Were you Born Ready? Applicants need apply…


The Coast Guard is a diverse, multi-mission organization with great opportunities for all types of prospective candidates. Our recruiting effectiveness has surpassed the other armed services for the third year in a row and the quality of our candidates is the highest of all the services with an average Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score of 70.  What we need now are more diverse applicants to help grow the organization into a better reflection of the American public.

We are moving in the right direction and working hard to provide opportunities for anyone and everyone who wants to join the Coast Guard family including men, women, minorities, college or non-college graduates, full- or part-time and civilian positions. Just today in the news, an article discusses how more women are joining the armed services. It highlights the Coast Guard as being the only service where women can perform all the same jobs as men without limitations.

The news also recently discussed the establishment of a two-year partnership between the Coast Guard and Norfolk State University to offer scholarships and internships to minorities. This partnership will be a model for other Coast Guard higher education initiatives with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) and Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU).  Other similar types of partnerships have recently been established between the Coast Guard and HBCU, HSI and TCU schools.  The Intelligence and Criminal Investigations Directorate is working with Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri (Read more about this partnership over at iCommandant).  The Engineering and Logistics Directorate is working with the University of North Carolina A&T State University.

These types of agreements are the foundation for the Coast Guard’s College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative (CSPI). Selected full-time students are provided full tuition for up to two academic years, books and essential supplies, as well as active-duty benefits such as medical, dental and housing allowance.

The Coast Guard also offers other ways to earn your college degree. Are you already enlisted and within 24 months of completing your Bachelor’s Degree? Look into the Pre-Commissioning Program for Enlisted Personnel (PPEP). You can also start earning your degree by attending the Coast Guard Academy.  The Academy was recently ranked the second Best Baccalaureate College in the North for the third year in a row on the America’s Best Colleges list.

If you already have your college degree, consider Officer Candidate School (OCS), or one of the many Direct Commission (DCO) programs.

Deadlines for these various commissioning programs are fast approaching, and some have already past, so it’s time to get serious.  Click here for OCS, DCO or CSPI deadlines. Click here for the key dates for applying to the Coast Guard Academy.

Maybe you’re more interested in specializing in one of our diverse 18 enlisted ratings? Soon, there will be an addition to this list to include the Maritime Enforcement Specialist.  Now is also the time to head in to talk to a recruiter about enlisting.

How about serving your country on a part-time basis? Join the Reserves and earn extra money while also receiving outstanding benefits, college funding, and military experience.

Maybe the uniform is not your style? How about civilian employment opportunities?

The Coast Guard may not be as large as the other armed services, but it has many different opportunities for just about anyone with any background. In the Coast Guard, you aren’t just a number and you don’t just fill a void, you are a member of a family with the chance to greatly influence the organization’s development into the future.

Come on in, the water is outstanding.

7 comments on “Were you Born Ready? Applicants need apply…”

  1. So what about the Auxiliary side, for those who can’t make it in the active or reserve as well. Is the Coast Guard going to start getting picky like the Army National Guard is doing right now.

  2. anyone know whats going on with the pit stop program. I have been trying to get in since may 2009. Was told last month there was a new pit stop program in Oct but was called today and told that is not the case. I dont mind going to basic but now im told I cannot leave until Jan. Anyone have any good advice?

  3. Nick, what a huge overlook on my part! How could I forget about the Auxiliary in this post. They are an amazing part of our operations and are huge force multipliers for our units. These volunteers work tirelessly and selflessly to help the Coast Guard perform its missions. The Compass often posts about the Auxiliarists and their accomplishments. Thanks for pointing that out and reminding us all how important the Coast Guard Auxiliary is to our service!

    Semper Paratus.

    Note: I am also looking into the “pit stop” program you mention. You should hear back from us soon.

  4. Nicholas, The PITSTOP (Prior Service Indoc) program and the REBI (Reserve Basic Indoc) have been combined to form an indoc program for all Prior Service and Reserve qualified personnel (DEPOT). When the programs were combined we had to stop both and make adjustments to the training. The new DEPOT (Direct Entry Petty Officer Training) will be up and running in October. Please contact your nearest recruiter for details. Lane Solak, Recruiting Command, Accessions Branch Chief

  5. Not a problem, because I think that even on the Aux side, we help out in recruiting as well and I think that the active side should let Aux folks help out in recruiting and Aux folks should get something for helping active side recruit people as well. I think in terms of Recruiting, that active should have options like active, reserve and Aux as well.

  6. Hi, I spoke to a recruiter in the Northern Virgnia area that I live in.

    I asked if my age of 38 y.o. with no prior service was a valid age to join the USCG reserve.

    But he stated that 36 was the maximum.

    However from this blog entry at:


    “The maximum age to enlist is age 39. For a reserve commission, the minimum age is 21 and maximum age is 36 years old; however, a waiver may be granted for applicants with prior military service (up to age 39).”

    Would anybidy be able to help me confirm if 39 y.o without prior service is still a valid age for enlistment?

    If so is there a document that I can quote when speaking with a USCG Reserve recruiter?

    Thank you,

  7. Ken, thank-you for your interest in joining the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves. Basically, the age limits in the blog post you mention are correct but enlisting in the reserves is pretty fluid. While, as a general rule, the maximum age to enlist in the USCG Reserve is 39, it does depend on what job you are going for. The maximum age could be lower or, in some cases, it could actually be higher. The recruiter is your best resource for detailed information as each individual situation is unique.

    CWO Scott Carr
    Coast Guard Recruiting

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