Coast Guard Off-Duty Employment

Learn about jobs that Coast Guard members can do while off-duty, and get information for each job, including the median salary, job duties and required skills.

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Coast Guard Reserve personnel work part time for the Coast Guard and while off-duty are free to pursue other employment. There are many career options to choose from in the Coast Guard, and they all have civilian counterparts. Learn about a few of these off-duty options' salaries, job growth and job duties.

Career Comparison

Job Title Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)* Applicable Military Skills/Tasks
Water Transportation Worker $55,590 8% Physical fitness, working outdoors and on the water
Medical Assistant $32,480 29% Attention to detail, interpersonal skills, healthcare knowledge
Electrical and Electronics Installer and Repairer $57,210 1% Physical fitness, mechanical ability, electrical knowledge
Construction Laborer and Helper $33,450 12% Physical fitness, following directions, equipment handling
Customer Service Representative $32,890 5% Communication, problem solving, interpersonal skills

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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The U.S. Coast Guard recruits and trains service members to fulfill all of the duties required to run a very large organization. There is something for everyone, whether you have a science background, are good with people or want to learn a technical trade. Read about a few of the civilian employment opportunities below that may be a good match for off-duty Coast Guard Reserve. See what each job entails and how it corresponds to a Coast Guard career.

Water Transportation Worker

Water transportation workers are equivalent to Coast Guard boatswain's mates, who are the Jacks-of-all-trade on boats and ships. They can operate vessels, load cargo and assist in navigation, among many other tasks.

Water transportation workers hold any number of positions on a water vessel, from mate to captain, making it a good job option for off-duty Coast Guard personnel. Sailors, in particular, have duties that include cleaning and maintaining a vessel, loading and unloading cargo, standing watch and assisting with mooring and steering. Some deep-sea ships spend months out to sea, so those positions would not be appropriate for Coast Guard members, who have duties to fulfill each month. However, there are many options for working on smaller boats like coastal or inland tugboats, barges and ferries. These vessels require crew to work anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks at a time.

Medical Assistant

The job of medical assistant directly corresponds to the Coast Guard Reserve career of health services technician. With the appropriate certification, which is often preferred if not required, a Coast Guard health services technician can work off-duty as a civilian medical assistant. Medical assistants can take on administrative and/or clinical roles, and they work with a variety of other healthcare personnel, including physicians and nurses. Clinical medical assistants' job duties include performing initial evaluations of patients to record information like personal history and vital signs. They might also prepare blood samples, administer injections or help physicians with other aspects of an evaluation. Administrative medical assistants help a healthcare practice run smoothly by filling in patient forms, scheduling appointments and liaising with insurance companies.

Electrical and Electronics Installer and Repairer

Coast Guard electrician's mates may want to consider a job as an electrical installer or repairer when off-duty. The Coast Guard offers extensive education and training for its electrician's mates, covering topics like physics and math and teaching hands-on skills for building, repairing or maintaining electrical systems. Civilian electrical installers and repairers can work in transportation, communications or a number of other industries. They inspect and diagnose equipment and also disassemble, repair and reassemble as necessary. While the specific electrical equipment electrician's mates work on might be very different than what exists in civilian industries, the theories and practical skills can transfer easily.

Construction Laborer and Helper

Working as a general laborer on a construction site is a great option for an off-duty Coast Guard member, since the work may be on a project-by-project basis or only exist during the warmer months, giving plenty of time to fulfill Coast Guard duties. Any Coast Guard damage controlman could consider a job as a construction worker. Damage controlman are the Coast Guard's skilled tradesmen and can work on a construction job in their specific trade (like carpentry or plumbing) or as a general helper. Construction laborers and general helpers need to be physically fit, willing to work in all outdoor weather conditions and able to follow specific instructions and operating procedures.

Customer Service Representative

Customer service representatives are employed in retail, business support, insurance and many other sectors, usually working from an office but sometimes from home as well. Coast Guard yeomen, who are the behind-the-scenes administrators for the branch, could do well in a customer service role. Some of the skills of yeomen that transfer particularly well to a civilian customer service representative position include answering questions and providing information, counseling and performing research. Customer service representatives interact directly with customers, listening to their questions or concerns and providing information or answers.

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