Commissioning FAQ's

Before the Corps is a new website, and we have worked very hard to create quality content that answers all of your questions about what it is like to go become an Officer.

When you have any questions at all, use the Contact Us form on the previous page and we will get back to you.

As you ask questions of us, we will post the most commonly asked ones here.

Should I join the Marines?

We can't tell you what to do with your life, but can tell you what you might get out of joining our organization. As a Leader of Marines, we expect you not only to espouse the traditional values you associate with our institution, but also the integrit and character required to lead men and women into combat. We are the only organization that focuses on training each individual officer to be prepared for the rigors of combat leadership and emphasize leadership development at every stage in your career. Marines are proud, known for being reliable, tough as nails, and the people you call when you're in trouble and absolutely need a job done. We provide the same education, pay, housing, and job benefits as any other branch, but will take you farther than the Army, Navy, or Air Force. We believe in being our best selves and achieving the impossible. It will take more blood, sweat, and tears than any other branch. We do more with less, and don't care about comfort. The Marine Corps is the last bastion of warrior culture in the United States. If that sounds like something you're interested in, contact a recruiter. If you want an easy way to pay for college and a comfortable lifestyle, we aren't the branch for you.

When should I contact an Officer Selection Officer?

Depending on where you are in your journey, you can reach out to an OSO at any time. If you are a high school student looking to take advantage of a Marine Corps scholarship commissioning program, you should contact a recruiting station during your Junior year. If you are already in college or a recent graduate, you can contact an OSO at any time to see which program is right for you. Active Duty and Reserve Marines can contact OSOs as well, although the best way to apply for a commissioning program is to read the information on our website, research the MARADMINs for the current Fiscal Year, and begin the application process with your chain of command.

Can I sign for an MOS when I contract?

Officer contracts are general and have far less flexibility than their enlisted counterparts. Your options are limited to a ground contract, aviation contract, or legal contract. If you sign a Legal Contract, it is guaranteed you will enter the Marine Corps' Judge Advocate officer population. Aviation Contracts will compete for their platforms throughout Flight School. Ground Contracts will compete for an MOS while at The Basic School. To learn more, check out our Officer Contracts Page.

If I am enlisted and get a Commission, can I go back to the same MOS?

Regardless of what your enlisted MOS was, once you receive a commission, you will have to compete for a new MOS at The Basic School. Competition is based on your performance on all the graded events at TBS and your lineal standing. This works out well - if you had an MOS you liked and want to go back to it as an Officer, the chances are you should be able to do that, provided you perform well at TBS. If you have a different MOS you want to commission into, you will have an option to do that as well. Regardless of what MOS you want, you will be competing against the other officers in your class. Your Staff Platoon Commander (SPC) will try to advocate for you to get the MOS you want related to your preferences.

How can I become a Marine Officer?

Common avenues to become a Marine Officer are through commisioning programs such as the United States Naval Academy, Navy ROTC Marine Option, OCS, and Enlisted to Officer programs.