There are over 200 civilian jobs to choose from within the U.S. Coast Guard, each one offering its own unique experiences and opportunities. There are a few different job types within the Coast Guard, and we’ll explore what those opportunities are below. The different job categories are professional, administrative, and technical occupations, trades and labor, and administrative support positions. Let’s take a look at what kind of career you could have if you decide to become a part of the U.S. Coast Guard family.
Professional Occupations in the Coast Guard
Professional positions in the Coast Guard involve a high technical and analytical ability, judgment, and a broad knowledge base in regards to the practices, policies, and procedures required for each profession. They support the critical role of serving and protecting American soil and civilians. Civilian staff is employed to support the missions of the Coast Guard in protecting waterways and coastlines. Some of the possible professional occupations that you’ll find are:
- Civil, electronics, and mechanical engineering
- Family childcare
- Educational and vocational training
Professional occupations are valuable to the Coast Guard just as much as military and sea-going jobs are. These positions are an essential part of the Coast Guards duties outside of sea-going positions and the military. They provide critical support and services to this country.
Administrative Occupations in the Coast Guard
The administrative occupations work to support business operations. They perform tasks such as processing transactions, receiving and verifying documents, and locating and compiling data, as well as performing duties that help meet security challenges that the U.S. faces. Some of the different jobs within the administrative type are:
- Administrative specialist
- Intelligence analyst
- Paralegal specialist
- Criminal investigator
- Environmental protection specialist
- Vessel traffic management specialist
- Search and rescue controller
- Security specialist (port security)
Administrative tasks are an essential part of any business and operation. From intelligence gathering to managing the day-to-day schedules and interactions of those around you, the jobs in this category are essential to the smooth functioning of the Coast Guard operations.
Technical Positions in the Coast Guard
Technical positions within the Coast Guard have the main focus of providing technical support for the professional and administrative positions. Some of the technical jobs that are available are:
- Engineering technician
- Construction representative
- Dental assistant
The I.T. department serves a critical role in the field of technology as it relates to the Coast Guard, and the security of this nation. They are on hand to offer support to those in professional fields, as well as the administrative fields. If you’ve ever been doing work on a computer and something goes wrong, especially when that work is critical to the success of the whole, you know how important the role of the technical positions are.
Trades and Labor Positions in the Coast Guard
Trades and labor civilian positions within the U.S. Coast Guard “are responsible for the maintenance, engineering, supply, and information services to support our missions.” The positions may require manual labor, crafts, and high-level knowledge and skill within their trade. Some of the jobs available within the trades and labor positions are:
- Aircraft mechanic
- Electronics, maintenance, sheet metal, or marine machinery mechanic
Trades and labor positions are the most straightforward as far as training goes. These jobs require high-level skills and expertise which require experience and training inside and outside of the Coast Guard.
Administrative Support Positions in the Coast Guard
The administrative support positions provide clerical support for the agency’s management infrastructure. The work provided by the administrative support staff is similar to some of the administrative occupations, but with the sole focus on clerical duties. Some of the jobs available within the administrative support category of the Coast Guard are:
- Administrative assistant
- Human resources assistant
- Legal instruments examiner
- Office automation clerk
- Purchasing agent
Last, but not least, administrative support provides important clerical work that has to be done. So much paperwork has to be processed, reviewed, verified, filed, and tracked. The administrative support staff ensure that all t’s are crossed and all I’s are dotted.
What To Expect With Coast Guard Civilian Jobs
A civilian job with the Coast Guard is just that. You don’t have to enlist to work for the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard has over 7,000 civilians working for them in over 200 different positions in over 100 different locations. You won’t attend a boot camp style training like you would for enlisting with the Coast Guard. The process would be similar to being hired in the private sector, with similar orientations, trainings, and onboarding processes.
Civilian positions aren’t typically sea-going, so a knowledge base of nautical terms and other jargon aren’t necessary for many of the jobs. If the knowledge is important, it will be listed in the job requirements of that specific job, or it will be a part of the training for the position. Education and experience are also tailored to the specific job you’re applying for. Looking at the job and education requirements will give you an idea of what you need for each particular position.
The all-important question: what is the pay like? Pay as a civilian employee for the Coast Guard is competitive. Compensation for civilian jobs follows the federal government’s General Schedule pay rates, and jobs are assigned a specific pay level or grade.
Coast Guard Civilian Job Benefits
The Coast Guard offers a comprehensive benefits package for all employees that is comparable to, or better than, the private sector offerings. There are full-time and part-time jobs within the Coast Guard. Some part-time jobs will be eligible for a comprehensive benefits package. It is based on each individual job. If you are a full-time federal employee, you’ll earn 13 days of annual leave for the first three years, followed by 20 days of earned annual leave for years three through 14. You’ll receive 26 days of leave each year after 15 years of commitment. You may also carry over up to 30 days of leave accrual into the next year. Sick leave is similar, where you earn 13 days of sick leave each year, although there are no limits on the amount of sick leave possible to accrue.
Coast Guard civilian jobs also offer all of the other common benefits of health insurance, life insurance, sick leave, retirement funds, flexible spending accounts, long-term care insurance, and continuing education support. Some unique perks that are part of the benefits package are:
- Worker’s Compensation Program
- Fitness centers where available
- Flexible work schedules
- Morale activities
- Discount ticket programs
- Mass transit subsidies
Coast Guard civilian jobs also offer the option to telework for some jobs, where you work away from the primary workplace for part or all of your day. These telework opportunities have shown to increase productivity, improve the quality of work-life, reduce commuting time and expenses, accommodate those with disabilities, as well as retain highly skilled employees.
Working for the Coast Guard in a civilian capacity is the perfect opportunity to be a part of something greater than yourself without the sacrifice that comes with enlisting in the military. Maybe you’re a single parent who can’t leave home for long periods of time, but you still want to contribute to the well-being and security of the United States. Becoming a part of the Coast Guard team requires commitment, effort, and a solid knowledge base. As a Coast Guard civilian employee, you are contributing towards the protection of United States coastlines, water, soil, environment, and human safety and security.