Do I Need A GED To Join The Coast Guard?

Last Updated on May 16, 2024.

We often are asked if you need a GED or High School Diploma to qualify for a position with the United States Coast Guard.

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Well, you do, but the fact of the matter is that for all divisions of the armed forces counts that high school graduates are preferred over GED graduates. If you need your GED®, however, check out our free online GED classes to help you achieve your GED diploma fast.

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Now, however, due to the recruiting crisis, the Army had dropped the condition that potential recruits must have a GED or high school degree, but this requirement was reinstated.

On the website, you can find all the information you need to learn all about working with the Coast Guard, also with a GED, and you may also want to call a local recruiter at 1-877-NOW-USCG (1-877-669-8724).

Talking to a recruiter won’t mean that you’ll be under any obligation or commitment. Recruiters will be more than happy to answer all of your questions.

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Qualification Requirements

To qualify for enlisting in the Coast Guard, you are required to meet some basic requirements, including residency, education, and age standards.

So, let’s take a closer look at what makes you qualified to join the U.S. Coast Guard. The following are a few basic requirements to be eligible to become a U.S Coast Guard member:

  • You need to be a U.S. citizen or registered as a Resident Alien.
  • Be in the age range of 17-31. 17-year-olds, however, need parental consent.
  • To qualify as a reservist, you need to be between 17 and 40. If you are a prior service member, please contact a local recruiter for more details.
  • Applicants must be high school graduates, but in specific circumstances, GED holders are accepted as well.
  • To qualify, applicants cannot have more than 3 (three) dependents.
  • You must pass the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) exam.
  • You must also pass a military medical entrance exam.

Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty

To qualify for a position with the U.S. Coast Guard, you need to be the type of person who wants to serve the American public on, in, or around the water.

If you feel that’s your calling, you can join the servicemen who save lives and protect our homeland. Coast Guard service personnel go by Honor, Respect, and devotion to Duty. That’s what it takes to become part of the American Shield of Freedom!

The Recruiting Process

There are a number of ways to get in touch with a Coast Guard recruiter, and lots of information is found on the website Let’s see how you can apply for a position or collect more information.

  • You can call a recruiting officer near you. The Coast Guard’s website lists all offices.
  • You can also email a recruiting office in your area. Be aware, though, that you should never send any Personally Identifiable Information, also referred to as PII, or any health-related documents or issues through email.
  • If you go to, there’s also a “Chat Now” function to chat with a recruiter.
  • You may also submit an “Application” to start the application and screening process. Be aware, though, to carefully read the “Application Guidance” section before clicking on the “Continue” button when you want to start the application and screening process.

In the qualification process, the pre-screen assessment is merely the first stage. Because of the highly sensitive nature of working with the Coast Guard, the screening process is rigorous.

Working with the Coast Guard often involves maritime law enforcement, military operations, and national security, so you’ll understand that the U.S. Coast Guard is highly selective when it comes to hiring service personnel.

There are so many qualified applicants for just a limited number of available positions, so only fully qualified applicants will be able to secure a position with the U.S. Coast Guard.

As stated earlier, with a GED, you may get enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard, but, as in all branches of our nation’s armed forces, high school graduates are preferred.

To find and contact a Coast Guard recruiter near you, go to the website where you can select your state from a menu on the left side of your screen.

You can also contact a Coast Guard Recruiting Office by phone. Just call 1-877-669-8724 (1-877-NOW-USCG).

Enlistment Options

The Coast Guard offers various enlistment options that come with some interesting military benefits.

The type of training you’ll get and the extent of it, depend on your specific position. There are positions as Active-Duty Officer, Active-Duty Enlisted, Reserve Officer, and Reserve Enlisted.

There’s the “Two-Year Enlistment” program, where enlistees can combine their training with additional Coast Guard Reserve commitments.

As a U.S. Coast Guard Reserve, you can serve our country on a part-time basis while serving at a location close to your home. To learn more about the U.S. Coast Guard Port Security Units (PSUs) and serving as a Reserve, please contact a recruiter near you.

In the U.S. Coast Guard, there’s no one single set career trajectory. The Coast Guard offers a wide variety of challenging and diverse opportunities spanning a broad scope of skillsets, backgrounds, and interests, ranging from serving as a law enforcement officer all the way to working as an executive chef.

The U.S. Coast Guard now offers new active-duty enlistees a great bonus of $5,000 to applicants holding an associate’s degree, and applicants with a bachelor’s, master’s, or Ph.D. degree may even receive a $10,000 bonus!

So you see, if you hold a GED and continue your education in college, the rewards can be very beneficial. So, earning your GED is absolutely worth the effort. Nothing should hold you back, right?

The U.S. Coast Guard

The U.S. Coast Guard is one of the six military services that our nation has. The basic values and guiding principles of the Coast Guard are these: Honor, Respect, and devotion to Duty.

These principles and values are at the foundation of the organization and are the guidelines to defend and preserve our nation, the United States of America.

The U.S. Coast Guard protects the personal security and safety of our nation’s people; our nation’s territorial integrity from both external and internal threats, both man-made and natural; our nation’s marine infrastructure and transportation system; and our economic and natural resources.

The U.S. Coast Guard protects these interests in U.S. inland waterways, ports, along our nation’s coastlines, and on the world’s international waters.

The U.S. Coast Guard was founded in 1790 and is among the oldest organizations within the U.S. federal government.

The Coast Guard was actually our nation’s only armed force on the water until, in 1798, Congress established the U.S. Navy Department.

Ever since it was established, the U.S. Coast Guard has protected our nation throughout its long years of proud history and served so many of our nation’s conflicts.

More Benefits

In addition to receiving a great education and training, U.S. Coast Guard members are well-paid, and their positions are relatively secure.

They will additionally receive comprehensive benefits packages such as free health, vision, and dental insurance; housing and meals; tuition assistance; one month of paid vacation; and so much more…