As a Coastie, I have traveled the States for the past 20 years going from coast to coast and one amazing adventure to another.
Read on in this blog to hear stories about my experiences living the Coast Guard life, not only as a military officer but also as a small town Midwestern girl who left home to enlist in the United States Coast Guard.
I look forward to hearing what you have to say about... My Coast Guard Career.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Age Limit to Join the U.S. Coast Guard

Over the past few weeks, I have gotten several e-mails (and even a phone call from my brother) about the age restrictions for joining the USCG. After conducting some research, it appears that the answer is not that simple. I can see why this is a frequent question.

I found some insightful information but I offer this disclaimer: Anyone wanting to join the USCG should seek the counsel of a USCG recruiter. Each person is a unique situation with many individual factors influencing whether or not s/he can join the USCG. With that said, here is what I found…

Currently, US Code Title 10 Chapter 31 Section 505 sets the minimum age to join the military at 17 and the maximum age at 42. However, each military service is allowed to set more strict standards. The USCG, in fact, does vary its age restrictions depending on whether you enlist or receive a commission, whether you go on active or reserve duty, and whether you have prior military service.

For active duty...

The maximum age to enlist is 27 or up to age 32 for those who attend advanced training school directly upon enlistment. Applicants with prior military service can be granted a waiver for these age limits. To become an officer, the maximum age depends on how you get your commission:

  • The CG Academy minimum age is 17 and maximum age is 22 years old.
  • The Officer Candidate School (OCS) minimum age is 21 and maximum age is 26 years old. However, applicants with prior active duty service in any military branch may exceed this age limit by the number of months of service (not to exceed age 31).
  • For a Direct Commission, the age limit will vary depending on the program. Aviators, medical officers, lawyers, engineers, and others have various age limits. Click here for more information.

For reserve duty...

The maximum age to enlist is age 39. For a reserve commission, the minimum age is 21 and maximum age is 36 years old; however, a waiver may be granted for applicants with prior military service (up to age 39).

Besides age limits, there are other restrictions to joining the military such as your family size (number of dependents), financial responsibility, education, criminal record, health, and height/weight. Many of these restrictions can be waived but will depend on each individual situation. For more information, I encourage you to talk to a recruiter.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

The age limits have been raised recently. I am currently trying for OCS and am 27, I believe the age limit is 30 now.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous:

Can you please provide me the C.G. recruiter's information that you are dealing with. I am also 27 and have been told by two recruiters that I am to old and another recruiter has said I am not. Regardless of geographic location, any information would be appreciated. I also believe the age is older than 26, according to ALCOST 485-08, which came out Oct 05, 2008.

Anonymous said...

Where did you come from Midwest wise? I'm from Iowa and joined in Minneapolis. Go CG!

LadyCoastie said...

Please see my updated post for recently revised policy on the age limit to join at http://mycoastguardcareer.blogspot.com/2008/10/revised-age-limit-to-join-coast-guard.html.

Connie

Anonymous said...

Here is another one that I at least didn't think of, maybe other people would. But watch out where your tattoos are. Nothing on the neck or the wrist. I wasn't able to join because of a small tattoo on my neck

Anonymous said...

I heard from my recruiter that they changed the age from 27 to 30 as well for civilians.

jim Lamb said...

The age limit rule should be revised. I am an "old guy" (60) and very healthy. I am retired law enforcement and full of wisdom. There are a lot of folks in my bracket that could very well serve our nation again and would love to do so.
Jim lamb

mathew said...

What if I have 8 yrs active duty Coast Guard but am now in the reserves, and I try for a commision, can I then get back into active duty as an officer?

LadyCoastie said...

Hi Mathew. My experience tells me this is how it would work...

You can apply for both OCS and for ROCI (Reserve Officer Candidate Indoctrination). If you go OCS and get selected, you would go back to active duty as an Officer. If you go ROCI, you would be a Reserve Officer. As a Reserve Officer, you can try to pick up temporary active duty Officer positions and make it known that you want to be back on active duty. That works for some.

Does this help?

mathew said...

Yes that definately helps. I am 35 now so I am on a race against the clock, but I think I will go for the ROCI and see if I can merge back into it that way.. I am just thankful that I went into the reserves right after getting off active or else I would have less of a chance to get back on, thanks for your advice and help...

mathew said...

One more question, I am getting an educational assessment done now and was hoping with the results I may have 60 credit hrs to meet the minimum for the SRDC program. I was told now that the credit hrs must be from a college and not credit hrs that the Guard will give me from courses I took when I was active, does this sound right?

Anonymous said...

I am 38 with no past military experience and no college degree. I do have a certificate in Optometric (eye) Assisting and a few medical assisting classes. Might there be a way I can join the Reserves at my age?

Sean said...

I am 33 years of age and recently returned from doing some volunteer work and am interested in joining the U.S. Coast Guard. I have no previous military training but possess a Bachelors of Science in Communication and was a Radio Morning Show Producer here in San Diego for past 5 years. After my recent volunteer experience I want to continue to professionally serve in my community. Looking for advice on what options I may have? My Physical condition and health in high category.

CBraesch said...

Wow, lots of comments and emails on this post. Guess it is a hot topic and one I should post about on the official Coast Guard blog, Coast Guard Compass, found at http://coastguard.dodlive.mil.

Sean, you sound like a great candidate for the Coast Guard but I cannot enlist you. You will need to go see a recruiter to talk about things like age waivers and career paths. There are many options for joining the Coast Guard family like active duty, reservist or even as an auxiliarist. It really all depends on your intentions and desire to serve. Look into all your options and really know what you want... then, go talk to a recruiter and see what happens.

Good luck!

Concrete Shade said...

hi, my name is carly & im 17 about to turn 18.im thinking about maybe joining the coastgaurds but im not sure exactly what to do or who to talk to...

thankyou

Miltonic0 said...

Hi my name is Nicolas and i`m at law school here at Argentina and i wanted to know if after I graduate (when I`m 24 years old) i can still join the US coast guard as an international coastie.

Anonymous said...

I spoke to a recruiter in the Northern Virgnia area that I live in.

I asked if at my age of 38 y.o. with no prior service was a valid age to join the USCG reserve.

But he stated that 36 was the maximum.


However from your blog entry,

http://mycoastguardcareer.blogspot.com/2008/09/age-limit-to-join-us-coast-guard.html

It states:

"The maximum age to enlist is age 39. For a reserve commission, the minimum age is 21 and maximum age is 36 years old; however, a waiver may be granted for applicants with prior military service (up to age 39)."


Can you confirm is this is still the case? If so is there a document that I can quote when speaking with a USCG Reserve recruiter?


Thank you,
-K

Anonymous said...

your career as coast guard reminds me my friend Perros
, who died during his duty.

Anonymous said...

I have prior Navy service. It would be nice to get in the USCG reserves via OCS. Unfortunately, I'm 40, so no breaks there.

Daniel said...

Ms. Braesch,

I know this thread has been posted several years ago, but I'm seeking out advice but have received mixed responses from CG recruiters.

I am currently DEP'd in for Active Duty CG. I will be obtaining an A.S. degree in Biology with the intent to finish my B.S. in Biology either during my active service or during my inactive reserve time. I scored a 92 on my ASVAB and I will be 28 when I ship to boot camp (I'm currently 27).

If I choose to make the CG a long-term career, I would love to get a commission, however, I fear that my age would bar me from doing so. My service rep at MEPS said that age waivers get issued all the time for these things...but that was it. I can't find any info about age requirements for my particular situation and recruiters give me mixed answers. Mine has told me simply to go on gocoastguard.com. I know you're not a recruiter nor are you the final word in this topic, but I'm seeking your guidance to know what to do or how to do it to get the most out of my CG career. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you for your service. I look forward to being part of such an elite team. Take care!

CBraesch said...

Dan, I am not an expert on the waivers or age limitations, but the rules for members currently on Active duty who apply for commission are different and may have more leeway than for that of a civilian. I attended OCS with several prior enlisted members who were in there early to mid 30s (possibly even older but I never asked their exact age). The reason there are age limits at all is because the training is intense and very physical. It is not easy for a 25 year old let alone a 35 year old. Regardless, I wouldn't let it hold you back from pursuing a CG career.

LT Braesch

Daniel said...

LT Braesch,

I appreciate your feedback. I will still pursue a possible commission. It's a goal of mine indeed, but for now, I'll be taking one thing at a time i.e. boot camp. Thank you for taking the time to respond. Take care!

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Anonymous said...

The limit of age should only be limited by the highest and youngest ages of people already serving as long as you can pass the physical and mental evaluations :)

Anonymous said...

Wow you gotta fix the time stamp on your comment board...this comment is posted 10 December 2010 at 08:58USA/CT

Samantha--Rae said...

Hello, My names Samantha and Im 16. Im not doing so hot in High School at the moment.Im now in my junior year, and im worried about college.I honestly want to serve and a branch of the military Im just having a hard time with which brranch. I have noticed that the national guard is the only branch sending things in the mail. I am curious as to why. So Ive been doing some research and for the life of me i cannot figure out if this is the only branch Im old enough to serve in as of now.
Email me?
samraestarr16@gmail.com
Let me know about the coast guard and if they look at my grades and if the beneefits are good for college.
Id really appreciate it.
<3Samantha-Rae

Perros said...

Thanks for the info, I was very useful.

JOHANNBALLATYNE said...

Hi I really interested in joing the coast guard I been working hard for it cuz Im a litle overweight rite now but also what really scare me is that my english is no really that good is my secound lenguage and im afraid of the tests my question is there something that ican do to be prepare and make it a litle easier for me?

christian+b said...

hello.I am 16 years old and I decided I want to be in the search and rescue. how many years do i have to wait to start my training?

Anonymous said...

Hi how Long Do you have to Serve the Coast Guard to make your helicopter License? Please right me an e mail Tomlandeg@gmail.com

viagra said...

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Anonymous said...

Imagine That, The United States Armed Forces,

Age Discrimination
Age discrimination involves treating someone (an applicant or employee) less favorably because of his age.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) only forbids age discrimination against people who are age 40 or older.


I am 44, Construction Electrician 18 years, Maintenance Electrician MetroNorth Railroad, scuba, Cowboy Guns, Natural ability to Navigate.

I could help defend, our nation to, save lives ...Too Bad Our Government is so narrow minded.
They make laws then break em.

GPJ said...

I am 50 and in better physical and mental shape than most eligible teens. This is due to life long participation in Gymnastic Sports. Also attended 4yrs of leadership education program (Marine Corp sponsored) in HS (JROTC) and due to ASVAB scores was being recruited for the Navy's Nuclear engineering program and Navy Marine Option ROTC. Turned down military at the time due to College ROTC would not allow me to continue to train as a college level gymnast AND do ROTC. Gynmnast train year round and they felt it a conflict too much. Since then have earned basically 4 degrees and most of a masters. Due to economy Im back in school retraining in a Medical field. What are my chances to recieve a waiver for age. Encourage recruiter to contace me. I am presently in north tx.

coachgeo AT hotmail DOT com

Anonymous said...

Hello,

I am curious about something. My husband has 8 years in the Coast Guard as an MK2 (he was also on the list for MK1 advancement) and got out in July to use his G.I Bill for college. He is not sure if college is the right thing for him. If he did want to get back in as an MK2 how difficult do you think that would be?

benay2000@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

I am 37 and want to join up with ANY military branch. I have a college degree, but no prior military experience. Is there anything out there I can do?

Anonymous said...

Age limits are stupid. There are many older men and women who would be great.

Nathan Peterson said...

I wanna join but in 16 so I got a year left

Alaska Insurance said...

From what I have read, you have to be at least 18 and the cutoff age is 27. You have to be in bootcamp before you turn 28. Starting salary is barely enough to live on. As an E-1, expect you check every two weeks to be around $550. That's after taxes, life insurance and all that other good stuff they take out.

Anonymous said...

hello,i would like to ask a question about the coastguard.i would appreciate it a lot if you answered.my question is:can i join the coastguard for only two years if i wanted to???or there is a minimum yearlimit for it?thank you

Roy Gipson said...

I am 45 years old and currentlya full time student in college. This is my last year. I only Have 4 months left before I graduate witha degree in music. I have prior military experience with the US Navy. I want to know if I could receive a waiver for the age limit to re-enter the military but in the USA Marine Corps to be an officer and play in the USMC