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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Sept. 22, 2020

Credentialing your Coast Guard experience

By Petty Officer 2nd Class Hunter Medley, MyCG Writer

The Coast Guard is paying you to prepare for your next job.

Members planning to transition into a civilian job after serving, or simply looking to broaden professional opportunities, are in luck. Your experience in the Coast Guard has given you training and skills that you can put to work for you outside of the service. 

Our core values of “Honor. Respect. Devotion to Duty” that we live by as service members are values civilian employers also appreciate. Still, a substantial number of service members sometimes struggle to translate military training in terms that employers can understand. 

The Coast Guard Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (CG COOL) offers service-training pathways to obtain numerous credentials, certifications, and licenses while still serving in the Coast Guard. The program uses credentialing assistance to reimburse members for training fees in the pursuit of desired credentials. This program also enables service members to receive reimbursement for multiple credentials over time, at a rate of one credential per fiscal year. 

Many civilian jobs have certain professional and technical standards. Obtaining certifications and licenses demonstrates that you meet specific industry standards outside of the Coast Guard. 
Example: You’re a damage controlman that welds regularly. CG COOL will reimburse the training necessary to obtain welding certifications. Future employers will see a resume that includes extensive on the job experience, as well as the licensing necessary to start the job, right away.

Another particularly noteworthy pathway available through the CG COOL program is the Military to Mariner (M2M) Initiative, facilitating the transition from military service to civilian employment in the U.S. Merchant Marine and/or other positions within the Marine Transportation System.

There are numerous certifications and licenses you can acquire no matter regardless of your Coast Guard career path. Taking advantage of training opportunities will improve chances for post-service employment, aid career advancement, and may lead to a higher salary.

The CG COOL website is designed specifically with service members in mind, sorting out credentialing opportunities by rating, chief warrant officer specialty, and officer specialty to maximize all potential credentials, certifications, and licenses

Active Duty & Reserve eligibility:

  • Members must be marked "Ready" or "Not Ready" on current Enlisted Evaluation Report.
  • Member must have no misconduct or punishments in the last 12 months.
  • Member must be in compliance with COMDT weight standards.
  • Reserve: Enlisted SELRES members who meet all participation standards including current readiness metrics as per the Reserve Policy Manual (12 months before and 6 months after obtaining a credential), and they must have a points statement uploaded in MyCG Ed. (Program does not apply to ISL, ASL or IRR members.)

Authorized coverage and limitations:

  • Exam, renewal, and application fees
  • State license fee
  • Member fee (when required)
  • One credential per fiscal year


Editor’s Note: All CG COOL applications with exam dates through Aug. 31, 2020 will be authorized with this fiscal year (FY) funds. Exam dates after will be authorized and reimbursed after Oct. 1, 2020. To receive reimbursement for this FY, your 1164 and receipt must be received by ETQC no later than Sept. 11, 2020. Remember that applications must be submitted and command approved in MyCG ED prior to 14 days from the exam date.