Created in 1790, the United States Coast Guard is one of the oldest branches of the military. It was referred to as Revenue Cutter Service before being renamed to Coast Guard.
As one of the US’s seven uniformed services, the Coast Guard stands out among the other military branches for having federal regulatory agency mission and a maritime law execution mission with jurisdiction exceeding beyond domestic waters.
It operates under the Department of Homeland Security, and can be called upon to help the Navy during times of war.
To join this prestigious military branch, you have to meet their age, education, and physical fitness requirements. In this post, we will majorly focus on age requirements for joining the Coast Guard.
Related Article: Coast Guard Height And Weight Requirements
Age limits for Coast Guard active duty
The maximum age limit to enlist in active duty Coast Guard ranges from 27 to 32 years for those who join advanced training school immediately after enlistment.
Applicants with prior experience in the military service can be given a waiver for these limits.
To become an active duty officer, the maximum age limit is down to how you get your commission:
- The minimum age to join the Coast Guard Academy is 17 while the maximum age is 22 years
- To join the Officer Candidate School or OCS, the minimum age is 21 years while the maximum age is 26 years. However, the age limit may be exceeded by several months for applicants with prior experience in active duty service in the military (but the limit should not exceed 31 years)
- The age limit varies depending on the program when it comes to Direct Commission. Medical officers, engineers, lawyers, aviators, and others have varying age limits
Age Limits for Coast Guard Reserve Duty
The Coast Guard Reserve was formed in 1939 as an organization for boat owners to keep their boats secure but was officially established during WWII.
The Reserve serves a vital role in helping active duty Coast Guard in different missions such as search and rescue missions, sea lane drug interdiction, and law enforcement.
Here are few age limit guidelines for first-time enlistees;
- Be between 17 and 28 years to join without specialized professional skills and 26 to 35 years with specialized professional skills
- For applicants with prior experience in military service, the age limits are under 30 years for those with prior military experience below the rank of E-3 and under 40 years for those who have served in any military branch above the rank of E-4
The Coast Guard offers different ways to join the service, and here are different age limits for each way:
Student Reserve Program
If you are in senior high school or college, you can join the Coast Guard Reserve without interrupting your studies. However, you have to be between 17 and 28 years. You will train for two summers and serve Coast Guard for one weekend every month through the school year.
Petty Officer Selectee Program
If you do not have experience in military service, you can apply for the Petty Officer Selectee Program. However, you need to be between 17 and 27 years. You will be taken through basic and advanced training that takes 30 weeks.
Direct Petty Officer Program
This suits people with no prior experience in military service. You will need to be between 26 and 35 years.
Prior Service Program
This suits people with prior experience in military service who are below 59 years. Depending on your area of specialization, you may enlist for the same rate you previously held while on active duty. Many veteran officers choose this program to see off their 20 years’ service and to get more retirement benefits.