Coast Guard personnel based out of Alabama locations will find themselves in the center of the action, with a constant barrage of training, enforcement duties, rescue missions, and patrol-interdiction operations. With a budget last year of $33.2 million the Alabama Coast Guard was able to support mission operations as well as nearly 1,300 active personnel. The Coast Guard operates six installations throughout the state as far inland as Birmingham, including the key Aviation Training Center in Mobile that serves as an air command center, as well as being the place where pilots from throughout the country qualify on the various aircraft in the Coast Guard’s arsenal.
With a wide variety of positions, there are several routes through which candidates can prepare for Coast Guard jobs in Alabama.
Initial Qualifications and Training
There are hundreds of different types of Coast Guard careers in Alabama, and it is useful to approach these by the way in which they are classified. There are three basic paths to joining the Coast Guard- enlisting full-time, joining the reserves, and as a civilian.
Full-Time and Reserves – Candidates with no prior experience, a good moral record, and who are between the ages of 17-27 are eligible to enlist full time. They will be provided with all the relevant Coast Guard training after successfully completing an eight-week basic training course. There are five basic career categories for enlistees:
- Deck and Ordinance
- Hull and Engineering
Candidates with a bachelor degree are eligible to enter the Coast Guard at the officer level. After completing the 17-week Officer Candidate School, newly commissioned ensigns will begin their job at a higher pay level, and the type of career path usually corresponds with the officer’s degree:
- Engineers and a BS in Engineering
- Health Professionals with a BS in Public Health or other health fields
- Intelligence Officers with a bachelor’s degree relating to subjects such as signals intelligence, coding, or foreign languages
- Legal experts with a BS in Law
- Computer Network Security with a BS in IT or Computer Science
- Human Resources Management with a BA in fields such as Psychology, Business, or Public Administration
Reservists can serve in both officer and non-officer positions.
Civilian – The Coast Guard job requirements to join as a civilian are much the same as those to an equivalent position in the private sector: candidates must qualify for specified positions through experience and education, often in the form of a bachelor degree. There are no boot-camp training requirements for civilian employees, and there are more than two hundred different job classifications that fall into five categories
- Professional Occupations such as accounting, electronics, and engineering
- Administrative Occupations such as intelligence analyst, IT specialist, and management
- Technical Occupations such as dental assistant or construction representative
- Trades and Labor Positions such as painter, electrician or mechanic
- Administrative Support Positions such as legal assistant or secretary
The Coast Guard at Work in Alabama
The Alabama Coast Guard fulfills a variety of roles in the Gulf of Mexico. Recently Coast Guard units partnered with local law enforcement agencies operating at sea to conduct Operation Dry Water, a patrol for intoxicated boat operators. Because alcohol is a leading factor in maritime boating deaths, Coast Guard units based out of Dauphin Island, Mobile and Eufaula work to enforce the .08 alcohol limit for all watercraft operators.
The Alabama Coast Guard also worked closely with BP to direct damage control and cleanup of the recent Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the most significant oil-spill disasters in US and world history. Coast Guard units operated by land, sea, and air to spot areas of contamination and direct a coordinated response.
US Coast Guard centers are located in:
- Dauphin Island