US Coast Guard Reviews

Updated August 22, 2014
Updated August 22, 2014
319 Reviews

4.1
319 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
US Coast Guard Commandant of the Coast Guard Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr.
Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr.
172 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Free training, steady pay and benefits (in 9 reviews)

  • Great benefits, ethical work force, and the APO division is very well administered (in 15 reviews)


Cons
  • Generally spend great amount of time away from family (in 12 reviews)

  • Inherent in the missions is the likelihood of time away from home for stretches of a few weeks or even months (in 11 reviews)

More Highlights

47 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    Supervisor

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at US Coast Guard for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Steady Pay, medical, the opportunity to assist people in need. Always meeting new people.

    Cons

    Instead of getting rid of personnel that do not do their job, it is expected that other people do their job while the ones that are not doing anything get chance after chance after chance.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Review how you are reducing the work force. There are personnel that are not doing their job, yet they just get moved to another unit while people that are doing their job and following the rules are being forced out.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Food

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Alameda, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Alameda, CA

    I worked at US Coast Guard full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Lots of pay for very little work done. Not much is required of you, other than to show up on time. Like all big government jobs there is a TON of money to be wasted and if you have the right job, that money can be wasted on yourself.

    Cons

    Too political...if a female doesn't like the way you ask them to do something they can cry he looked at me funny and all of sudden there is a serious investigation and your job is on the line. Don't look at anyone, don't talk to anyone everyone seems to be out to get each other fired.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    reconsider your policies about retention.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    A career in the United States Coast Guard

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at US Coast Guard full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    30 days of vacation earned each year, as well as health and dental insurance provided to the member and family. Tuition assistance and GI bill available to each member.

    Cons

    Training is very limited as are the varieties of opportunities available. It is also very hard to promote through the ranks. As an enlisted member the wait time to get job specific training can take up to 3 plus years in some cases.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Exciting work, difficult bureaucracy...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Port Engineer  in  New Orleans, LA
    Former Employee - Port Engineer in New Orleans, LA

    I worked at US Coast Guard full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    There are ample opportunities for great experiences and leadership development. Oftentimes you are given opportunities to make a direct impact in the operations of the Service.

    Cons

    There is a lot of micromanaging and certain positions require you to work 60-70 hours a week or more. Despite claims to the contrary the Service is less a meritocracy and more of a "don't rock the boat" atmosphere. High performers wanting to make a difference tend to be drowned out or shut up.

    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    acquired fundamental life skills

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Engineering Support  in  San Diego, CA
    Former Employee - Engineering Support in San Diego, CA

    I worked at US Coast Guard full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    job security, travel, health benefits

    Cons

    small budget, currently down sizing, lack of training

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Not entirely what I expected...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Lieutenant Junior Grade  in  Alameda, CA
    Current Employee - Lieutenant Junior Grade in Alameda, CA

    I have been working at US Coast Guard full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Service to country and humanity
    Good benefits and pay, Tricare, SGLI, cost of living and housing allowances
    Great organizational values of Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty that are usually adhered to
    Military access and secret clearance
    Unique experiences depending on unit such as travel to foreign countries or polar regions

    Cons

    Focus on job performance and advancement is highly politicized, less focused on results and more on ego stroking and self promotion
    Many Junior Officers and Chiefs care more about personal advancement and gain than mission completion or well being of others in organization
    "Perception is Reality" most senior officers do not look much further than their own observations to pass judgments on junior officers

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Choose your rate, choose your fate! This is more true than you know.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at US Coast Guard full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    The US Coast Guard offers a huge number of potential career paths. The promotion path for each field is laid out very clearly. There are well defined processes to achieve promotion. In certain rates promotion can be quickly achieve and a great deal of responsibility can be given to a very junior person. The pay is adequate and in my experience it is above what most would receive in a civilian job of equal responsibility level. Paid relocation every 2-5 years, and the opportunity to see some very unique places in the United States and its territories. Tuition assistance is an awesome employee perk and hopefully it is kept around for some time to come. There are awesome mentors if you seek them out. This is an ideal job for a young man or woman without a family, especially in the junior ranks. The retirement is hard if not impossible to beat in the civilian sector.

    Cons

    As my title states. Choose your rate, choose your fate. The Coast Guard offers little to no cross training opportunities from one rate to another. Once you have selected a specialty rating you will almost be guaranteed to only be trained in that position. With the exception of ship damage control, you will be limited in your experience. Non- rated individuals really need to do their due diligence when selecting their specialty, this is especially true if the individual does not intend on retiring from the military. In general the FS rate only reinforces Food Service training, and most enlisted members in this rate do not have much opportunity to really develop quality management skills because units are small and until you make Chief you will never have more than about 6 people under you. The HS rate is a sad excuse for medical training, either that or the individuals I have encountered as HS people should never have been in anything medical. In general an HS will have to perform additional training once they leave the military to even become qualified as a paramedic. This list goes on and on. Positions like GM, AST, ME, MST, PA have such a small number of civilian professions to transfer skill into after leaving active duty, that these individuals in these positions need to be aware that these are positions you need to reach retirement in the military prior to leaving. Although ME and GM can likely make a transition into the Law Enforcement sector. As a Yeoman (YN), the time management and customer service training received by these people is so poor most would not be able to maintain a HR position in the civilian world for very long prior to being fired. Granted there are some excellent YN in the Coast Guard who would perform outstanding in the corporate or civilian sector, but in general the majority are nearly incompetent. The SK's think they are performing accounting, and they are getting valuable computer training and contract training but that is about all. MK's and BM's make up the backbone of the operational Coast Guard and it is obvious that the Coast Guard puts a lot of resources and training behind these individuals in these roles. Their skill also transfer to the civilian world most readily. The Coast Guard essentially pigeon holes the majority of their enlisted corps into their trade.

    You also have the opportunity to work with some great mentors and some very poor ones. Discrimination is prevalent in undertones of junior members, particularly in regards to Muslim peoples. I would disagree with the idea that this is an ethical organization, although it outstrips the rest of the military in this regard. There is some level of reverse discrimination at some units with women, but it is generally minor for now, but an annoyance. The big issues I have with it is junior members using the "N" word, towel head, dot head, and various other inappropriate terms. The predominance of white males in this service and multiple units that are literally 100% Caucasian is odd, or 100% male, or 80% female is odd.

    CO's can be part of a buddy system that essentially eliminates junior members from bringing up serious issues even when going outside the chain of command. Being short staffed prohibits true corrective action on employees performing badly. In addition the short staffing can lead to unqualified or dangerous people retaining "qualification letters" even when their actions have injured people.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Retool the buddy system, provide corrective action when Command Cadre is accused, harsher punishment for members using derogatory or incendiary slurs, create a better system to provide relevant training for members who do not intend to retire from the service, eliminate CO's says in the race/gender of transferring members, hold Assignment Officer's accountable for accommodating these requests or the appearance of favoritism in regard to race/gender/religion. Encourage members to initiate conversations to reduce waste of funds, or reporting Command misuse of funds. Stop allowing unfit mentally/physically people to make it through boot camp, or have an easier process to remove members who are not up to task or unwilling to comply with regulations and hinder the actual function of a unit. Alcohol and smoking need to be more controlled in the military. Too often obviously hung over or intoxicated individuals show up to work at port calls, and no reprimand is administered. Employees who smoke are often taking smoke breaks often wasting two or more hours of a regular work day, putting additional work load on those that do not smoke. Chew tobacco should be completely banned from ship. Members are often caught breaking regulations prohibiting its use indie the hull of the ship and never punished, or using drinking cups to spit their chew juice in. It is nasty and dangerous.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9.  

    The easiest branch of them all

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Seaman E3  in  Portsmouth, VA
    Former Employee - Seaman E3 in Portsmouth, VA

    I worked at US Coast Guard full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Most people who join the Coat Guard stay forever, The benefits are excellent and the retirement plan makes this job the best job ever.

    Cons

    Changing location and low budget compared to other branches. No personal life, and you can not quit

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen more, talk less.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Challenging and rewarding to a degree.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at US Coast Guard full-time

    Pros

    Upward mobility available for go getters. World wide travel.

    Cons

    Too many missions, too many programs to trim workforce.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    It depends on management, but could be very gratifying or very miserable

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous
    Current Employee - Anonymous

    I have been working at US Coast Guard full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Steady paycheck, 30 days of leave per year, advancement is feasible

    Cons

    Change in climate of the coast guard. They are getting a lot stricter and are kicking people out left and right. There is no incentive to staying in because of lack of security at this point.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Maintain good leadership to maintain good workers

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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