Can I Join the Coast Guard With a GED?

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Entering the Coast Guard With a GED

The Department of Homeland Security is responsible for the U.S. Coast Guard services. Almost 41,000 people are full-time service members of the U.S. Coast Guard. Another 7,000 work part time as reservists. In addition to these employees, the Coast Guard employs over 8,500 civilians and has 31,000 volunteers.

Enlisted positions with the Coast Guard can be pursued with a GED, but only in special circumstances. Applicants must also fulfill all of the job requirements to qualify. Moreover, they may be competing against other candidates with postsecondary training or relevant work experience. Although a GED may be sufficient to qualify for a role with the Coast Guard, it does not guarantee that all applicants with a GED will be offered positions with the Coast Guard.

Coast Guard Careers With a GED

There are many career opportunities for enlisted service members that do not have specific academic requirements, which means GED applicants can be considered for these roles. Moreover, these opportunities provide training to individuals who qualify. Opportunities in this category include:

Aviation Maintenance Technician Aviation Survival Technician
Damage Controlman Culinary Specialist
Electrician's Mate Electronics Technician
Gunner's Mate Health Services Technician
Information Systems Technician Machinery Technician
Marine Science Technician Public Affairs Specialist
Storekeeper Boatswain's Mate

Other Coast Guard Requirements

All Coast Guard positions require U.S. citizenship. Individuals with permanent resident status are also eligible to pursue opportunities with the Coast Guard.

Some positions may require specific attributes, such as color vision. This is particularly applicable to careers involving electrical and electronics work, such as being an electronics technician or electrician's mate. Still other positions might require that applicants qualify for specific security clearance levels or meet specific physical fitness requirements.

There are also opportunities that prefer applicants with certain talents, such as organizational skills. It is important to review the job requirements for the positions that you're interested in to ensure you fulfill all the requirements.

Reserve and Civilian Opportunities

Coast Guard members may be on full-time active duty or they may serve in the reserves part time. Most of the same opportunities available to Coast Guard members on active duty are available to individuals serving in the reserves. The only exception is that there are no reserve opportunities for aviation staff. Reserve opportunities include:

Boatswain's Mate Culinary Specialist Damage Controlman
Electrician's Mate Gunner's Mate Health Services Technician
Intelligence Specialist Machinery Technician Operations Specialist

Civilian career opportunities in a variety of technical and administrative fields are also an option. The Coast Guard hires secretaries, office clerks, painters and welders, to name a few positions for which an individual with a GED could qualify for.

Studying for GED Tests

You can use this comprehensive, online GED Study Guide to prepare for your GED exams or choose from among the courses on specific GED exam subjects linked to here. Each one consists of self-paced video lessons followed by quizzes designed to check your understanding of the material. You'll also find a practice test at the end of each course to help determine when you're ready for your exam.

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