uscga badge
Close this search box.
Home / Mission / Professional Development

Professional Development

By the time you are ready to choose your first Coast Guard job, you will be able to make your decision with confidence.

The professional development program is a comprehensive, four-year process that leads to the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and the ability to succeed in your first Coast Guard job.

Individual and team-based experiential learning reinforces classroom theory, using simulators, waterfront assets, and operational Coast Guard ships, aircraft, and units, surpassing your typical college courses.

Besides hands-on experience in the active Coast Guard, you will have the chance to participate in annual career exploration weeks that feature speakers and leaders in Coast Guard aviation, Coast Guard careers at sea, and Coast Guard jobs ashore.

Professional Maritime Certifications

All graduates are certified by exam in the International and Inland Navigation Rules. Significantly, most cadets earn the Master—100 gross tons near coastal license, a standard of maritime proficiency recognized worldwide. Both certifications are foundations for building a career in the maritime industry, as well as your Coast Guard career.

Nautical Science Curriculum

Classroom study of navigation and nautical science are core academic requirements totaling up to 16 credits. The Shipboard Control and Navigation Training Simulator (SCANTS), waterfront training assets, and summer training are integrated with, or complement, the academic curriculum.



cadet in a simulator
Simulators and Labs

Explore the shipboard simulators, flight simulators and labs at the Academy.

cadets sailing
Waterfront Assets

Learn more about the 130+ boats, sailing vessels and trainers at the Academy waterfront.

cadets on the helm

Discover why one of the oldest ships in commissioned service is one of the best training platforms for future officers.

cadets on summer assignments
Summer in the Field

Sample the Coast Guard ships and units that train cadets each summer.

Coast Guard Professional Enrichment

Informal opportunities throughout the year enrich the professional development process, such as:

  • The Ethics Forum – a two-day seminar on ethical decision making
  • The Washington Trip – a three-day trip featuring private meetings with national leaders, relevant to maritime interests
  • Professional clubs
CGA Badge
Links from these pages to non-Coast Guard sites are provided as a customer service and do not represent any implicit or explicit endorsement by the United States Coast Guard of any commercial or private issues or products presented there.