The Marine Corps Officer Candidate School (OCS) is the entry-level training for Marine officers, equivalent to recruit training for enlisted Marines.The training takes place at the Marine Corps Base Quantico. The school trains, screens, and evaluates potential Marine Officers. Unlike other Military services, the Marine Corps officers generally complete OCS to earn a commission.
Unlike NROTC, Officer Candidates School is done solely out of Quantico, Va., and is the most difficult program on both a physical and psychological level. This process is based on an initial applicant process composed of interviews, references, and physical fitness testing.
The training can be a 10-week course, or two six-week courses broken down into two separate Summers after the sophomore and junior year of college. The program is designed to screen and evaluate candidate’s fitness standards to prepare them for leadership positions in hostile and stressful environments.
Entry to the Officer Candidates School comes from several different commissioning programs:
- Officer Candidates Class (OCC) for college seniors and graduates
- Platoon Leaders Class (PLC) for college students with one or more years left in school
- Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC)
- Enlisted Commissioning Program (ECP) for enlisted Marines with a college degree
- Meritorious Commissioning Program (MCP) for enlisted Marines within 18 months of graduation
- Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program (MECEP)
Officer Candidates must pass a series of tests before being admitted into the Officer Candidate School. Upon completing a satisfactory interview, the OSO (Officer Selection Officer) then makes the decision to move the candidate onto the next step. The candidate must complete a short essay about why they want to be a Marine Officer, provide identification (usually a birth certificate and Social Security card), pass a background check, provide five letters of recommendation, and complete a physical medical exam.
After successful completion of these steps, the OSO may then conduct the Officer Candidate through a Physical Fitness Test. Upon reaching a score on the test that the OSO deems to be acceptable (usually in the range of 225 and above), the Officer Candidate then signs their contract.
After all of the needed information is sent to a review board, The board will review and determine if the Candidate should be accepted to Officer Candidate School These review boards generally meet only once a month. After receiving a majority vote of acceptance from the review board, the Officer Candidate is officially accepted into the Officer Candidate Program and scheduled for a class.
Training in the OCS
OCS screens potential officers using a program designed to test and assess the candidates with an emphasis on confidence and leadership abilities. This includes evaluated events such as the leadership reaction course and small unit leader evaluation exercise.
The Platoon Leaders Class( PLC) normally consists of two six-week training sessions taken between consecutive school years, which occur in the summers with no commitment during the school year. Young men and women at any accredited four-year college or university are eligible for this class, but must have one of the following to qualify: SAT score of 1000 or higher, ACT score of 22 or higher, or ASVAB score of 74 or higher.
Training also includes academic and field topics. Academic subjects covered include Marine Corps history, leadership, close order drill, weapons handling, and general military subjects such as land navigation, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, interior guard, moral and ethical leadership, and basic combat. Officer Candidates in a PLC Senior course run and hike an average of 250 miles (400 km) or more during a six-week period.