your recruiter will schedule you for a commissioning physical exam at a military entrance processing station (MEPS) to ensure you meet physical standards for commissioning.  You must also meet height/weight standards.
    • CG Members & Members of Other Military Services: You must complete a commissioning physical with a military physician.  Other Military Service members must meet height/weight standards.
    • DCA and WiFI Applicants: You must pass a Class1A Flight Physical. You do not need to complete a commissioning physical.
  6. Start Application: Fill out the Officer Program Application (CGRC-1131) form and your program's check sheet which can be found in the "Application Documents" section of this page...and begin to compile your application.
    • Current members of the Coast Guard: Use the application that applies to current Coast Guard members.
    • Civilians, former Coast Guard members, and members of other military services: Use the application that applies to Civilians or a member of another service.  Members of the Coast Guard IRR will also use this application.
  7. Complete Application:  Remember, you own your application.  It is your responsibility to ensure your application is complete, and that it reflects your best effort.
    • Consult the O-JAK for extensive best practices.
  8. Interview: Once your application package is complete, your recruiter will schedule you for an interview with three Coast Guard officers who will provide a recommendation on your potential to become a CG officer.  Recruiters coordinate interview boards with local CG units.
    • Be prepared: this is a formal interview. Consult the O-JAK for interview information and preparation tips.
  9. Submit Application:  You will submit your application to your recruiter by the Application Deadline.
  10. Recruiter and CGRC Review:  After submitting your application to your recruiter, the following actions will take place:
    • Recruiter Review: Your recruiter and the recruiter in charge (RIC) will conduct a final review of your application, incorporate the results of the interview, and submit your application to the Coast Guard Recruiting Command (CGRC).
    • Coast Guard Recruiting Command Review: CGRC will review your application for eligibility errors and issues.  If issues are noted, your recruiter will be notified. If it is deemed that you are ineligible, CGRC will provide formal correspondence to you following the conclusion of the panel. (Be prepared for your recruiter to contact you for resolution of issues).
    • Prepared for Panel: Once CGRC review concludes, your application will be prepared for competition in a selection panel.
  11. Selection Panel:  The selection panel is the venue in which your application is considered with all other eligible applications for your program.  The panel consists of a body of Coast Guard officers (on average a group of six or seven) independent of CGRC.  The panel members are different for each panel.  Panels make the final decision on which applicants will receive offers.
  12. Panel Results:  You will receive notification from your recruiter regarding your selection status; Primary, Alternate, or Non-select.  Typically, notifications will occur within a month from the start of the panel.  This will be followed by official correspondence from CGRC.
  13. What's Next?
  14. Not Selected? If you are not selected, don’t give up!   You may continue to apply if you remain eligible. Notify your recruiter if you intend to re-submit your application. CGRC Officer Program staff members offer application feedback, and you may request a feedback session through your recruiter.

FY17 Officer Program Selection Panel Season


Selection Panel # Officer Programs RO and Known Waiver Deadline Panel Date Projected Notification Date (Approximate) Projected Commissioning and School Date (OOA)
08-16 OCS-R 06JUN2016 15AUG2016 SEP2016 S: JAN2017
01-17 DCPA, SRDC 15AUG2016 17OCT2016 NOV2016 C:MAY/JUL2017 S:JUN/AUG2017
02-17 OCS-T 22AUG2016 31OCT2016 DEC2016 S:AUG2017, JAN2018
04-17 CSPI, CSPI-SLRP, WiFI 03OCT2016 12DEC2016 JAN2017 BOOT CAMP:JUN2017
05-17 OCS-R 07NOV2016 06FEB2017 MAR2017 S:AUG2017 JAN2018
06-17 CSPI, CSPI-SLRP, WiFI 09JAN2017 06MAR2017 APR22017 BOOT CAMP:JUN2017
07-17 DCA, DCE, DCIO, DCL, DCPA, DCSS, MARGRAD, PTMO 17FEB2017 24APR2017 MAY2017 C:DEC2017 S:JAN2018
08-17 OCS-R 05JUN2017 14AUG2017 SEP2017 S:JAN2018


Program Specific Check Sheets

College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative (Scholarship Program)

Wilks Flight Initiative (WiFI)

CSPI-Student Loan Repayment Program (CSPI-SLRP)

Officer Candidate School (OCS)

Coast Guard Academy

No forms for this program.

Direct Commission Aviator (DCA)

Direct Commission Physician Assistant (DCPA) Program

Direct Commission Engineer (DCE)

Direct Commission Intelligence Officer (DCIO)

Direct Commission Lawyer (DCL)

Direct Commission Selected School (DCSS) Program

Maritime Academy Graduate (MARGRAD)

Prior Trained Military Officer (PTMO)

Clinical and Rehabilitation Therapist

Dental Officer

Environmental Health

Health Services