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NOAA Corps

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for appointment in the NOAA Corps, an applicant must meet the following criteria.

Citizenship Requirements

Applicants must be a United States citizen of good moral character. If selected for appointment, an officer candidate must provide official proof of United States citizenship by birth or naturalization.

Educational Requirements

Applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree, preferably in a major course of study related to NOAA’s scientific or technical activities. This degree must be awarded from a postsecondary institution accredited by the U. S. Department of Education. Accreditation can be verified at the Department of Education website.

Applicants must have completed at least 48 semester (72 quarter) hours in science, technology, math, or engineering course work pertaining to NOAA's missions.

All applicants are encouraged to explore NOAA's website and read about the missions. Courses that relate to these missions are acceptable with regards to application for BOTC.

Some examples of college courses that are accepted towards academic eligibility include, but are not limited to:

Aeronautics, Algebra, Anatomy, Animal Science, Animal Behavior, Astronomy, Astrophysics, Aviation Sciences, Biochemistry, Biology, Botany, Calculus, Climatology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Dendrology, Diving, Ecology, Ecophysiology, Electrical Engineering, Entomology, Environmental Science, Forestry, Geochemistry, Geography, Geology, Geometry, Geophysics, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Hydrology, Ichthyology, Limnology, Mathematics, Marine Science, Marine Engineering, Maritime Science, Mechanical Engineering, Meteorology, Microbiology, Nautical Science, Oceanography, Pharmacology, Physics, Physiology, Programming, Scientific Methods, Seismology, Statistics, Thermodynamics, Toxicology, Trigonometry, Uncrewed Systems, Volcanology, Zoology.

Some courses at the entry-level or unrelated fields will not count toward academic eligibility. Examples include, but are not limited to:

Economics, Forensic Science, Navigation, Nutrition, Political Science, Psychology, Physical Therapy, Sociology.

Medical Requirements

If selected for appointment, officer candidates must satisfactorily pass a mental and physical examination as prescribed by the NOAA Corps Directives. The NOAA Corps medical standards are based on the requirements for officer candidates set forth in the United States Coast Guard medical manual for commissioned officers. Physical exams are completed at Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS) per Department of Defense (DOD) instructions.
The NOAA Diving Program and NOAA Aviation program have additional medical requirements.

Background Investigation

All NOAA Corps officers must be able to obtain, and maintain, a security clearance level of “Secret”. Prior to appointment, the Department of Commerce will conduct a background investigation of each officer candidate to determine eligibility for a security clearance.

Eligibility can be affected by such factors as failure to register for the Selective Service, unsatisfactory employment records, violations of the law, drug or alcohol abuse, criminal record, and less than honorable discharge from the armed forces. The investigation includes interviews with current and previous contacts, supervisors, and co-workers.

An officer’s commission may be revoked at any time during his/her first three (3) years of service if unable to obtain, and maintain, this minimum level security clearance.

Illegal Substance Screening

In accordance with the Department of Commerce’s Plan for a Drug-Free Workplace, all officer candidates must be tested for illegal drug use prior to appointment in the NOAA Corps. Any of the following circumstances will result in disqualification for appointment:

  • Confirmed positive test
  • Refusal to submit to testing
  • Failure to cooperate with the collection process
  • Failure to appear for a scheduled test without acceptable explanation
  • Tampering with, adulterating, or substituting a sample

All NOAA Corps officers are subject to random drug testing throughout their career.

Physical Testing Requirements

Upon arrival at BOTC, officer candidates will be expected to maintain at a minimum the following physical standards:

  • Cadence Push-ups* (Men) 30
  • Cadence Push-ups* (Women) 20
  • Sit-ups* (Men/Women) 60
  • 1.5 Mile Run (Men) 12:00
  • 1.5 Mile Run (Women) 14:00

*Two minute time limit. The push-ups are completed to an approved cadence that consists of pushing up for one second and lowering down for one second without stopping. The maximum number of push-ups that can be completed in a two minute period is 60.

Officer candidates will also be required to complete a 12 minute lap swim and basic swim assessment. The USCG requirements for both assessments are listed below:

Lap Swim

  • 12 Minute Lap Swim (Men 20-29) 18.5 lengths
  • 12 Minute Lap Swim (Men 30-39) 17 lengths
  • 12 Minute Lap Swim (Women 20-29) 17.5 lengths
  • 12 Minute Lap Swim (Women 30-39) 15.5 lengths

*One length is equivalent to 25 yards*

Basic Swim 

  • Back Float - 60 seconds
  • Prone Float (holding breath) - 10 seconds
  • Treading Water (no hands) - 60 seconds
  • Elementary Backstroke - 10 yards
  • Front Crawl - 25 yards
  • Unassisted swim (any stroke) - 75 yards
  • 1-meter front dive, remain submerged and 15 yard swim underwater without breaking the surface

The NOAA Corps is committed to equal opportunity for all persons.

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Reviewed: September 9, 2022. Contact us with page issues.

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