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.