Officer Candidate School (OCS)
Officer Candidate School (OCS) is an extensive 17-week course of instruction which prepares officer candidates to serve effectively as officers of the United States Coast Guard. In addition to introducing students to the military lifestyle, OCS provides a vast curriculum covering topics that are essential for performing the duties of a Coast Guard Officer. Graduates of the program receive a commission in the Coast Guard as an Ensign and are required to serve a minimum of three years on active duty service. Graduates may be assigned to a ship, flight training, or an operations ashore billet. All graduates will be available for world-wide assignment.

If you have ALREADY been selected for the OCS program, consult the OCS Pre-Reporting GuidePDF Icon and Travel FAQs PDF Icon for specific information to prepare you for the course.

Eligibility Requirements 

Age: 

  • Temporary commission: between the ages of 21 and 34 (applicants must have reached their 21st birthday, but not their 35th birthday as of 30 September of the fiscal year in which the panel convenes).
  • Reserve commission: between the ages of 21 and 30 (applicants must have reached their 21st birthday, but not their 31st birthday as of 30 September of the fiscal year in which the panel convenes).

Military Status: 

If you are currently serving in another branch of the U.S. Armed Forces or are enrolled in a ROTC program, you must provide a release from your service obligations prior to entering the Coast Guard. Applicants with six or more years of non-Coast Guard active duty service are not eligible.

Citizenship: 

All applicants must be United States citizens.

Qualifying Tests: 

All applicants must provide a qualifying score on the SAT, ACT, or ASVAB. No waivers will be considered. Minimum qualifying scores are as follows:

  • SAT 1: combined 1100 on verbal and math
  • ACT: 23
  • ASVAB: 109 on ASVAB General Technical (GT) Aptitude Area after 1 July 2004; 110 prior to 1 July 2004. The GT score is obtained by combining the VE (Word Knowledge and Paragraph Comprehension) and AR (Arithmetic Reasoning) test scores.

Physical: 

A full medical screening will be conducted in accordance with your application.

Health and Physical Readiness: 

Within the first 72 hours of reporting to OCS, Officer Candidates will be given a physical fitness test to gauge your individual physical fitness level and determine your eligibility to continue in the program. To assist you with the Cadence Push-ups (2-minute time limit), use the audio recording to prepare for the push-ups. The push-ups are completed to an approved cadence that consists of pushing up for one second and lowering down for one second without stopping. There is a maximum number of 60 pushups that can be completed in a 2-minute period. See the OCS Pre-Reporting Guide for more information.

Educational Qualifications: 

Reserve Commission Applicants must be in their senior year or hold a baccalaureate or higher degree from an accredited college or university with a cumulative GPA of 2.5.

Temporary Commission Applicants (active duty Coast Guard personnel E-5 and above with at least four years of active duty in any Armed Forces) must have a baccalaureate or higher degree from an accredited college or university, or 25th percentile scores on general CLEP exams, or have completed at least one year of college (30 semester or 45 quarter hours) at an accredited college or university. Temporary Commission Applicants must also have completed one college-level math class or pass the general math CLEP exam. Contact your unit Educational Service Officer for additional information.

For information on Officer Candidate School and the application deadlines, visit GoCoastGuard.com.

American Council on Education (A.C.E.) Accreditation
Course #:
340370
Location: Coast Guard Academy, New London, Connecticut
Length: 17 weeks (928 hours)
Exhibit Dates: 5/10–Present
Credits: In the lower-division baccalaureate/associate degree category, 2 semester hours in navigation law (rules of the road), 3 in bridge watchkeeping, 2 in underway training cruise, and 3 in health and physical education. In the upper-division baccalaureate category, 3 semester hours in leadership, 4 in management, and 1 in ethics (2/11)