US Coast Guard Jobs

The United States Coast Guard, although a military organization and one of the five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, is actually part of the Department of Homeland Security. The Coast Guard, which is responsible for protecting our nation’s maritime interests, both domestically and around the world, is a responsive military force that focuses on maritime safety, security and environmental stewardship.

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In 2012, the Coast Guard had more than 43,000 active duty members, more than 8,000 reservists, and nearly 9,000 civilian employees. During the same year, these maritime professionals:

  • Responded to nearly 20,000 search and rescue cases
  • Saved more than 3,500 lives
  • Stopped the transit of more than 100 metric tons of cocaine within the Transit Zone
  • Stopped nearly 3,000 undocumented individuals attempting to illegally entering the United States
  • Conducted nearly 26,000 container inspections
  • Protected the critical maritime oil infrastructure in Iraq and trained Iraqi naval forces
  • Conducted more than 4,500 investigations involving marine casualties on commercial vessels
  • Screened more than 436,000 vessels and nearly 30 million crewmembers and passengers arriving in U.S. ports


Coast Guard Responsibilities

  • Aids to Navigation (ATON)
  • Environmental Protection
  • Ice Breaking
  • Maritime Law Enforcement (MLE)
  • Military Readiness
  • Port Security
  • Search and Rescue (SAR)

Coast Guard Missions

  • Aids to navigation
  • Drug interdiction
  • Ice operations
  • Illegal and unregulated fishing activity
  • Illegal foreign fishing vessel encroachment
  • Living marine resources
  • Marine environmental protection
  • Ports, coastal security and waterways
  • Search and rescue
  • Defense readiness


U.S. Coast Guard Careers

U.S. Coast Guard careers are not just for the enlisted, although enlisted personnel do hold most of the jobs in this organization. Enlisted individuals, who receive the bulk of their training on the job, often work in one of the following jobs:

  • Public Affairs Specialist
  • Operations Specialist
  • Maritime Enforcement Specialist
  • Marine Science Technician
  • Intelligence Specialist
  • Information System Technician
  • Health Services Technician
  • Gunner’s Mate
  • Electronics Technician
  • Electrician’s Mate
  • Boatswain’s Mate
  • Avionics Electrical Technician
  • Aviation Survival Technician
  • Aviation Maintenance Technician

Individuals may also become part of the Coast Guard by graduating from the Coast Guard Academy, completing the Officer Candidate School, or entering one of the organization’s Direct Commission Officer Programs:

Coast Guard Academy: The Coast Guard Academy, which is located in Connecticut, is a four-year program that results in a Bachelor of Science degree and commission as an Ensign. The Coast Guard Academy accepts about 300 high school graduates into the program each year. Graduates must serve five years upon graduation. About two-thirds of all graduates pursue degrees in technical majors, such as:

  • Civil engineering
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Naval architecture and Marine engineering
  • Electrical engineering
  • Operations research and computer analysis
  • Marine environmental science

Officer Candidate School: Both civilians and current enlisted members of the Coast Guard can apply to Officer Candidate School (OCS), a 17-week training program that involves study in nautical science, leadership, law enforcement, and seamanship. All graduates are commissioned as an Ensign in the Coast Guard Reserve and must commit to an initial, three-year active-duty obligation. Both civilians and current enlisted members of the Coast Guard can apply for selection as a Coast Guard officer through the Officer Candidate School; however, all candidates must possess, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 2.5 GPA.

Direct Commission Officer Programs: Direct Commission Officer Programs are designed for civilians and for enlisted members in the Coast Guard. These programs have specific education, academic, military, and experience requirements.

  • Prior Trained Military Officer
  • Direct Commission Selective School
  • Direct Commission Physician Assistant
  • Direct Commission Lawyer
  • Direct Commission Intelligence Officer (DCIO)
  • Direct Commission Engineer (DCE
  • Direct Commission Aviator (DCA)


U.S. Coast Guard Civilian Jobs

There are more than 200 types of civilian careers in the U.S. Coast Guard in more than 100 locations across the United States, many of which are professional and/or technical in nature and therefore demand specific educational and training requirements. Individuals in civilian positions need not enlist in the U.S. Coast Guard, and many of the jobs are not military or seagoing in nature.

Professional positions include (but are not limited to):

  • Accounting
  • Architecture
  • Civil Engineering
  • Contracting and Procurement
  • Education and Vocational Training
  • Electronics Engineering
  • Law
  • General Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

Administrative positions include (but are not limited to):

  • Administrative Specialist
  • Budget Analyst
  • Criminal Investigator
  • Environmental Protection Specialist
  • Equipment Specialist
  • Intelligence Analyst
  • Marine Inspector
  • Paralegal Specialist
  • Security Specialist

Technical positions include (but are not limited to):

  • Construction Representative
  • Dental Assistant
  • Engineering Technician

Trade and Labor positions include (but are not limited to):

  • Aircraft Mechanic
  • Electrician
  • Maintenance Mechanic
  • Materials Handler
  • Welder

Administrative Support Positions include (but are not limited to):

  • Administrative Assistant
  • Human Resources Assistant
  • Legal Assistant
  • Procurement Assistant
  • Purchasing Agent


Resources for Coast Guard Jobs


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