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Home / Careers / Subspecialties

Coast Guard Officer Subspecialties

With a broad array of Coast Guard duties, no single individual can master all the knowledge required to be effective in every career field. Instead, officers develop expertise in professional fields called Specialties and Subspecialties. Specialties fall into one of two categories:

  • Mission Execution: Perform Coast Guard missions
  • Mission Support: Develop and manage resources and systems used to perform missions

Advancing within Your Specialty

Your first assignment will give you an operational foundation and test your interest in a Specialty. During the next several assignments you will pursue your Specialty designation. You will earn qualifications, attend formal training and may go to graduate school or earn licenses or certifications. Eager to command? Command of a ship is possible after only two years of service – far sooner than other branches of the military.

Out-of-Specialty Assignments

As you progress, broadening experiences outside your Specialty are normal. Known as “out-of-specialty” assignments, you might attend law school, head up a new interagency team or be chosen for a high-visibility assignment at the White House or with Congress.

With few exceptions, Coast Guard specialty expertise is in high demand and leads directly to employment in the private and public sectors.

Mission Execution Community
Mission Support Community
Specialty Sub-Specialties Specialty Sub-Specialties
Response – Afloat Ship based Law Enforcement and Homeland Security Command, Control, Communication & Information Technology (C4IT) Information Systems Management
Response – Ashore Search & Rescue Coordination Electrical and Electronics Engineering
Defense Operations Communications Management
Maritime Law Enforcement Engineering Aeronautical Engineering
Boat Forces Operations Civil Engineering
Marine Environmental Response Industrial Engineering
Incident Management and Preparedness Naval Engineering
Response – Aviation Fixed Wing Aviation Ocean Engineering
Rotary Wing Aviation Cyberspace Operations Cyber IT
Prevention-Afloat Aids to Navigation Cybersecurity
Ice Operations  Cyber Effects
Cyber Intelligence
Intelligence None
Legal None
Prevention-Ashore Vessel Inspections Management Command and Staff
Marine Investigations External Affairs
Waterways Operation and Management International Affairs
Port and Facility Safety and Security Enterprise Policy, Planning, Budgeting & Management
Auxiliary Operations Acquisition Project Management
Marine Safety Engineering Planning
Finance None
Human Resources HR Management
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