Back to Top


How hard is it to join?

In order to join the Coast Guard, you must not only meet qualification criteria, but also meet a whole person evaluation. You must sincerely desire to serve your country and develop your leadership and professional potential.

Think of your meeting with a recruiter as a job interview, where your personal skills and attributes will be evaluated and compared with other eligible job applicants. Your recruiter will work with you to fill out a variety of forms that validate your eligibility. You must honestly answer all questions and provide supporting documentation/ information.

The qualification criteria include:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or a resident alien.
  • You also must be between 17-35 (If you are 17, you'll need parental consent.) though some reserve and officer programs allow you to be older.
  • Reservists must be between ages 17-40. Prior-service personnel should contact their local recruiter for specific programs.
  • You must have a high school diploma. GEDs are accepted in rare circumstances.
  • You can have no more than three dependents.

As part of the recruitment process, you will have to pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test and a military entrance medical exam.

You will also be subject to a police background check and as with other military services; felony convictions will disqualify you from consideration. Your credit will also be evaluated.

The whole person evaluation considers your attitude, professionalism, honesty, respect, language proficiency, height/weight, physical abilities, and work ethic.

As the first step in the process, we recommend you complete the APPLY NOW form on 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. 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.

Do I have my choice of job specialties in the Coast Guard?

Coast Guard men and women serve in various locations throughout the world in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the Caribbean. Most jobs are located throughout the United States and Puerto Rico from Maine to Florida; Texas to Minnesota; and California to Hawaii. We'll review the aptitudes that you demonstrate on your ASVAB test and any prior experience you have in your requested fields.

What happens if I am qualified and want to transfer to another specialty?

If you are already assigned to a job specialty, you can attend any Class 'A' school you want if you qualify. Changes in career paths can be discussed with your supervising officer as well as with your personnel detailer.

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

How do I learn more about the Coast Guard?

For more information, please fill out the request form.

Contact a local recruiter or, chat live with a recruiter during the hours displayed on the chat page.

Are there any study materials for the ASVAB?

There are quite a few study aids out there to help you prepare for the ASVAB. Although recruiters are not allowed to help you in preparation for your ASVAB test, your local library or student career adviser should have printed study guides with sample tests. The March2Success website, hosted by the U.S. Army, also has online study materials. Click here to visit March2Success.

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.

Can I be deployed overseas while serving at a Port Security Unit?

Port Security Units are expeditionary units and are routinely deployed overseas in support of the Department of Defense.

Can I join with a friend and serve together?

The Coast Guard has a Buddy Program, which allows you and one or more friends to join and begin training together. There is no guarantee however, that following training you will receive the same assignment.

Can I serve part time?

Yes. The Coast Guard Reserve is a part-time force of nearly 8,000 specially trained people who serve the Coast Guard one weekend a month and two weeks every year. Many Reservists have other occupations or are students pursuing a degree. In either case, the Reserve provides the advantages of military service without eliminating other pursuits.

Can my son or daughter attend religious services?

The Coast Guard does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, or religion. Members are allowed to participate in religious services as the mission permits.

Do I have a choice regarding location where I will serve?

Active-duty Coast Guard Forces serve where the Coast Guard needs them. Assignments could be aboard one of the many cutters, at a support station, on a flight crew, or at an air station.

Reserve Coast Guardsmen generally serve at a Coast Guard unit within 100 miles of their residence. A recruiter can provide details of possible reserve opportunities.

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.

Do I have to know how to swim?

Yes, you will be tested on your ability to enter a swimming pool from a 1.5 meter platform and safely swim 100 meters in five minutes without touching the side or the bottom of the pool and without any goggles. You'll then have to tread water for five minutes without a life jacket. If you fail to complete this test, you'll be required to get up earlier and attend an additional swim class in the morning before your regular classes.

This is a mandatory requirement for you to graduate from basic training. You should come prepared. The more abilities you have, the more comfortable you'll be. The training staff at Cape May will help you, but time is short.

If you are afraid of being in, on, or near the water, you are not eligible to apply.

Do I qualify as enlisted or as an officer?

There are several ways to become an officer in the Coast Guard: By successfully graduating from the Coast Guard Academy, successfully completing Officer Candidate School (OCS), or through one of several Direct Commissioning Programs. You must have normal color vision for all officer programs.

Officer Candidate School (OCS) is 17 weeks of training in New London, CT. Studies include nautical science, law enforcement, seamanship, and leadership. When you graduate, you will be commissioned as an ensign (O1) with a three-year, initial active-duty obligation. Upon completion of your initial three years of active duty, you and the Coast Guard will decide if you can extend on active duty.

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.

Does every Coast Guard unit offer part-time reserve opportunities?

No. Some Coast Guard units, especially for aviation, only have billets for active-duty personnel. Reserve opportunities are available in many locations but are job and geographic specific. In general, the candidate must live within 100 miles of the unit with the opening.

Does the Coast Guard have information about opportunities for U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps Medical Officers?

Coast Guard medical officers are typically residency trained in Family Medicine or Internal Medicine to support the primary care role in Coast Guard practices. Further training opportunities exist for those assigned to Flight Surgeon billets: Aviation Medicine Primary (US Army Fort Rucker or US Air Force Wright-Patterson AFB), Aviation Mishap Investigation and Prevention (USAF), and Operational Aeromedical Problems (US Navy Aeromedical Course). Active duty physicians may also attend courses such as the Homeland Securities Medical Executives, Senior Leadership, Joint Operations Medical Management, and Medical Management of Chemical and Biological Casualties courses. For needs of the service, CG medical officers may sometimes attend a second residency while incurring obligated service upon completion. Click here to learn more.

Does the Coast Guard offer an ROTC program at colleges?

The Coast Guard does not offer a ROTC program.

Does the Coast Guard take people with prior service?

The Coast Guard is hiring prior-service people.

Does the USCG have a JROTC program?

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

How can my son or daughter prepare for basic training?

Their recruiter will provide instructions regarding both physical and mental preparation for basic training. They will also receive a copy of the Helmsman, a recruit guidebook, which details items that they can and cannot bring to basic training. The recruiter will help guide your son or daughter through the process. You can learn more about physically preparing for basic training by going to the following link.

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 do I become a Coast Guard pilot?

To become a Coast Guard pilot, you must first become a Coast Guard officer or be a graduate of another armed service's flight school, and have served on active duty as a military pilot. Prior service military pilots may apply for Direct Commission Aviator positions that become available semi annually. Please contact your nearest recruiter to find out when the next opening will be announced. Commissioned officers in the Coast Guard apply for flight school and are put on a waiting list for the next available convening class, once they have been determined qualified.

How do I obtain the educational benefits?

Each unit in the Coast Guard has a point of contact to assist you with answering specific questions or locating the resources you need to begin or finish your education, and for everything in between.

How long am I required to serve?

Enlistment contracts are for 8 years. The most common contracts consist of 4 years active duty and 4 years in the inactive reserve component. Three, four or six year active duty contracts may be offered in some cases.

How much pay will I receive?

There are various types of pay. Basic pay is received by all and is the main component of an individual's salary. There are other allowances, often referred to as special pays, for specific qualifications or events, including dangerous or hardship duties unique to an individual assignment. Click the link below to find the basic pay scales.Click here for the current pay scale

How will I communicate with my son or daughter?

During boot camp, letters are welcome, but care packages are not. Phone calls are not permitted unless it is an emergency. If there is a family emergency, you should contact your local Red Cross office who can relay messages to military personnel worldwide. Upon arrival at Cape May, a letter from the Commanding Officer is sent home by each recruit within the first few days of entering recruit training. In later weeks of basic training, recruits may be allowed to use pay phones at the discretion of their company commander. You are invited and encouraged to attend their graduation from basic training. After graduation and assignment to a unit, they can communicate with you during non-duty hours as they wish.

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.

If I have done drugs, am I disqualified to join?

Illegal drug use is prohibited in the Coast Guard or any other military service. Prior conviction of illegal drug use may be disqualifying. All Coast Guard men and women are subject to random drug testing throughout their term of service.

Is it true the Coast Guard is very selective?

Yes, we are a small military service with 38,000 active duty and 8,000 reserve personnel. The Coast Guard is not for everyone, and not everyone who wants to join may be qualified. We have high standards and are very selective with applicants we bring on board.

Is there a delayed entry program?

Yes, the Coast Guard has and utilizes the Delayed Entry Program, which allows you to commit to the Coast Guard (and for us to commit to you) up to twelve months prior to beginning your training.

Is there an opportunity to receive advanced training in the specialty?

Yes. You can receive advanced training at Class 'A' schools. After you've applied that training on the job, some specialties offer additional advanced training as well.

Should I drop by the recruiting office?

No, first schedule an appointment with a recruiter. Find the recruiting office nearest your location and send the Recruiter in Charge (RIC) an email. 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.

What about Direct Commissions?

As a professional lawyer, engineer, maritime graduate, or environmental manager, you may also qualify for a Coast Guard Direct Commission. Successful applicants attend a four-week indoctrination school at New London, CT, and receive a reserve commission as an Ensign, Lieutenant Junior Grade, or Lieutenant, depending on your education and experience. For more information on individual programs, please visit our Direct Commissions page.

What are qualifications for Coast Guard pilots?

A qualification for flight school includes passing a Class-1 Flight Physical. Two big issues, aside from being in good physical health, are dental and vision requirements. The dental exam will check for cavities and other problems with teeth and gums that may be affected by changes in air pressure while engaged in flight. Basically, you will be required to have no dental problems and no cavities. Vision requirements are also very stringent. Eyesight should be 20/20. If not, it must be correctable to 20/20, no exceptions. Uncorrected visual acuity must be better than 20/50 in either eye. There are other limitations imposed, based on the type and strength of the lens prescription. In addition, normal color perception, depth perception, and field of vision are also required.

What are some benefits of joining?

  • A steady income: You are paid twice a month, on the 1st and 15th.
  • Advancement: You are promoted based on your knowledge of your chosen career field, your performance, time in pay grade, and time in service.
  • Paid vacation: You earn 30 days each year.
  • Training: All specialties in the Coast Guard are open to women. You choose your career path based on your aptitude, physical abilities, security clearance, motivation and determination.
  • Health care: While on active duty, you receive complete medical and dental care at no cost.
  • Life insurance: You have the option of selecting $50,000 increments up to a maximum of $400,000 in term lifeinsurance.
  • Allowances: Housing and meals will be provided or you will receive extra allowances for them. Enlisted personnel receive a uniform allowance to help maintain uniforms.
  • Tax advantage: Only your basic monthly pay is subject to federal or state income tax. All other allowances are tax free.
  • Post-9/11 GI Bill or the Montgomery GI Bill: Please visit for the latest info.
  • Tuition assistance: While on active duty or reserve, you are eligible to receive monetary assistance, defraying the cost of college-accredited courses.
  • Additional benefits: There are exchange and commissary privileges, moving allowances, temporary lodging expenses, military air travel, retirement benefits, Veterans Administration home loans, and more.

What are the enlistment options for my son or daughter?

Your son or daughter can join on a full time (active duty) or part time (reserve) basis. Depending upon their citizenship, education level, or prior-military service, they may enter at either the enlisted or officer level. Potential enlisted members must have a high school degree or equivalent. Officer candidates must have or be working toward a college degree. Active-duty enlistees and officer candidates can select from among a variety of job specialties. Many officer programs are available targeting college sophomores and juniors, college graduates, those with professional degrees and aviation training, and current Coast Guard enlisted personnel with college degrees.

What are the minimum physical fitness requirements?

To meet minimum qualifications for graduation, you must be able to perform the following:

(in 1 minute)
male: 29 female: 15

(in 1 minute)
male: 38 female: 32

male:12:51 female: 15:26

Jump off a 1.5 meter platform into the pool, swim 100 meters unassisted.

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.
  • Be between the ages of 17-35.
  • Reservists must be between 17-40. 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 are the responsibilities of a PSU?

Port Security Units are organized, trained, and equipped to provide physical security, maritime interdiction capability, and point defense of strategic shipping, designated critical infrastructure, and high value assets.

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 if I have a problem getting time off from my employer to fulfill my military service obligations?

By law, as a member of the Coast Guard Reserve, you must, upon request, be granted a leave of absence to satisfy a requirement for military training. The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act says that employers are required to provide reservists with time away from their jobs to perform military duty. However, you must notify your employer that you intend to take military leave. You must be re-employed after completion of your military duty and returned to your job within a reasonable time. You must be treated as though you had never left employment, including scheduled pay raises, promotions or credit for longevity or vacation. Your employer has to hold a job for up to 60 months if you accept voluntary orders.

What if I'm a physician assistant?

The Coast Guard has multiple Reserve openings and occasionally active duty positions for qualified physician assistants (PA,) please contact:

LCDR Robert Pekari
USCG Headquarters (CG-1121)
Operational Medicine/Medical Readiness Div.

What if I'm a physician, dentist or pharmacist?

Please contact: LCDR Robert Pekari
USCG Headquarters (CG-1121)
Operational Medicine/Medical Readiness Div.
Physician Assistant Force Manager

What if I'm not a U.S. citizen and do I have to speak English?

Enlistment into the U.S. Coast Guard, or any branch of the U.S. armed forces, by citizens of other countries is limited to those foreign nationals who are legally residing in the United States and possess a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Alien Registration Card (USCIS Form I-151/551 - commonly known as a Green Card). Applicants must speak, read, and write English fluently. The U.S. military branches cannot assist foreign nationals in obtaining admittance into the United States. Questions concerning immigration to the United States should be asked of the U.S. Embassy. Only after immigration procedures are completed and an applicant is legally in the United States may an application for enlistment be accepted.

What is a drill?

Drills are periods are Inactive-Duty Training (IDT), under orders, scheduled for the performance of augmentation training, formal training, or unit training. No more than two drills can be performed on one calendar day, and each drill must be at least four hours long. Most units schedule multiple drills over one weekend each month (two drills Saturday and two drills Sunday).

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 operationsTo learn more, watch this short video.

What is a rescue swimmer and how do I become one?

They are a small group within the U.S. Coast Guard, only about 300 of them service-wide. To join their ranks, candidates must endure physical and mental challenges that rival those facing any potential Army Ranger, Navy SEAL, or Air Force Pararescueman.

The Coast Guard's rescue swimmers are the brave young men and women who hoist or free fall from a helicopter into dangerous seas to perform daring rescues.

The rescue swimmer training school has one of the highest student attrition rates of any special operations school in the military. Roughly 75 students go through the school each year, and fewer than half complete the training.

What is a typical day at a Coast Guard station like?

It really depends on what type of unit you go to. Life at a small boat station is different than life on a ship. Most boot camp graduates will receive orders to a ship. You must remember that everyone in the Coast Guard has started at the bottom and worked their way up. It is very important that you maintain an excellent attitude during this time! Your supervisor will be watching to determine what type of worker you are. Opportunity and respect are given to those who deserve it. At this point, you will start to perform the duties of a crewman at your unit. You must learn everything about your ship and/or small boats at your station. You may be going on rescue missions, assisting with law enforcement, working aids to navigation, or whatever the mission of the unit may require.

What is a typical day like in the Coast Guard?

It really depends on the type of unit. Life at a small boat station is much different than life on a ship. Most boot camp graduates will receive orders either to a ship or a small boat station. At this point, they will start to perform the duties of a crewman at their unit. They must learn everything about their ship or small boat station. They may be assisting with law enforcement, working aids to navigation, conducting search and rescue, or responding to a natural disaster. Regardless of the unit, Coast Guard men and women live to uphold the motto Semper Paratus... always ready.

What is an RK or RP?

Reserve enlisted personnel who go to boot camp in Phase I of their Initial Active-Duty for Training (IADT) are classified in one of these categories. Phase II of the training differs:

RK: Someone who returns home after boot camp and returns to a civilian school. During the first summer following boot camp, you will usually attend a Class 'A' school. Between boot camp and A-school training, you'll drill two days per month at a Coast Guard unit near your home.
RP: reports directly to an A school after boot camp, and following school, begins monthly drills.

What is boot camp like?

Boot camp is an eight-week long training session at the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May, NJ.

Boot camp is tough, both mentally and physically! Its purpose is to prepare you for life in the Coast Guard. Much of your training will take place in a classroom where you will learn valuable skills such as first aid, fire fighting, weapons handling, practical seamanship, and general Coast Guard knowledge. You will have daily physical fitness classes and spend time at the pool learning water-survival techniques. You will meet your Company Commander (CC) on the first Friday of your training. The CC has the responsibility to make a hard-working, efficient team out of 50 or 60 strangers. The CC will teach you military drill, which includes marching, handling the M-1 Garand rifle, and showing you the ropes of U.S. Coast Guard life.

After you enter the Delayed Entry Program (DEP), you will receive a copy of the Helmsman, a recruit guidebook. Study the entire book. There is a lot of very important information in it. Pay particular attention to the list of items you cannot bring to boot camp, the 11 General Orders, and the Position of Attention. Also, prepare yourself for physical fitness training.

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 is the difference between the Coast Guard and the other services?

The United States Coast Guard is a military, multi-mission, maritime service within the Department of Homeland Security and one of the nation's five armed services. Its core roles are to protect the public, the environment and the U.S. economic and security interests in America's coasts, ports and inland waterways. These capabilities underpin our three broad roles: maritime safety, maritime security and maritime stewardship. There are 11 missions that are interwoven within these roles:

  • Search and Rescue
  • Marine Safety
  • Ports, Waterways and Coastal Security
  • Drug Interdiction
  • Migrant Interdiction
  • Defense Readiness
  • Ice Operations
  • Aids to Navigation
  • Marine Environmental Protection
  • Living Marine Resources
  • Other Law Enforcement

For more detail on each mission, please see Coast Guard Missions within this site.

What is the likelihood of serving overseas?

Coast Guard personnel can be called upon to serve overseas during time of national emergency or on routine deployments of cutters overseas. In fact, Coast Guard personnel have served in every major conflict including Desert Storm and the Iraq war.

However, as a member of the Department of Homeland Security, the majority of Coast Guard assets are used to enforce the law on the seas, protect natural resources and the environment in the nation's ports, major waterways, and homeland coastal waters.

What is the USCG Academy and how do I apply?

The USCG Academy is one of the five military service academies. Located in New London, CT. The USCG Academy's mission is to produce leaders of character for service to the nation. About 300 High School graduates enroll annually, leaving four years later with a Bachelor of Science degree and commission as an Ensign.

The USCG Academy is one of the top ten academic experiences in America (Princeton Review 2003). Graduates experience much more than intellectual growth. The opportunity to develop physically, morally, and spiritually sets the Academy apart. Two-thirds typically graduate in technical majors, which include Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Operations Research and Computer Analysis, and Marine Environmental Science. Seventy percent compete in Division I and II intercollegiate sports.

The USCG Academy is tuition free. Cadets also earn a modest paycheck. Graduates are obligated to serve for five years upon graduation. Applications are accepted on-line. The annual application deadline is February 1. There are no congressional nominations. We encourage you to talk personally with your Admissions Officer.

Director of Admissions
U.S. Coast Guard Academy
15 Mohegan Avenue
New London, CT 06320-9807 E-mail:

The U.S. Coast Guard Academy is a highly selective, degree granting institution that graduates commissioned officers. For more information, including eligibility requirements, visit the Coast Guard Academy website.

What jobs are available at Port Security Units?

Port Security Units consist of boatcrews (BM/MK), landside security personnel (ME), a Command and Control element (OS), and support personnel (MK/DC/EM/HS/YN/SK).

What kind of training will I receive?

In the Coast Guard, you can attend any training school you want, permitted you qualify for it. The results of your ASVAB will determine what schools you qualify for. Also, in order to enter into the aviation rates, your vision can be no worse than 20/100 uncorrected, corrected to 20/20. In addition, you need normal color vision to enter into the aviation rates, and any rate that requires you to navigate or work with electricity. It is important to know that all of our schools have waiting lists. They range from a few months to over two years for some ratings. You must have a minimum of 30 months remaining on your enlistment before you can enter any Class A school. If the school you want has a very lengthy wait, you may need to extend your enlistment a number of months to bring the total left on your enlistment up to 30 months.

This is training for a specialty you have chosen. It may involve work details and duty, but the main focus is on technical and professional training.

You will be paid for every day you are in the Coast Guard. You will receive pay according to published pay schedules for your pay grade, in addition to any temporary duty or travel allowances due you.

For reserve, depending on the program, you will receive boot camp and maybe A-school training. Weekend or weekday drills are considered training. Active Duty for Training (ADT) is 12 days of active duty at a Coast Guard unit or Coast Guard school, and is required annually.

What kind of training will my son or daughter receive?

Basic training is tough. It's eight weeks of physical and mental challenges. We want to shape an individual into a fully prepared Coast Guardsman, who can take charge and react in the most harrowing situations. Upon graduation, he or she will be a stronger mentally and physically. After boot camp they will receive additional training depending upon their job specialty and enlistment status as either active duty or reserve.

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 kinds of jobs and training are available?

Click the link for the job specialties available within the Coast Guard at both the enlisted & officer levels.

What opportunities are in the Coast Guard Reserve and what are the qualifications to join?

In general, Reservists work alongside active duty men and women filling many of the same basic job functions. Some port security job functions are exclusive to the Reserve. Reserve needs differ by location, and it is important to check with your nearest Coast Guard recruiting office for the current opportunities available.

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.

What will happen when I send an email to the Recruiter in charge?

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.

When I think of law enforcement in the Coast Guard, I only picture maritime enforcement (ME). Are there any other ways to work in this field without being an ME specialist?

While Maritime Law Enforcement is primarily the responsibility of members assigned to the maritime enforcement (ME) rate, almost all members, in every specialty are able to train in and be involved with law enforcement. So if you are more interested in pursuing training in any of the other career fields such as electronics, culinary arts, logistics or naval engineering, you may still be trained in law enforcement tactics and apply them while serving. Any member of the Coast Guard over the pay grade of E-4 is, by federal law, eligible to be trained as a law enforcement officer.

Where are Port Security Units located?

There are eight Port Security Units located around the United States in Cape Cod, MA; Fort Eustis, VA; Port Clinton, OH; Kiln, MS; Clearwater, FL; San Pedro, CA; San Francisco, CA; and Everett, WA.

Where do I get more information?

It is recommended that you click here to speak with a chat representative. Your representative will have current information on the latest programs being offered.

Will I receive a bonus?

You will have to speak to your recruiter about current bonus availability.

Will I receive a cost-of-living allowance?

Pay tables change periodically to account for changes in the cost of living.

Is there credentialing opportunities for the skills I learn in the Coast Guard?

Credentials can have a significant impact on a Coast Guard service member's career. Coast Guard training often aligns closely to civilian credentials. By visiting, you'll be able to view COOL’s unique features that will culminate into a better understanding of the credentialing, certifications, and licenses options along with the steps to earn credentials.

There is no cap on the number of credentials that can be obtained and the Coast Guard will support service members in identifying the various sources for funding credential, licensure, and certification renewals as part of the benefits package of military service.