So you want to be a Coast Guard officer?

Each fiscal year, Coast Guard Recruiting Command offers 12 commissioning programs to bring competent leaders and specialists into the officer corps.

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Reserve Officer Candidate Indoctrination Class 1-13 renders honors to Rear Adm. John S. Welch, Senior Reserve Officer for the U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area Aug. 2, 2013. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Cory J. Mendenhall.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Cory J. Mendenhall.

Written by Lt. Ashly Thomas, Coast Guard Recruiting Command.

You’ve come to the right place! Officers in the Coast Guard are leaders, mentors and stewards in the execution of our 11 missions. Immediately upon commissioning, Coast Guard officers are placed into positions of responsibility and are expected to become proficient leaders in their areas of specialty, act courageously and use initiative to resolve a variety of issues. Each fiscal year, Coast Guard Recruiting Command offers 12 commissioning programs to bring competent leaders and specialists into the officer corps.

The Coast Guard is looking for officer applicants for our Direct Commission Engineer, Direct Commission Lawyer, Direct Commission Physician Assistants, Direct Commission Intelligence Officer and Maritime Academy Graduates programs. We are also in need of experienced individuals with prior military service to become reserve officers through Select Reserve Direct Commission program and active duty officers through the Prior Trained Military Officers program. Additionally, we are looking for the most outstanding men and women of the Coast Guard’s enlisted force to apply for Officer Candidate School. Civilians who live by a servant-leader ethos who already posses an undergraduate degree, may also be eligible for OCS.

Finally, did you know that we also offer a scholarship program? The College Student Pre-commissioning Initiative is designed to identify emerging leaders attending Minority Serving Institutions in an effort to cultivate their leadership potential by providing a scholarship for up to two years prior to attending OCS. Individuals in the CSPI program are also eligible to apply for guaranteed flight training through the Wilk’s Flight Initiative program.

Deadlines for officer program applications are approaching fast!

CGRC Officer Program schedule 2013-2014

Want to learn more? Visit our officer opportunities page under the “find your career” tab on the Go Coast Guard website to see if you meet the eligibility criteria.

Specific criteria and information on the application process for all Coast Guard officer programs can be found in our newly developed Officer Application Job Aid Kit.

Once you determine which programs you qualify for, please contact your local recruiting office. Their information can be found under the “get the answers tab” via the “contact a recruiter” or “find a recruiter” page on the Go Coast Guard website.

Good luck and Semper Paratus!

2 comments on “So you want to be a Coast Guard officer?”

  1. I was curious about the enlisted to ocs opportunities in the Coast Guard. What are the chances and what is the criteria used? Thanks,

  2. Jim, great question! Officer Candidate School is the primary commissioning program available to enlisted members. The general criteria are as follows: members with less than 4 years of active service who have at least a BA or BS, a 2.5 GPA, are less than 31 (i.e will not be 31 by 30 September of the current selection cycle) are in good financial standing, have solid character, and a qualifying test score (23 ACT, 109 ASVAB GT, 1100 SAT (combined math and reading)) are eligible to apply for OCS-R. Members with at least four years of active service can apply to OCS-T. All criteria are the same except they must not be older than 35 and must have at least 30 college credits (including college math). Coast guard applicants applying to either program must also be positively endorsed by their unit Commanding Officer, be recommended by an unbiased interview conducted by 3 CG officers, and have no instances of unsatisfactory conduct or less than a “4” in a performance dimension on their evaluations for the last 36 months. These are the minimum requirements. CGRC conducts 2 OCS selection panels a year: one for OCS-T, one for OCS-R. The opportunity of selection for OCS-T has averaged about 20% for the last 5 years, whereas OCS-R has averaged 6 percent. These statistics are offered in our OJAK (link in blog above), and the comprehensive list of eligibility criteria for each program is detailed on our website, and in the OJAK.
    Also, enlisted members who meet the eligibility criteria for our direct commission programs (listed in the above blog- DCE, DCL, DCIO, etc) may certainly apply via the direct commission venue. I hope this has been helpful!

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