The United States Coast Guard's ratings are general occupations that consist of specific skills and abilities. Each rating has its own specialty badge, which is typically worn on the left sleeve of their service dress uniform by enlisted personnel in that particular field. On operational dress uniforms, they wear generic rate designators that exclude the rating symbol. Commissioned officers do not have ratings. U.S. Coast Guard ratings are the equivalent of the rating system used by the United States Navy. The United States Army and United States Marine Corps use Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) codes and the United States Air Force use Air Force Specialty Codes (AFSC) that service the same function as U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy ratings.

Ratings should not be confused with "rates", which describe the Navy's and Coast Guard's enlisted pay-grades. Enlisted Navy and Coast Guardsmen are referred to by their rating and rate. For example, if someone's rate is Petty Officer 2nd Class and his rating is Boatswain's Mate; when combined, Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class (BM2) defines both.[1][2] Although rates E-7 above are abbreviated similar to E-4 to E-6, the combined rating is listed before rate when completely spelled out. For instance, Master Chief Electronics Technician is abbreviated as ETCM. More examples are listed in the table below.

Electrician's Mate 3rd Class
Machinery Technician 2nd Class
Boatswain's Mate 1st Class
Chief Marine Science Technician
Senior Chief Aviation Maintenance Technician
Master Chief Health Services Technician
Area, Force, or Reserve Master Chief Petty Officer
Examples of U.S. Coast Guard rate and rating insignias for non-commissioned officers used to identify their rank and specialty[3]

Aviation group

Insignia General rating Abbreviation
Aviation Maintenance Technician AMT
The AMT inspects, services, maintains, troubleshoots and repairs aircraft power plant, power train and structural systems. The AMT maintains metal, composite and fiberglass materials, fabricates cables, wire harnesses and structural components; and performs aircraft corrosion control, nondestructive testing, basic electrical troubleshooting and record keeping. Additionally AMTs also hold an aircrew position in specific Coast Guard aircraft
Aviation Survival Technician AST
The Aviation Survival Technician inspects, services, maintains, troubleshoots and repairs aircraft and aircrew survival equipment and rescue devices. Additionally, ASTs perform the duties of a rescue swimmer and provide aircrew survival training to all aviators.
Avionics Electrical Technician AET
Inspects, services, maintains, troubleshoots and repairs aircraft power, communications, navigation, auto flight and sensor systems. AETs perform minimum performance checks, system alignments, avionics corrosion control and record keeping. Additionally, AETs hold an aircrew position in specific Coast Guard aircraft.

Administrative and scientific group

Insignia General rating Abbreviation
Health Services Technician HS
The health services technician (HS) provides emergency healthcare services and daily medical care for Coast Guard personnel and their families.  An HS tasks include assisting medical and dental officers; performing diagnostic testing, x-rays, lab tests, prescribing medications, administering immunizations and performing minor surgical procedures.  An HS is normally assigned to a large Coast Guard clinic, small sick bay ashore or aboard a cutter.


Marine Science Technician MST
MSTs conduct marine-safety activities such as investigating pollution incidents, monitoring pollution cleanups, conducting foreign-vessel boardings to enforce pollution and navigation safety laws, conducting harbor patrols for port safety and security, inspecting waterfront facilities and supervising the loading of explosives on vessels. Most are assigned to shore-based field units such as sectors. They may be assigned to the National Strike Force for oil and hazardous-material response. MSTs are also the Coast Guard's safety and environmental health experts ashore.
Musician MU
The musician rating in the Coast Guard is restricted to members of the Coast Guard Band which is located at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. The United States Coast Guard Band recruits only the most highly skilled musicians, and the audition process is extremely competitive. The director makes the final decision to award the position to the winner(s) who then enlist in the United States Coast Guard for a period of four years at the rank of Musician First Class (E-6).


Public Affairs Specialist PA
Reports and edits news; publishes information about service members and activities through newspapers, magazines, radio and television; and shoots and develops film and photographs
Storekeeper SK
Orders, receives, stores, inventories and issues clothing, food, mechanical equipment and other items.
Culinary Specialist CS
Cooks and bakes; prepares menus; keeps cost accounts; assists in ordering provisions; and inspects food. Rating name changed from "FS" (Food Service Specialist) on 6 January 2017.[5]
Yeoman YN
Prepares and routes correspondence and reports; and maintains personnel records and publications. Processes and counsels on various pay entitlements.

Deck & weapons group

Insignia General rating Abbreviation
Boatswain's Mate BM
Operates small boats; stores cargo; handles ropes and lines; and directs work of deck force. Performs navigation of ship's steering; lookout supervision, ship control, bridge watch duties, visual communication and maintenance of navigational aids. The most versatile rating in the Coast Guard, and the only rating that can lead to a command position.[citation needed] (This rating is a combination of the previous USCG ratings of Quartermaster and Boatswain's Mate).
Maritime Law Enforcement Specialist ME
Serves as a specialist in maritime law enforcement and security. The rating was officially established January 1, 2010 when 1,053 active duty and 988 reserve members transitioned from existing ratings and became maritime enforcement specialists. The new rating is designed to enhance the Coast Guard's capabilities as America's maritime guardians and support the Coast Guard's modernization goal of developing a force structure responsive to mission execution.[6]
Gunner's Mate GM
Operates and performs maintenance on guided missile launching systems, rocket launchers, guns and gun mounts; inspects/repairs electrical, electronic, pneumatic, mechanical and hydraulic systems
Operations Specialist OS
Operates telecommunications equipment and sensors and controls operations in Rescue Coordination Centers, cutters and stations
Intelligence specialist IS
Intelligence specialists are involved in collecting and interpreting intelligence, especially about enemies or potential enemies. They analyze photographs and prepare charts, maps, and reports that describe in detail the strategic situation all over the world.

Engineering & hull group

Insignia General rating Abbreviation
Damage Controlman DC
Fabricates, installs and repairs shipboard structures, plumbing and piping systems; uses damage control in fire fighting; operates nuclear, biological, chemical and radiological defense equipment; construction work.[7]
Electrician's Mate EM
Tests, maintains and repairs electrical equipment including navigation, identification, detection, reconnaissance, special purpose equipment and conducts electrical training for all MK's throughout the fleet; operates warfare equipment. Electrician's Mates don't work on avionics, only shipboard maintenance and residential electrical work.


Electronics Technician ET
Maintains all electronic equipment used for communications, detection ranging, recognition and countermeasures, worldwide navigational systems, computers and sonars. ET's also maintain towers and antennas.

Note: Electronics Technicians can work for the operations, engineering, or combat systems department, depending on the type of cutter. They also do the jobs that were once done by the Fire Control Technicians, including maintaining and operating the fire control radars, and firing the major weapons systems on the boat including the 57 MM cannon and the CIWS anti-ship missile defense system.

Machinery Technician MK
Operates, maintains and repairs ship's propulsion, auxiliary equipment and outside equipment such as steering, engineer, refrigeration/air conditioning and steam equipment
Information Systems Technician IT
Operates communication equipment; transmits, receives and processes all forms of military record and voice communications. Installs and maintains telecommunications equipment ranging from pole lines and underground cables to computer-based data communications and processing systems, telephone and data switching systems and networks, and public address, security and remote control systems
Diver DV
Diver is a new rating created by the Coast Guard in 2014. They sweep ports and waterways during coastal security missions; conduct salvage and recovery operations; inspect Coast Guard cutter hulls; survey coral reefs and environmental sensitive areas; repair, maintain and place of aids to navigation; conduct polar operations as well as conduct joint operations with United States and international military divers.[8][9]

Reserve specific group

Insignia General rating Abbreviation
Investigator IV
Provide support to Coast Guard law-enforcement and intelligence missions. Conduct both criminal and personal background checks and investigations, collect and analyze intelligence information and provide personal protection services to high-ranking Coast Guard officials and other VIPs. Currently the only Coast Guard rating not eligible to active duty enlisted Coast Guardsmen.

Command group

Insignia General rating Abbreviation
Command Master Chief Petty Officer CMC
Command Master Chief Petty Officers (CMC) are the senior most E-9 enlisted member of a Coast Guard unit and are senior advisors to their unit's commanding officer.[10]
Area, Force, Reserve, and Coast Guard Master Chief Petty Officer AMCPO, RFMC, MCPOCGRF and MCPOCG
Area Master Chief Petty Officer, Rating Force Master Chief Petty Officer, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Reserve Force, and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard are the senior most CMC to an Area command or the Coast Guard itself and are also senior advisors to the flag officer in command at that level.[10]

Obsolete ratings (1983-Present)

Insignia General rating Abbreviation
Aviation Electrician's Mate AE
This rating was disestablished on 1 June 1999 and was absorbed into the AET rating.[10] Active in the U.S. Navy.
Aviation Structural Mechanic AM
This rating was disestablished in 1999 and was absorbed into the AMT rating.[10] Active in the Navy.
Data Processing Technician DP
This reserve specific rating was disestablished in 1999 and was absorbed into the TC rating.[10]
Dental Technician DT
This rating was disestablished in 1983 and was absorbed into the HS rating.[10]
Fire & Safety Specialist FF
This rating was disestablished in 1993 and was absorbed into the PS rating (which further merged into ME).[10]
Fire Control Technician FT
This rating was disestablished in July 2003 and was absorbed into the ET rating.[10] Active in the Navy.
Quartermaster QM
This rating was disestablished in July 2003 and was absorbed into the BM and OS ratings.[10] Active in the Navy.
Radarman RD
This rating was disestablished in July 2003 and was absorbed into the OS rating.[10]
Radioman/Telecommunications Specialist RM/TC
These two ratings no longer exist, as RMs were converted to TCs in 1995, and the TC rating was then disestablished in 2003; 75% of the workforce moved to the OS rating and the remaining 25% moved to the IT rating.[10]
Sonar Technician ST
ST, original name was Soundman (SO) 1943-1970, was disestablished in 1993 and was absorbed into the ET and OS ratings.[10] Active in the Navy.
Telephone Technician TT
TT was disestablished in 2003 and was absorbed into the IT rating. Despite this change, the rating device remained the same.[10]
Port Security Specialist PS
PS was disestablished and merged into the Maritime Enforcement (ME) rating in 2010. Port Security Specialists supported of Department of Defense national-defense operations overseas as a member of a Naval Coastal Warfare Squadron, or a Coast Guard Port Security Unit. Worked at a Sector to ensure the physical security of a major U.S. port, or were members of a Maritime Safety and Security Team (MSST). MSSTs are capable of being deployed throughout the United States to provide heightened waterside and shoreside security in support of maritime homeland security operations.[7][10]

See also


  1. ^ U.S. Navy Officer Ranks and Enlisted Rates
  2. ^ U.S. Coast Guard Enlisted Rank Insignia
  3. ^ U.S. Coast Guard Rank and Specialty Insignias; U.S. Department of Homeland Security, USCG Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety, Auxiliary Division; last modified 21 December 2016; last accessed 18 September 2020
  4. ^ "Serving in the U.S. Coast Guard |". Retrieved 2021-10-05.
  5. ^ "USCG ALCOAST Message 003/2017".
  6. ^ Coast Guard graduates inaugural maritime enforcement class Archived 2013-02-01 at
  7. ^ a b "U.S. Navy Enlisted Ratings" (PDF). University of California Berkeley, Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps. U.S. Navy. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-12-11. Retrieved 2006-12-27.
  8. ^ DV: A new Coast Guard rating, Coast Guard Compass, Official Blog of the U.S. Coast Guard, by LT Stephanie Young, dated 19 March 2014, last accessed 10 April 2014
  9. ^ U.S. Coast Guard Diving Program,, Careers-US Military, last accessed 10 April 2014
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n U. S. COAST GUARD ENLISTED RATINGS RATING SPECIALTY MARKS AND DISTINGUISHING MARKS, 1915-2015, U.S. Coast Guard, dated December 2016, last accessed 24 November 2017