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Why Join

ASTs are the Coast Guard’s specialized rescue swimmers, equipped with the survival training and experience necessary to keep themselves and others alive at sea or on land. With the gear you maintain, you'll fly on Coast Guard helicopters into a range of challenging situations, from emergencies at sea to floods on land to cliff-side rescues. AST tasks require the highest degree of physical fitness. ASTs are typically assigned to Coast Guard air stations.

  • Physically and mentally fit? 
  • Extremely comfortable in the water? 
  • Able to excel under stress? 
  • Passionate about saving others? 

Advanced water survival
Emergency medical treatment
Life support equipment maintenance

  • ASTs receive a 22-week rating course that includes a 7-week EMT course to earn the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technician (NREMT) certification, a 10-week rescue swimmer course learning helicopter rescue procedures, and a 5-week aviation life support technician course learning the fundamentals of inspections and maintenance of aviation life support equipment.
  • Advanced helicopter rescue and operational fitness training, as well as survival instructor resident courses.
  • Both full-time and part-time Coast Guard-funded educational opportunities that lead to an associate degree, bachelor's degree, or higher may be available.

  • Parachute Rigging and Repair Specialist
  • Emergency Medical Technician 
  • Land and Water Survival Instructor
  • Commercial Aircraft Life Support Equipment Technician 
  • Lifeguard, Ski Patrol, or Other Recreational Protective Service Worker