Coast Guard EnsignO-2 Junior Officer, U.S. Coast Guard
O-1 Ensign - Junior Officer - U.S. Coast Guard Ranks
Ensign is the most junior commissioned officer's rank in the U.S. Coast Guard, and is equivilent to the rank of Second Lieutenant in the other armed services. Ensigns generally serve on Coast Guard vessels as division officers, which are responsible for leading a crew of seamen and petty officers in a specific division like engineering or administration. As junior officers, Ensigns also engage in on-the-job training and receive mentoring and training from superior officers and experienced petty officers.
Sailors may receive a commission as Ensign after successfully completing Naval Officer Training, and sailors joining with a four-year college degree may be eligible to enter the Coast Guard directly at the rank of Ensign. Various programs within the Coast Guard exist to help recruit and train Officer Candidates from the enlisted ranks.
Newly-commissioned Ensigns may be stationed directly on a ship after training, or they may continue with one or more years of specialty training depending on the current need for officers and their chosen career path.
How do you become a Ensign?
An Ensign is most often promoted from Ensign (ENS), although promotion from lower paygrades may occur with sufficient display of leadership and experience. Click here to learn more about promotion to Ensign.
What is the proper way to address a Ensign?
The correct way to address a Ensign named Mr. Weber is "Ensign Weber", or written as ENS Weber. In formal situations, a Ensign should always be addressed by their full rank.
How much does a Ensign earn?
Basic pay for an entry-level Ensign with 2 or less years of experience is $3,477.30 per month.
A Ensign receives an automatic raise to their basic pay every one to two years. Basic pay is only a small percentage of a Ensign's final compensation package.
In addition to a monthly basic pay salary, a Coast Guard Ensign may be eligible for multiple types of allowances and bonus pay including hazard pay, education allowance, personal money allowance, and more.
For full details on the Coast Guard's Ensign compensation and retirement plan, visit the 2023 Coast Guard Ensign Pay Chart. A full table of the Coast Guard's current paygrades are available at the Coast Guard Pay Chart.
Equivalent Ranks to the Coast Guard's O-1 Ensign
To learn more about the Coast Guard's rank structure, see our complete list of Coast Guard ranks.
The Government civilian-employee equivalent of a Ensign is paid under the General Schedule payscale. For more details, see this Coast Guard rank to GS grade conversion table .
To see a list of military medals and decorations that can be earned by servicemembers in the Coast Guard and other branches of the military, see our list of military decorations and medals.