Earning a commission as a Marine Corps officer is a demanding path filled with mental and physical challenges. Deciding what commissioning option you want to pursue can be confusing and overwhelming, so we will help by laying a few out for you. The first step is to meet with an Officer Selection Officer, or OSO, the equivalent of a Recruiter for Officers. The next step is to select your commissioning program.
If you are in high school or college, you have a few options:
Platoon Leader's Course
Officer Candidates Course
US Naval Academy
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:
Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program (MECEP)
Enlisted Commissioning Program (ECP)
Reserve Enlisted Commissioning Program (RECP)
Meritorious Commissioning Program - Reserve (MCP-R)
Platoon Leaders Course 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.
Officer Candidates Course 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. United States Naval Academy The United States Naval Academy is the only Marine Corps 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 Navy or 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.
Navy ROTC - Marine Option
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.
MECEP 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 candidates. 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 applicant
ECP 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. RECP 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. MCP-R The Meritorious Commissioning Program - Reserves, known as MCP-R is an enlisted to officer commissioning program designed to provide outstanding enlisted Marines the opportunity to serve as Marine Corps officers in the SMCR. The MCP-R program affords exceptionally qualified enlisted Reserve Marines who possess an associate degree or 75 semester hours to attend OCS and commission without a baccalaureate degree. Newly commissioned second lieutenants must possess a degree prior to being promoted to captain. This program creates an opportunity for enlisted Marines to pursue a commissioning program after they have decided to pursue a college degree in their own lives. Applicants must be between 20 & 30 years old.