US Coast Guard Job Requirements in Florida

With 29 locations spread mostly across the coastline of Florida, the Coast Guard patrols the beaches, shore waters, and maritime territory of the state with a commitment to ensuring the safety of local residents, and the US as a whole. Besides search and rescue operations, which numbered 7,417 last year, Florida’s 6,304-strong active and reserve Coast Guard intercepts boat shipments of illegal drugs, the victims of human trafficking, and conducts operations in international waters throughout the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. Sometimes this means high-speed boat chases that end in recovering hundreds of pounds of cocaine, or even defensive missions near countries like Guatemala.

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There are two basic ways prospective “Coasties” can join the honorable ranks of the country’s oldest continuous seafaring service: by enlisting or through civilian employment. Enlistees can join as reservists though they must still complete their basic training. Civilians will have some sort of orientation training for their careers, similar to that of the private sector.

Preparing for Coast Guard Careers in Florida

Enlisted – Applying as an enlistee can be done at two levels. The first can basically be considered entry-level, for which Coast Guard requirements include being between the ages of 17-27 and having a good personal history. After completing eight weeks of basic training, employment positions at this level can be found in four basic categories:

  • Hull and engineering
  • Deck and ordinance
  • Administrative and scientific
  • Aviation

Enlistees can also apply for entry at the officer level. The main US Coast guard job requirements for this level stipulate either having a bachelor degree or having one very soon after submitting an application. The Coast Guard always has the final say over an enlistee’s job placement, however once prospective officers complete their 17-week training school they are likely to be placed in a field related to their degree:

  • Legal careers for those with law degrees
  • Intelligence Officer for those with degrees in Science, Engineering, or Mathematics
  • Command and Control Officer for those with degrees in Business or Communications
  • Pilot for those with degrees in Science and an emphasis in Aviation
  • Engineering for those with a degree in:
    • Computer Engineering
    • Mechanical Engineering
    • Electronic Engineering
    • Network Engineering
    • Telecommunications Engineering
    • Naval Engineering

Civilian – Coast Guard employment for civilians is very similar to working in the private sector. As there, it also holds true that candidates who apply for civilian careers with the Florida-based Coast Guard can be eligible for more advanced positions if they come with a higher level of education and experience. Consider the following civilian positions that require a four-year degree:

  • Civil Engineering
  • Accounting
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physical Therapist
  • Architect
  • Law:
    • Procurement Law
    • Environmental Law
    • Maritime Law
    • Employment Law


One of the Widest Ranges of Active Missions

Coast Guard jobs based out of Florida offer some of the most potentials of any state. Recent ops include:

  • Repatriation of 69 migrants- 43 to Cuba and 26 to Haiti, after their overcrowded vessels were intercepted at sea
  • Key West drug training exercise involving:
    • FBI
    • Customs and Border Protection
    • TSA
    • US Navy Explosive Ordinance Disposal
    • US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement


  • The rescue of four boaters when their vessel capsized west of Clearwater Pass
  • $35 million-worth of cocaine recovered after a high-speed sea chase ending when a Coast Guard chopper shot out the engines of a go-fast smuggling boat

Florida is also home to Air Station Miami and the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) based out of Jackson. Air Station Miami is one of the busiest search-and-rescue units in the world, while HITRON supports counter-narcotics missions with forwardly deployed armed helicopters to high-risk security areas and high-threat drug trafficking assignments. This recently included a sniper deployment off the coast of Guatemala to counter armed drug smugglers in high-speed boats carrying two tons of marijuana.

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