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Coast Guard Career, Job, Degrees and Training Information

The United States Coast Guard, one of 5 branches of the military, is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security. The Coast Guard is one of the nation's oldest maritime services. The Coast Guard provides port security, search and rescue (SAR) services, icebreaking services, environmental protection, and the Coast Guard enforces maritime law, also known as Maritime Law Enforcement (MLE). 38,000 active-duty service members, 8,000 reservists, and 35,000 auxiliarists serve in the Coast Guard. Duties can include small boat operations, maintenance, aviation mechanics, and electronic mechanics.

In the course of a normal day, the Coast Guard could:
  • Conduct 109 search and rescue operations
  • Protect $2,791,841 worth of property
  • Save 10 lives or more and help 192 people in need
  • Detain 14 illegal immigrants
  • Seize 306 pounds of cocaine and 169 pounds of marijuana with a street value of $9,589,000
  • Help stabilize and clean 20 oil or hazardous chemical spills estimated to be about 2,800 gallons
  • Provide navigation assistance to ships
  • Launch 396 small vessel operations
  • Board 100 ship during port security inspections
  • Board 144 ships
Coast Guard Reserve

Coast Guard Reservists work side by side with full-time Coast Guard Guardians. Reservists typically serve just two days a month and two weeks a year at a nearby base. Reservists receive training in diverse fields including computer processing, mechanics or radio communications. Reservists can also qualify as a Boatswain's Mate or become a leader and have the opportunity to participate in real-life Coast Guard operations.

Coast Guard Reserve Officer Opportunities

If you want to apply to become a Coast Guard Reserve Officer you need to have a Bachelor's degree and a year or more of military experience.

Coast Guard Officer Career Opportunities

There are several ways to become a Coast Guard Officer. These include successfully graduating from the Coast Guard Academy or Completing Officer Candidate School (OCS), or through one of the Direct Commissioning Programs sponsored by the Coast Guard Academy. Nearly 300 High School graduates enroll in Coast Guard Academy annually, leaving four years later with a Bachelor of Science degree and commission as an Ensign. Competition for entry is stiff and when you graduate, you will be commissioned as an ensign, O-1, in the Coast Guard Reserve with a three-year initial active-duty obligation.

Coast Guard Enlisted Career Opportunities

Without Coast Guard Enlisted personnel, the daily operations of the Coast Guard would grind to a halt. There are a variety of job assignments and duties available to enlisted personnel. From safety and law enforcement to maritime patrols or aviation. The majority training provided to Enlisted is on-the-job training, not traditional classroom training. Enlisted must pass regular tests and evaluations to ensure their skills are up to date. The following are different career positions available to Coast Guard Enlisted personnel.

Deck & Ordnance Group

Jobs relating to the operation of the Coast Guard vessels include:
  • Maritime Enforcement Specialist

  • Boatswain's Mate (BM)

  • Gunner's Mate (GM)

  • Operations Specialist (OS)

  • Intelligence Specialist (IS)

Hull and Engineering Group

Jobs related to the upkeep and operation of Coast Guard vessels include:
  • Damage Controlman (DC)

  • Electrician's Mate (EM)

  • Electronics Technician (ET)

  • Information Systems Technician (IT)

  • Machinery Technician (MK)

Aviation Group

With the exception of the pilots, all jobs related to the maintenance and operation of Coast Guard fixed-wing and rotary aircraft includ the following:
  • Avionics Electrical Technician (AET)

  • Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT)

  • Aviation Survival Technician (AST)

Administrative & Scientific Group

Jobs that provide operations support, take care of Coast Guard personnel and conduct environmental inspections. These jobs include:
  • Food Service Specialist (FS)

  • Health Services Specialist (HS)

  • Marine Science Technician (MST)

  • Public Affairs Specialist (PA)

  • Storekeeper (SK)

  • Yeoman (YN)

You can apply for a position with the Coast Guard on their website at