Pros and Cons of Enlisting inside the Coast Guard

How to Decide If the Coast Guard Is Right for You


The Coast Guard is a maritime, military, multi-challenge carrier unique most of the U.S. military branches for having a maritime law enforcement undertaking, with jurisdiction in each home and global waters, and a federal regulatory enterprise challenge as part of its jurisdiction.

Currently, the Coast Guard operates below the Department of Homeland Security at some point of peacetime, but may be transferred to the Department of the Navy through the president at any time, or via Congress for the duration of the time of struggle. 

The Coast Guard's enduring roles are maritime safety, security, and stewardship, and it touts the motto "Semper Paratus," because of this "Always Ready."

If the Coast Guard strikes your interest and you have thought approximately joining, examine directly to discover what it has to offer, weigh professionals and cons, and study extra approximately the specifics of enlisting.

History of the Coast Guard

The Coast Guard became initially part of the Department of Transportation, but quickly after the terrorist assaults of September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush installed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Coast Guard was transferred from civilian leadership to military leadership as a part of DHS. Coast Guard roles had been upgraded to encompass anti-terrorism and port safety, in addition to other lifesaving, shipping protection, and drug interdiction duties. 

As one of the state's 5 armed offerings, the Coast Guard has been concerned in every warfare from 1790 to Iraq and Afghanistan. It turned into formally set up as the Revenue Marine by way of the Continental Congress at the request of Alexander Hamilton. Its first motive turned into to gather customs duties within the kingdom's seaports.

By the 1860s, the carrier changed into known as the US Revenue Cutter Service. The Coast Guard became fashioned from the merger of the Revenue Cutter Service and the US Life-Saving Service in 1915.

Coast Guard Requirements

The Coast Guard is one of the extra hard branches to enroll in because it accepts a ways fewer new recruits than the alternative branches of the military, and qualifying necessities are strict.

In addition to simple citizenship and physical fitness conditions, the Coast Guard sets instructional requirements as will. They require at the least 54 points on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery take a look at, but you must do better which will be competitive with fellow recruits. You will need a high college degree or university degree. It will probably be hard to be well-known with handiest a GED.

You will ought to go through a credit score check and bypass a security clearance test. The Coast Guard typically approves the lowest charge of criminal history waivers and clinical waivers—it's miles the handiest department for which a shellfish hypersensitivity bars entry with out exception. Prior provider candidates can be invited with a few policies and restrictions.


Indeed, the strict entry requirements is probably considered a drawback of becoming a member of the Coast Guard—perhaps barely worrisome for folks who do qualify, however a entire sadness for people who don't.

Coast Guard Enlistment Incentives

The Coast Guard offers a small form of enlistment incentives to lure qualified applicants to enroll in. These are situation to trade, so it's far advise to talk about cutting-edge incentives with a recruiting officer.

Under the Coast Guard College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative (CSPI), qualifying applicants are promised two years of enlisted pay, commission, and two years of university scholarship in alternate for 3 years of energetic obligation service.

The Coast Guard participates within the Post-Sep 11 GI Bill, which gives as much as 36 months of schooling benefits for 15 years after your release from active obligation.

Like the opposite military branches, the Coast Guard offers accelerated pay grades for superior enlistment rank up to E-3 for such things as college credit or JROTC. 


Incentives to joining the Coast Guard include scholarship money, GI Bill training benefits, and advanced pay grades for educational success.

Coast Guard Job Opportunities

The Coast Guard has 20 enlisted jobs (called ratings) divided into 4 categories: 

  • Deck and Ordnance: Maritime Enforcement Specialists (ME), Boatswain's Mate (BM), Gunner’s Mate (GM), Operations Specialist (OS), and Intelligence Specialist (IS)
  • Hull and Engineering: Damage Controlman (DC), Electrician’s Mate (EM), Electronics Technician (ET), Information System Technician (IT), and Machinery Technician (MK)
  • Aviation: Avionics Electrical Technician (AET), Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT), and Aviation Survival Technician (AST)
  • Administrative and Scientific: Food Service Specialist (FS), Health Services Technician (HS), Marine Science Technician (MST), Musician (MU), Public Affairs Specialist (PA), Storekeeper (SK), and Yeoman (YN)


The scope of Coast Guard work is tremendous, and in the course of carrier you may get hold of precious experience that interprets to a huge variety of expert options inside the civilian global.

Coast Guard Basic Training

As in all branches of the army, bodily needs may be extreme, and so new Coast Guard recruits are fastidiously skilled and tested at boot camp. The Coast Guard only has one location for enlisted fundamental education: Coast Guard Training Center Cape May in Cape May, New Jersey. 

In addition to energy an persistence necessities (push-ups, sit down-ups, distance run or swim), all Coast Guard personnel need to be able to reveal respectable swimming abilities; at boot camp you could assume to leap off a 5-foot platform into a pool, swim one hundred meters, and tread water for five minutes. 

Specialized Training Units

Since the scope and jurisdiction of the Coast Guard paintings is so big, many duties require relatively specialized abilties that not anybody can carry out.

A Helicopter Rescue Specialist (or Search and Rescue Swimmer) engages in high-stakes, doubtlessly risky, and frequently tough seek and rescue operations in heavy seas. Naturally, the education and qualifying take a look at is grueling, with the extra exercises of pull-ups, underwater swims, pal tows, and 500-meter swims. 

The Maritime Security Response Team (MSRT) is the SWAT Team of the Coast Guard and the only unit within the Coast Guard able to counterterrorism efforts. The MSRT is trained in direct movement missions, and to be the primary response to potential or actual terrorist threats. Enlistees who desire to enroll in the MSRT must endure extra fight, war, and counterterrorism training. 

Coast Guard Assignments

The Coast Guard has installations, bases, and air stations in the course of the continental United States at the East Coast, Gulf Coast, Great Lakes, and Pacific. Depending upon what type of ship a Coast Guardsman is assigned to, they could live on that deliver, or on the base if the ship isn't always large sufficient to accompany the group full time. 

Coast Guard employees paintings with Assignment Officers to set up assignments; these individuals are in price of all assignments for a particular activity community and rank (fee) range. Typically, the elements that contain priority of assignments are the following: 

  • Has the character formerly been assigned to a sea duty position as a rated man or woman?
  • Has the individual been in the identical geographic region?
  • What is the person’s rank?

However, a few rankings have a sea time requirement for development (your recruiter should have a listing of which rankings require sea time). Also, as with the relaxation of the branches, the Coast Guard has remote places assignments and special assignments, inclusive of recruiting.

  • Wide style of possible places

  • Opportunities for foreign places tour and to peer new places

  • Little manage over wherein you're stationed geographically

  • No preference in whether or not you're assigned on boat or on base

  • Involuntary deployment (Title 10)

Coast Guard Deployments

The widespread majority of Coast Guard deployments are at sea on Coast Guard ships. Just as with the Navy, in case you do not need to installation on ships or submarines, don't be a part of the Coast Guard. Like the Navy, the larger ships are small towns and may deploy foreign places.

As with members of the opposite Reserve Components, Coast Guard men and women are situation to involuntary mobilization underneath Title 10 for countrywide safety contingencies. However, unlike members of the other Reserve Components, Coast Guard Reservists also can be involuntarily mobilized for as much as 60 days at a time for domestic contingencies, together with natural failures and terrorist attacks.

Promotions inside the Coast Guard

Individuals enlisting within the Coast Guard can receive superior advertising, up to the rank (rate) of Seaman (E-3), for such things as college credits, JROTC, Eagle Scout, Civil Air Patrol, etc. Coast Guard Enlisted are promoted to E-2 after the of completion of boot camp, and even as development to E-three is surely automatic, an E-2 is has positive performance qualifications and nonresident exams required before a recruit is eligible.

In addition, individuals ought to have their commanding officer's approval and 6 months time-in-grade (TIG) or have completed technical education to qualify for E-three. In a few instances, you can additionally be eligible to enhance to E-3 upon commencement from boot camp based on either enlisting for six years or previous navy revel in.

Some rankings actually have a sea time requirement for development.

Enlisted Commissioning Programs in the Coast Guard

Like the alternative services, the Coast Guard gives a danger for certified enlisted sailors to finish university and earn a commission as a Coast Guard Officer. The development applications can alternate over the years as they want more or fewer of different officer specialties.