The US Coast Guard in Pennsylvania is strategically located to provide adequate protection to the state’s vital infrastructure and conduct life-saving missions. One key station is located in Philadelphia, which is a Tier One port home to vital infrastructure such as a nuclear power plant, Navy yard, and several petroleum refineries. Because of its strategic location, the Coast Guard in Philadelphia maintains at least two fully outfitted and armed rapid response boats.
Other key facilities are located in Erie and Pittsburgh. Statewide, Coast Guard units have four cutters and 19 boats at their disposal. Last year with these resources the Pennsylvania Coast Guard was able to conduct nearly 500 search and rescue missions.
Pursuing a career with the Coast Guard in Pennsylvania starts by researching the enlistment prerequisites for its wide range of positions.
Initial Enlistment Requirements and Training
With the support of 1,305 Auxiliary volunteers in the state, the vast majority of Coast Guard jobs in Pennsylvania are held by enlisted members. Enlisting can be done at two levels: mission support or officer positions, both requiring at least four-year commitments.
At the basic mission support level, Coast Guard requirements include the demonstration of a good moral character and being between the ages of 17-27. Enlistment begins with eight weeks of basic training, followed unit placement where new enlistees will receive training to meet their specific job requirements.
A level up, candidates with bachelor degrees are eligible to enlist as ensigns at the officer level. New officer training begins with 17 weeks at the Officer Candidate School, followed by a career assignment and training that is based on an individual’s skills and preference. Officer careers and associated education include:
- Command Staff with degrees in Administration, Business, or Public Administration
- Legal Officers with degrees in Law
- Environmental Officer with a degree in Marine Biology or Toxicology
- Intelligence Officers with degrees in the Sciences or Mathematics
- Engineering Officer with a degree in Marine Engineering or Civil Engineering
- Technology Specialist with a degree in Network Engineering, IT, or Computer Science
- Electronics Specialist with a degree in Electrical Engineering
Range of Duties in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Coast Guard units accomplish a wide range of mission objectives through the combined work of all personnel. Some recent missions include:
- The Pennsylvania Coast Guard, in partnership with federal, state, and local officials, recently conducted a joint training exercise involving a simulated pollution response with a heightened security environment in Delaware Bay. Weaknesses and strengths were analyzed and incorporated into the most recent best-response contingency plan.
- Coast Guard units were recently dispatched along the Monongahela River after receiving reports of a quarter-mile long oil slick. Pennsylvania EPA officials were also quickly notified, beginning a joint investigation targeted at locating the source of the pollution to ensure it stopped and would not happen again.
- Pennsylvania Coast Guard units also participate in land operations, such as during a recent Christmas season when they teamed up with the Salvation Army to deliver toys to children in need across Pittsburgh. Overall 30,000 toys were collected from over 200 participating businesses.