Coast Guard Enlisted Rank

The enlisted ranks of the USCG consist of Seaman (E-1 through E-3), Petty Officers (E-4 through E-6), and Chief Petty Officers (E-7 through E-9). Petty Officers Third Class (E4) serve as the entry-level non-commissioned officers, where they are asked not only to follow others, but also to lead. At the highest rank, Master Chief Petty Officers (E-9) are the senior enlisted petty officers in the U.S. Coast Guard and they are given special command trust to administer and manage enlisted personnel. At this level, many pursue enrollment in the Command Master Chief Petty Officer Program to further enhance their skills and abilities and advance to higher command ranks.

Coast Guard Warrant Officer Rank

Warrant Officers (W-2 through W-4) are board-appointed positions within the Coast Guard. Before being considered, service members wishing to advance their rank to Warrant Officer must have served as noncommissioned officers and held the grade of E-6. A Chief Warrant Officer Two (W-2) will pursue one of twenty-one specialty designations. After sufficient years of service and experience, they then can advance to Chief Warrant Officers Three and Four (W-3 and W-4). At this rank, they then can compete in the Chief Warrant Officer to Lieutenant Program to be promoted to lieutenant (O-3E).

Coast Guard Officer Rank

Coast Guard Officer ranks (O-1 through O-10) hold the same rank structure as the Navy. The lowest rank in this tier is the Ensign (O-1) and they are often attending training to learn their vocational or staff skills, or they are serving on ships or in shore assignments, as well as leading groups of non-commissioned officers and enlisted personnel. Considered as the mid-ranking officer, the Lieutenant Commander (O-4) is an expert in their field and can fill a variety of assignments depending on their profession. They also command smaller vessels.

The highest rank one can achieve in the Coast Guard, aside from Fleet Admiral which is given only during wartime, is Admiral (O-10). There are only two four-star flag officers in the U.S. Coast Guard authorized to hold the rank of Admiral, the Commandant of the Coast Guard and the Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard. These two individuals report directly to the President of the United States, and oversee U.S. Coast Guard Operations.