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So you have decided to become an officer. The next step is to select your commissioning program.

If you are in high school or college, you have a few options:

  1. Platoon Leader's Course

  2. Officer Candidates Course 

  3. the US Naval Academy

  4. Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) - Marine Option

Active Duty and Reserve Marines may pursue officer careers via the following Enlisted to Officer Commissioning Programs:

  1. Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program (MECEP)

  2. Enlisted Commissioning Program (ECP)

  3. Reserve Enlisted Commissioning Program (RECP)

  4. Meritorious Commissioning Program - Reserve (MCP-R)


Platoon Leaders Class (PLC) is a non-scholarship commissioning option for college Freshmen through Juniors. Applicants must be 18 years old and not have reached their 28th birthday by the time they will commission.


If you are a college student pursuing a Marine Corps Commission upon your college graduation, this program may be right for you.


You will attend two 6-week summer sessions (one after your Freshman or Sophomore year and another after your Junior year of college) or one 10-week summer session (after your Junior year of college).

Upon completion of these summer sessions and graduation from college, you will commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps and report to The Basic School for training.

There is a bonus for candidates who sign up as college freshmen or sophomores.

You will be required to serve 3.5 years of active duty after commissioning in a ground contract and 8 years active for an aviation contract.

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Officer Candidates Course (OCC) is a non-scholarship commissioning option for college Seniors and graduates.

If you are graduating or have graduated college and want to join the Marines, this is your way to do it.

You will attend one 10-week summer session at Officer Candidate School where you will be evaluated.  Upon completion of this summer session (and receipt of a college degree), you will commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps and report to The Basic School for training.

You will be required to serve 3.5 years of active duty after commissioning in a ground contract and 8 years active for an aviation contract.

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The United States Naval Academy is the only commissioning program that does not require you to attend OCS. It is a four year college run and administered by the US Navy. Upon graduation, students (known as midshipmen) are commissioned into the US Navy and Marine Corps.

To apply for the US Naval Academy, applicants must be between 17 and 23 years old, with exceptional academic and extracurricular records or prior service in the Navy or Marines.


They also require a nomination from their local Congressional representative or one of their state's two Senators (unless applying from active duty enlistment).

While at the academy, midshipmen will compete for spots as Marine Corps officers, only finding out around Thanksgiving of their Senior Year which service they will commission into.

The four years at college are free and midshipmen are paid a stipend year round. Upon commissioning, Officers will owe 5 years of active service and 8 years if in Aviation contracts.


The Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (Navy ROTC or NROTC) has a Marine Option for college students pursuing commissions as Marine Officers.

This scholarship option will cover tuition for students (known as midshipmen) and other expenses while pursuing a four year college degree. This is offered at select colleges and universities.

Midshipmen will be required to take military and naval science classes as part of their education while also maintaining grades, physical fitness, conduct, and performing other duties and events as directed by the Marine Officer Instructors. They will attend OCS in the summers as well as other training intended to expose them to the Marine Corps MAGTF structure.

Applicants must be between 17 and 23 years old, and not older than 27 years upon their commissioning.

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The Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program is a full-scholarship Enlisted to Officer Commissioning program for Active Duty and Reserve Marines.

Enlisted Marines selected for this program will attend a college to pursue a degree and will train alongside NROTC applicants. They will also attend OCS one summer like OCC canidates.

While in MECEP, Marines retain their rank and corresponding pay and healthcare benefits. Upon graduation, they commission as Second Lieutenants and will attend The Basic School where they will compete for a new MOS and career field.

Marines must have at least three years time-in-service (TIS) and at least one year left on their current contract. 

They must also have taken at least 12 college credits, with a required 3 credits in math and 3 credits in English. 

This program is highly competitive and selects only the best and most qualified applicants.


The Enlisted Commissioning Program is for highly motivated Marines that have completed a college degree already.

This degree can be received in-service or prior to enlisting.

Marines must have at least one year of Active Service and have reached the rank of Lance Corporal. 

Marines who are accepted to the ECP program have stellar service records and are recognized for their leadership potential.

They will attend OCS during the summer and will receive a commission upon graduation from the program.

Applicants are eligible for ground or air contracts. There is no age requirement for applicants, but older applicants will require waivers if applying for a flight contract.

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Reserve Enlisted Commissioning Program (RECP) is a program that affords exceptionally qualified enlisted Reserve Marines the opportunity to attain appointments as commissioned officers.

These Marines will become commissioned officers in the Reserves. They have the same requirements as the ECP program.

After they attend OCS and commission, they will attend TBS and then an MOS School. After the MOS School, they will return to the reserves, but now as an officer.