To be eligible for appointment in the NOAA Corps, an applicant must meet the following criteria.
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.
Applicants must be able to complete 20 years of active commissioned service before their 62nd birthday. All creditable commissioned service acquired prior to appointment in the NOAA Corps will count toward this total of twenty years.
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, math, or engineering course work pertaining to NOAA's missions. Course work must include college level calculus and/or physics.
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, Biochemistry, Biology, Botany, Calculus, Climatology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Ecology, Electrical Engineering, Entomology, Environmental Science, Forestry, Geochemistry, Geography, Geology, Geometry, Geophysics, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Hydrology, Ichthyology, Limnology, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Meteorology, Microbiology, Oceanography, Physics, Physiology, Programming, Scientific Methods, Seismology, Statistics, Thermodynamics, Toxicology, Trigonometry, 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, Pharmacology, Psychology, Physical Therapy, Sociology
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.
- NOAA Corps Medical Considerations & Physical Fitness Guidance
- Coast Guard Medical Manual - Accession Medical Standards are in Chapter 3
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.