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Military Search and Rescue Operations Officers

Military Career

General Information


Search and rescue operations officers are responsible for organizing and leading rescue missions to support personnel in distress. They direct and participate in Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) operations. These officers possess core survival skills, such as swimming/diving or medical aid skills, and train, develop, and assess these skills in other personnel.

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Work Environment

Search and rescue operations officers work on vessels or aircraft. They perform missions in all types of weather and may be subjected to noisy environments. They may work outdoors when directing emergency response teams.

Workplace at a Glance

What you can expect to experience while on the job

  • Responsibility
  • Exposure to job hazards
  • Physical activity
  • Decision making
  • Repetitiveness
  • Level of competition
  • Time pressure

Comparable Industries

  • Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security
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Military Outlook

Service Branches

Jobs in this career field may be available in other service branches. Call or email a particular branch for more info.

Military Status

  • Officer
    • Managerial/professional
    • College degree required

Military Workforce

Search and Rescue Operations Officers in the Military


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Salary Information

Median Military Salary This is the median, or the midpoint, of the salary range for this career.


Military Salary Range Salary varies based on years of service, degree level, special pays, family status and location. Learn more about Military benefits.

$23,019 - $251,140

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Most Common Education Levels

People in this career achieve this level of education.

  • Less than high school 39%
  • High school 21%
  • Post-secondary certificate 17%
  • Associate's degree 16%
  • Some college 5%
  • Bachelor's degree 1%
  • Master's degree 0%
  • Doctoral degree 0%
  • Post baccalaureate 0%
  • Post-doctoral training 0%
  • Post-master's certificate 0%
  • First professional degree 0%

Military training

Officers typically enter the Military after they have completed a four-year college degree; enlisted service members can transition to officer positions through a variety of pathways and earn a degree while serving. Like other officers, search and rescue operations officers complete a comprehensive training program covering responsibilities, military structure and etiquette, traditions, and leadership development. Additional training consists of classroom and field training. Job-specific training content may include: Aircraft operating proceduresPiloting and use of air navigation equipmentPiloting and navigation of shipsInterpretation of maritime laws and policiesMeteorologyParamedical skills and proceduresAir weapons, operations, communications, engineering, deck, administration, or supply

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Skills at a Glance

Skills helpful in this career

  • Verbal skills
  • Critical thinking & problem solving
  • Equipment operation & maintenance
  • Math & science skills
  • Technology design & control
  • Leadership


  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Education and Training
  • Psychology
  • Chemistry

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