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Operational Auxiliarist Program (AUXOP)

About the AUXOP Program

The AUXOP, or "Operational Auxiliarist" Program is an advanced training program available to members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary who wish to increase their practical relevance to Coast Guard missions, and better assist the Coast Guard to fulfill needed skill sets. Members who successfully complete their training are authorized to wear the prestigious AUXOP Device, shown here, and their membership level advances from Basic Qualified (BQ) to Operational Auxiliarist (AX).

The program no simple feat, and members who attain AUXOP status should be justly proud of their accomplishment, increased utility to the Auxiliary and to the Coast Guard, and in their ability to serve as role models for their shipmates.

Qualification Requirements

In order to qualify as an Operational Auxiliarist, the member must successfully obtain a minimum of seven (7) credits from three categories of courses.

Each of the courses requires a proctored, closed-book final examination with a minimum passing grade of 75%.*  The program was dramatically revised effective January 1, 2011 from six (6) specific specialty courses to a much broader selection, as outlined below, that allow the Auxiliarist a much wider flexibility in pursuing knowledge and skills in his or her areas of interest.

* The requirement for closed-book, proctored examination has been temporarily suspended due to COVID-19 issues. The minimum passing score for open-book examinations is 90%.

Course categories and requirements are as follows:

  • Required core courses, worth one credit each (3 available, all are required);
  • Leadership course, worth one credit (5 available; credit given only for one)
  • Elective courses, credits as shown (numerous available)

Core Courses

The required core courses are as follows.  Each is worth one (1) credit, and all are required:

  • Auxiliary Weather Specialty Course (AUXWEA)
  • Auxiliary Seamanship Specialty Course (AUXSEA)
  • Auxiliary Communications Specialty Course (AUXCOM)

Leadership Courses

Auxiliarists must successfully complete one of the following leadership courses, each worth one credit (AUXOP credit is not applied for more than one course from this category). These courses include:

Click on the title links above to navigate to each course page.

Elective Courses

Auxiliarists will be required to complete their AUXOP credits by completing a combination of the following elective courses, totaling three (3) or more credits:

  • Auxiliary Search Coordination and Execution Specialty Course (AUXSC&E) - 2 credits.
  • Introduction to Marine Safety - 2 credits.
  • Auxiliary Patrol Specialty Course (AUXPAT) - 1 credit.
  • Auxiliary Aids-to-Navigation (ATON) and Chart Updating C-school (AUX-06) - 1 credit .
  • National Incident Management System (NIMS)-compliant Incident Command System (ICS) 300 & 400 (ICS 210 cannot be used as a substitution) - 1 credit.
  • Auxiliary Air Coordinator C-school (AUX-15) – 1 credit.
  • Specialty ICS Courses - 1 or 2 credits (see below)
  • Auxiliary Navigation Specialty Course (AUXACN) Part A & B - 2 credits (Must have both to obtain 2 credits.)

Certain NIMS-compliant ICS courses count as one credit for completion of the in-class course and one credit for completion of the corresponding PQS, for a possible total of two credits. NIMS compliancy is established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). NIMS-compliant ICS courses may only be taught by instructors, Coast Guard or other agency, that are certified to teach them. If any of the following in-class courses is not available, then its corresponding PQS may be successfully completed for one credit. Such PQS may only be signed off by NIMS-compliant ICS verifying officers designated by a Coast Guard command or other agency.

The specialty ICS Courses include:

  • ICS 346 (Situation Unit Leader)
  • ICS 347 (Demobilization Unit Leader)
  • ICS 348 (Resources Unit Leader)
  • ICS 351 (Finance Section Chief)
  • ICS 430 (Operations Section Chief)
  • ICS 440 (Planning Section Chief)

The formerly-offered Auxiliary Search-and-Rescue Specialty Course (AUXSAR) and the Auxiliary Administration Course (AUXADM), if completed successfully, may be substituted for any elective course above, on a one-for-one basis, at one (1) credit each.

In addition certain NIMS-compliant ICS courses (i.e., ICS Type 3 courses) count as two credits for successful completion of all required elements (e.g., the in-class course, the corresponding PQS, and the associated oral board; all as applicable). NIMS compliancy is established by FEMA. NIMS-compliant ICS courses may only be taught by instructors, Coast Guard or other agency, that are certified to teach them. Corresponding PQS may only be signed off by NIMS-compliant ICS verifying officers designated by a Coast Guard command or other agency. Associated oral boards, as required, must be administered by a Coast Guard Sector or the agency that conducted the in-class course and/or corresponding PQS. All required elements must be completed in order to get two credits (partial credit may not be issued).

Acceptable NIM-compliant ICS courses subject to these criteria are:

  • ICT3 (Incident Commander).
  • LNO3 (Liaison Officer).
  • SOF3 (Safety Officer).
  • PIO3 (Public Information Officer).
  • OSC3 (Operations Section Chief).
  • AOBD (Air Operations Branch Director).
  • DIVS (Division / Group Supervisor).
  • OPBD (Operations Branch Director).
  • STAM (Staging Area Manager).
  • DMOB3 (Demobilization Unit Leader).
  • DOCL3 (Documentation Unit Leader)
  • ENVL3 (Environmental Unit Leader). 
  • MTSL (Marine Transportation System Recovery Unit Leader).
  • PSC3 (Planning Section Chief).
  • RESL3 (Resources Unit Leader).
  • SITL3 (Situation Unit Leader).
  • LSC3 (Logistics Section Chief).
  • BCMG (Base / Camp Manager).
  • COML3 (Communications Unit Leader).
  • FACL3 (Facilities Unit Leader).
  • FDUL3 (Food Unit Leader).
  • GSUL3 (Ground Support Unit Leader).
  • VSUL3 (Vessel Support Unit Leader).
  • MEDL3 (Medical Unit Leader).
  • FSC3 (Finance / Administration Section Chief)
  • COST3 (Cost Unit Leader).
  • PROC3 (Procurement Unit Leader).
  • COMP (Compensation / Claims Unit Leader).
  • TIME3 (Time Unit Leader).


Specialty Training Ribbon

Members who successfully complete all AUXOP requirements are entitled to wear the AUXOP Device shown above. Until that time, members who have completed one or more of the specialty courses above are permitted to wear the Auxiliary Specialty Ribbon, right, with one or more 3/16" Bronze or Silver Stars indicating the successful completion of another course. When AUXOP qualification is attained, the ribbon is no longer worn.

Additional Information

Additional information about the courses mentioned above may be found elsewhere on this site, via the menus at the left. In particular, the six specialty courses AUXACN, AUXCOM, AUXPAT, AUXSC&E, AUXSEA, and AUXWEA have links in this section, Leadership courses under "Leadership Courses", and so forth.

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