NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps at NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps

Multiple locations

About the Job


If you are a graduate of a four-year college or university and are interested in a career that includes service to your country, science, and adventure, you will find a unique opportunity in the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps (NOAA Corps).  The NOAA Corps is the uniformed component of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a Bureau of the Department of Commerce.  

This unique uniformed service consists of approximately 321 commissioned officers who work with NOAA’s civilian employees to ensure the economic and physical well-being of the Nation.  NOAA Corps officers provide the dynamic leadership, technical and operational expertise, and breadth of background and experience to optimize NOAA’s missions.  

A typical officer's career is spent in a broad variety of assignments that rotate between sea duty, aviation, or shore stations.  NOAA Corps officers operate ships and small boats, fly aircraft, lead mobile field parties, conduct diving operations, manage research projects, and serve in leadership positions throughout NOAA.  Assignments are not necessarily related to an officer’s academic field, but each will contribute to the officer’s development as a technically competent leader. 

You could command a survey or research vessel, pilot fixed-wing aircraft on remote sensing missions, discover what lies beneath the seafloor, lead environmental assessments following national disasters, and be a key player in NOAA’s quest to provide the highest-quality environmental observations for the good of the Nation.

The core values of the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps are Honor, Respect, and Commitment.  As members of the Nation’s premier service for worldwide environmental observations, NOAA Corps officers serve their country with dedication and pride.  


The pay and benefits you'll receive as a NOAA Corps officer are nearly identical to those received in the six other uniformed services, including salary, health-care coverage, and retirement.  NOAA Corps officers have similar scheduled pay raises and regular promotions.  They are also eligible for tax-free housing, term life insurance, and the GI Bill.  Throughout their career, NOAA Corps officers are provided with various training and leadership opportunities to develop the competencies necessary for continued advancement.


To be considered for an appointment in the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps, you must:

  • Be a United States citizen.
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college.  Course work completed must include 48 semester hours in engineering, math, or sciences that pertain to NOAA’s missions, and college level calculus or physics.
  • Be able to complete 20 years of Commissioned Service before the age of 62.  
  • Be in excellent health with normal color vision and uncorrected visual acuity no worse than 20/400 in each eye, correctable to 20/20.
  • Demonstrate good moral character, leadership, and initiative.


Selected candidates are appointed at the rank of Ensign and, after successful completion of the initial 5 month Basic Officer Training Course (BOTC), (now conducted alongside the USCG Officer Candidate School (OCS) at the USCG Academy), are assigned to a NOAA survey or research vessel for up to 3 years.  There is a 15 month obligation following successful completion of BOTC.


Atmospheric Science, Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Climatology, Computer Science, Ecology, Engineering, Environmental Science, Geochemistry, Geography, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Geology, Marine Biology, Mathematics, Meteorology, Physics, Physiology, Statistics, Zoology, Ecology.


There are two application cycles per year. All paperwork must be received by the deadline to receive an interview.
Even # BOTC (128, 130, 132, Etc.):
Paperwork Deadline is February 1st.
Interview Deadline is February 15th.
BOTC will start in August.

Odd # BOTC (129, 131, 133, Etc.)
Paperwork Deadline is July 1st.
Interview Deadline is July 15th.
BOTC will start in January the following year

Details will be posted on the NOAA Corps Recruiting Site.


To learn more, visit the NOAA Corps recruiting website (  If you would like to apply for the NOAA Corps, click here and utilize our E-Recruit system -                 

*If you are seeking a civilian shipboard position with NOAA, please visit our Vessel Employment Opportunities website ( ).

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