I applied through a recruiter. The process took 2+ months. I interviewed at US Marine Corps (Camp Pendleton, CA) in January 2008.
Officer Candidates School is the interview process. It is designed to weed out those who do not posess the leadership abilities required to lead Marines into a combat zone. It is 10 weeks of no sleep, physically and mentally challenging problem solving scenarios, and extreme physical conditioning. They will yell at you and force you to make difficult decisions without sleep, or a full understanding of th environment around you. This is essential because in combat you will never have the whole picture, and your ability to make a sound decision without all the information is critical. No decision is the worst course of action you can choose. You will be put in command of your peers, and expected to lead them. Egos and personality types will clash, almost everyone around you is an alpha male. You will fail. They want to see how you handle failure, how you rebound. You have to rate your peers, and they have to rate you. You will see every evaluation your peers make on you. Pride cannot get in the way of poor leadership traits you posess that you must correct. Your Marines' lives depend on your ability to lead them. Integrity is the number one trait you must posess. Your word will be the word of God to your Marines. What you say goes, therefore you must speak honestly, and never look the other way. You must overcome the stigma of being a "rat" if you witness someone else lying, and report it. You will be held just as accountable as the liar or cheater if you do not.
- Here is a rope, a barrel, a toothpick, and a 4 foot piece of plywood, and 3 other Officer Candidates. You have 5 minutes to develop a plan, brief it to your team and cross this river without touching the water. Don't forget to factor in front and rear security, Go. 1 Answer
No negotiations. They don't need you. That's their attitude. You have to want to be a Marine Officer. They tell you where you will go, what job you will perform, and your pay is predetermined on the military pay scales. You will spend six months in Quantico, VA after OCS for training as an ifantry platoon commander. Depending on how you graduate from there, affects what job you will get. From there you will move to your MOS (military occupational specialty - essentially the job you will perform in the Marine Corps) which can be as short as a month or two (supply) or over two years (flight school). From there you go to the Fleet Marine Force where you assume your duties as either a shop head, or a platoon commander.
An officer is a servicemember in a position of authority. Officers are the leaders of the Military, supervising and managing activities in almost every occupational specialty. Unlike the enlisted joining process, becoming a military officer requires extra training, education or expertise. In exchange for the increased responsibility, officers receive superior benefits and excellent credentials valued by both military and civilian employers. And for someone with a four-year college degree it can be the real-world experience necessary to advance a career.
Types of Officers
There is more than one kind of officer in the Military, and all of them are in positions of leadership.
- Commissioned officers typically enter the Military with a four-year college degree or greater and have completed officer training.
- Warrant officers are typically promoted from the enlisted ranks for technical expertise and rank between the highest enlisted and lowest commissioned officers (with the exception of the Air Force).
A third position of authority you may have heard of is noncommissioned officers or NCOs. Despite the title, NCOs are actually higher-ranking enlisted personnel.
Learn more about enlisted personnel
Becoming a Commissioned Officer
Just as there are different types of officers, there are different ways to become one. Where you are in your education and career will help determine the best route for you.
Officer Candidate (or Training) School (OCS/OTS)
This program helps turn college graduates with no prior military training into military officers. It is also the way for an enlisted servicemember with over 90 hours of college credit to advance to commissioned officer.
Requirements and training vary based on Service. Find out what it takes to become an officer by exploring the OCS/OTS websites for each of the Armed Forces:
The Military offers direct commission opportunities to trained professionals in fields such as medicine, law, engineering or religion. Direct commission officers typically earn a higher entry salary due to their expertise and may be required to either participate in an indoctrination course or Basic Training (similar to enlisted Basic Training), depending on the Service.
Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC)
The ROTC is the most common way the Military accepts officers. Offered at more than 1,000 colleges and universities across the United States, ROTC is an elective curriculum that prepares young adults to become officers in the U.S. Military.
Learn more about ROTC programs
Attending a Service Academy
Service academies combine general education with special military training. While Service academies can be extremely hard to get into, once accepted, attendees receive full benefits, a full four-year scholarship and upon graduation, a commissioned officer rank.
Learn more about Service Academies
For more information about specific Service academies, visit the following websites:
Attending a Senior Military College
Senior Military Colleges (SMCs) offer a variety of majors, valuable leadership training and financial aid packages for eligible students. Those who attend SMCs participate in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), but cadets at SMCs are not required to serve in the Military after graduation, unless they have received ROTC scholarships. If they do choose to serve, they will become commissioned officers.
Learn more about Senior Military Colleges
Explore individual Senior Military Colleges:
Becoming a Warrant Officer
Warrant officers are highly skilled, technical and tactical leaders who specialize, throughout an entire career, in one specific area. Although warrant officers make up only a small portion of the Armed Forces, they hold a great deal of responsibility. Only the very best enlisted personnel, typically with five to eight years’ experience in a specific technical field, are selected to become warrant officers. Enlisted servicemembers, and on rare occasions, for specific fields only, civilians, have to apply to become warrant officers, and at minimum meet the following requirements:
- U.S. citizenship
- General Technical (GT) score of 110 or higher
- Pass a three-event physical fitness test
- Secret security clearance
If the preceding requirements are met and a candidate’s application is accepted, he or she may attend Warrant Officer Candidate School (WOCS). Upon completing WOCS, he or she is appointed as a warrant officer.
The Benefits of Becoming an Officer
The benefits of becoming an officer in the Military are far-reaching. Tangible benefits include increased salary and better housing. And the intangible benefits are perhaps of even greater value. Leadership development, management and increased real-world experience are some of the immeasurable qualities of becoming a military officer. Such characteristics can prove helpful in both the Military and professional civilian work forces.