View Coast Guard Reserve Job Descriptions

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As a reservist, you might be assigned to any of our 17 ratings (or jobs). Your rating will be determined by our needs and your ability. Plus, reservists have one unique rating -- Investigator (provide support to Coast Guard law enforcement and intelligence missions).

Photo of a boatswain's mate launching a small boat from the stern of a Coast Guard cutter.

Boatswain's Mate

Are you looking for a real hands-on seagoing experience? Boatswain's mate may be the experience for which you're looking.

Photo of a food service specialist preparing a meal in the kitchen.

Culinary Specialist

Learn about the various aspects of the restaurant or catering industry while serving your country.

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Damage Controlman

DCs are the Coast Guard's maintenance and emergency repair specialists.

Photo of an electrician's mate repairing a set of wires.

Electrician's Mate

Electricity is the lifeline of any system, and EMs are the ones the Coast Guard counts on most to keep it all connected and running.

Photo of an electronic's technician working on a circuit board.

Electronics Technician

ETs are in charge of maintaining virtually all of the Coast Guard's electronics systems from navigation systems to command, control and communication (C3) systems.

Photo of a gunner's mate loading a 76 mm gun.

Gunner's Mate

For those interested in the technical inner-workings of small arms, weapon systems, and pyrotechnics, becoming a gunner's mate can provide the opportunity to learn all there is to know.

Photo of a health services technician conducting minor surgery on a patient.

Health Services Technician

Do you want to learn hands-on medical skills? Do you want to save lives? These technicians care for individuals in distress or life-threatening situations.

Photo of an intelligence specialist looking at a secure document in the command center.

Intelligence Specialist

With the Coast Guard taking an increasingly larger role in homeland security, we've established a new and vitally important rating, intelligence specialist (IS). As an IS, you will be one of the first defenders of our ports and waterways.

Photo of an investigator reviewing mariners' documentation.


This rating is the perfect blend of part-time service in the Coast Guard mixed with the excitement of criminal investigation work.

Photo of a machinery technician learning how to work on an engine.

Machinery Technician

MKs maintain engineering systems at virtually every Coast Guard unit and actively participate in operational missions. Technical training and experience obtained are comparable with occupations in commercial engineering and law enforcement fields.

Photo of a group of maritime enforcement specialists conducting a tactical safety check of a boat.

Maritime Enforcement Specialist

Protecting America's ports, waterways, and interests at home and abroad. Maritime Enforcement Specialists are trained in Maritime Law Enforcement, Anti-terrorism, Force Protection, and Physical Security.

Photo of an operations specialist working on the computer in a command center.

Operations Specialist

Are you interested in the field of military tactical command, control and communications? The operations specialist rating is a great way to pave that road.

Photo of a public affairs specialist editing images and video on a computer.

Public Affairs Specialist

If you have an interest in photography, writing and crisis communications, you could be the main link between the Coast Guard and the public.

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Good with numbers? Managing money? Apply your skills to help serve the Coast Guard.

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As with any large organization, good human resources management is vital to the Coast Guard.