Service Options

Active or Reserve, enlisted or officer, as one of the Few, you will forever be known by the title you earn: United States Marine.


Becoming an Enlisted Marine requires the ability to meet the highest standards of moral, mental and physical strength. It also requires completing a multi-aptitude test, passing an initial fitness test and meeting certain eligibility requirements. If you have further questions about your eligibility, you can contact a Marine Recruiter who will explain in detail the initial requirements for enlistment.

The corporals and sergeants leading squads in our infantry platoons form the foundation of Marine Corps small unit leadership. The infantry leader program can put you on a direct path to becoming an infantry squad leader, but completing the journey will require no less than everything you've got.


Marines are stationed at Marine bases located throughout the world and are able to enjoy the American way of life they defend. Living on base is much like living in a civilian neighborhood, with convenient schools, day care centers, chapels, medical facilities, recreational facilities and shopping. The bond between Marines and Marine families creates a tight-knit community like no other.


Every Marine is first and foremost, a rifleman, but every Marine also has a specific job assignment in the Corps called a Military Occupational Specialty, or MOS. These specialties are assigned to individuals based on their personal preferences, their ASVAB scores, and most importantly, the needs of the Corps. After successfully completing Recruit Training, Marines undergo specialized training to prepare them for the roles that will define their time in the Corps.


There are numerous enlistment terms and enlistment programs available in the Marine Corps, but the most common enlistment contracts require four or five years of active duty service. Depending on an individual's level of education, unique qualifications and other determining factors, guaranteed training and duty assignments may be available. If you have questions about enlistment options, a Marine Recruiter is your best resource for information.


The Marine Corps Delayed Entry Program (DEP) allows young men and women to enlist in the Marine Corps even though they may not begin recruit training for up to a year. The DEP ensures that all future Marines will report to their Marine Corps Recruit Training Depot ready, both physically and mentally. In the time between signing their contract and officially beginning their training, they will develop a sense of brotherhood through family nights, training events and other activities facilitated by their Marine Recruiter. Because enlisted men and women do not earn the title Marine until they complete recruit training, the aspiring Marines enrolled in the Delayed Entry Program are called "Poolees."  To prepare for the challenges of recruit training, Marine Corps Recruiters train with their Poolees and teach them about the Marine Corps' culture and values.


After a Marine has completed his or her initial training and has become proficient in an MOS, the opportunities for self-improvement continue. There are numerous special training schools, advanced educational opportunities and Special Duty Assignments available to Marines throughout their time in the Corps.

Musician Enlistment Option Program

The Musician Enlistment Option Program (MEOP) presents the rare opportunity to serve our nation as both a musician and a warrior. Those few who have what it takes physically, mentally and musically can make freedom ring throughout our Corps, our country and beyond. To learn more about MEOP and the enlistment incentives offered exclusively to Marine musicians, click the link below to request more information. When filling out the form, please check the box for learning about musician opportunities in the Marine Corps.


For individuals who decide to pursue our title, Marine Corps Recruit Training will be one of the most mentally and physically challenging experiences ever faced. Enlisted Marines make up the majority of the Marine Corps and are trained to respond appropriately and convincingly when called upon by our nation. Those who are able to rise to this challenge will gain a sense of purpose, honor and pride that few will ever know.


There are many factors that determine the speed with which an Enlisted Marine gets promoted, the most important including each Marine's time in service, time in grade (rank) and level of performance within his or her MOS. The higher through the ranks a Marine advances, the more competitive the next promotion will be. The minimum time-in-service thresholds for regular promotions are:

Private (E-1) to Private First Class (E-2), or PFC – 6 months

PFC to Lance Corporal (E-3) – 9 months

Lance Corporal to Corporal (E-4) – 12 months

Corporal to Sergeant (E-5) – 24 months

Promotions after the rank of Sergeant are determined by a promotion board.

Learn more about the enlisted rank structure.