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Why Join

To become an officer, you’ll need to complete an application, which will be reviewed at a competitive selection panel for the limited number of openings available. Your application package should communicate the value you offer the Coast Guard, and include a personal statement, resume, letters of recommendation, awards, transcripts, and other documents to satisfy each officer program’s eligibility requirements.

  • Contact a recruiter for help starting your journey and information on program application deadlines and requirements. You must submit your completed application package by program deadlines.
  • Get tips for preparing your best application.

College Scholarships

College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative (CSPI)

College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative (CSPI)

CSPI is a generous scholarship if you are a junior or senior attending a federally designated Minority Serving Institution (MSI). This program includes tuition and military pay and benefits while you’re a full-time student—more than you get from ROTC programs. Upon receiving your bachelor’s degree, you attend Officer Candidate School (OCS) to earn your commission and start your career as a Coast Guard officer.

U.S. Coast Guard Academy

The U.S. Coast Guard Academy is a highly selective military service academy. Graduates earn a Bachelor of Science degree and commission to serve as an officer. Applicants should be students of high moral character who bring an established academic, athletic, and leadership track record. The application is online and normally due by January 15.

College Graduates

Officer Candidate School (OCS)

If you already have a bachelor’s degree, OCS is the primary entry point to becoming a Coast Guard officer. When you’re selected for this program, you’ll attend a 17-week course of instruction in leadership and military subjects to prepare you for any Coast Guard officer career.

Direct Commission Officer (DCO) Programs

If you have education or experience in certain specialties that meet critical Coast Guard needs, there may be more opportunities to get your commission. Our DCO programs can even offer you a higher starting rank.

CSPI Student Loan Repayment Program (CSPI-SLRP)

If you’re a senior or recent graduate of a federally designated Minority Serving Institution, the CSPI Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) is for you. After six months of introductory training, you’ll attend OCS to become a Coast Guard officer and receive loan repayments for qualifying student loans.

For guidance on preparing an effective application:

Download the Officer Application Guide.