This Nation places its trust in its Marines to achieve victory on every front. To stand out in front of them is the exclusive charge and critical responsibility of every Marine Officer. By bringing strategy and the will of our Nation to every battlefield, it is our officers who can be turned to for accountable leadership, decisiveness, and judgment. Earning the honor of a Marine commission and wearing the mark of a Marine Officer means ensuring the success of our missions and the well-being of our Marines.
Marines are leaders who defy the opposition with resilience and the will to win. It was Captain Golino’s fighting spirit that once pushed her to overcome barriers on the football field—and these challenges would ultimately prepare her for the Marine Corps. Now, she uses that same determination to fight our Nation’s battles and find the next generation of leaders as an Officer Selection Officer.
Not everyone has the willingness and determination, the judgment and the leadership, or the mindset and the skillset to stand out in front of our Nation as an officer of Marines. Those who think they may will find out quickly at Officer Candidates School (OCS), where success is only achieved by giving everything you have.
The process of becoming a Marine Officer begins with your application as an Officer Candidate submitted by the Officer Selection Officer (OSO). The specific training path you will follow depends on where you are in your college education, your qualifications, and your occupational specialty preferences.
The four most common paths to becoming a Marine Officer are the Platoon Leaders Class (PLC), the Officer Candidate Course (OCC), the United States Naval Academy and the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC).
The Platoon Leaders Class (PLC) undergraduate commissioning program allows college students who are currently enrolled full time in any accredited college or university to pursue a commission in the Marine Corps without interrupting academic careers. PLC is the most common path to becoming one of us and all training sessions take place in Quantico, VA. This path has two training options:
Two six-week summer training sessions for college freshman and sophomores
One ten-week training session for college juniors
OCC is a 10-week commissioning program in Quantico, VA for college seniors and graduates interested in earning the title as a United States Marine Officer. Upon completion, newly commissioned Marine Officers will begin active duty at The Basic School (TBS) as Second Lieutenants.
Aspiring Marine Officers may have the opportunity to earn a commission by attending the United States Naval Academy. This four-year undergraduate university challenges students to overcome physical and mental battles and prepares them to become professional officers of competence, character, and compassion.
The Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) Marine Option allows those with a fighting spirit the opportunity to earn a commission in the United States Marine Corps as they complete their studies at a participating college or university. If they rise to the challenge, they may become officers of the Marine Corps.
The purpose of the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) Program is to educate and train qualified men and women with the fighting spirit to serve as commissioned officers. As the largest single source of Navy and Marine Corps officers, the NROTC Scholarship Program plays an important role in preparing mature young men and women for leadership positions in an increasingly technical Marine Corps.
High school students pursuing an NROTC scholarship should begin the application process in the spring of their junior year. By making college more accessible through scholarships, the NROTC program will allow you to devote your time to excelling in your studies.
The Frederick C. Branch Leadership Scholarship is named in honor of the first African American Marine Officer who was commissioned as a second lieutenant on 10 November 1945. This is a subset of the NROTC scholarship. It is available at 17 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to applicants at least 17 years of age who have graduated high school or its equivalent.
The Pedro Del Valle Leadership Scholarship is named in honor of the first Hispanic Marine Corps Lieutenant General. This is a subset of the NROTC scholarship. It offers four-year, three-year, and two-year NROTC scholarships and is available at three Hispanic Serving Institutes (HSIs).
Named in honor of the first female in the Marine Corps to reach the rank of General Officer. This scholarship is not tied to a specific university.
Named in honor of a Chamorro United States Marine from the United States territory of Guam and member of the U.S. House of Representatives. This scholarship is not tied to a specific university.
Named after the first Marine African-American aviator and the first African-American officer to become a Marine General Officer. This scholarship is not tied to a specific university and is available only to college freshmen and sophomores.
Created to empower the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, United States Naval Sea Cadets, Young Marines, and the Civil Air Patrol participants. This scholarship is not tied to a specific university.
Basic eligibility requirements for NROTC Scholarship Applicants:
“I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So, help me God.”
For freedom and against tyranny. For justice and against every obstacle in the way of our Nation’s prosperity. These are the battles Marines are determined to win—but make no mistake: no Marine Officer leads alone. The bonds that form between Marine Officers and the Marines in our command is one of our Nation’s greatest weapons, as it fuels the fight throughout our ranks and through every conflict. Those who earn a commission as a Marine Officer earn a proud membership in a warrior class like no other, out front and alongside our Nation’s most determined fighters.
Pursuing and achieving a commission in the United States Marine Corps requires more than a simple willingness—it requires an unwavering commitment to a purpose greater than self. When you become a Marine Officer, you fight with the trust of a Nation, to win on its behalf, and to prevail for its beliefs. Those who possess the grit and the leadership to make sound decisions that break through the noise of battle will discover their own purpose lies in the purpose of our entire Nation.
For nearly two and a half centuries, it has been our Marine Officers who have earned a storied reputation finding extraordinary ways of achieving critical victories. What is just as exceptional as the fights Marine Officers lead is the common cause that lives on the nametape above the left breast pocket of every Marine Officer. Not the one that identifies the fighter, but the one that identifies our country and its ideals. Not just Marine Officers, but United States Marine Officers.
We were not made into Marine Officers overnight. It was a journey that began with our Officer Selection Team ensuring we were ready for the battles ahead. If you are seeking a role within our officer ranks, the Candidate Pool Program will expose you to the physical, mental and academic challenges that must be overcome to succeed at Officer Candidates School. In this program, officer prospects will work together with candidates who are already partially trained and Marine Officers who are fully trained but awaiting selection or specific assignments. The Candidate Pool Program can be your first exposure to the sense of belonging that develops between those who fight for a common cause together.