Marine Corps Officer Job Descriptions

There are a few paths to becoming a Marine officer

Marine officer and his family
•••   Ariel Skelley / Getty Images 

There are several options a prospective Marine Corps officer can take to achieve the title. To enter the USMC officer ranks you can take several paths.

Here are a few of the ways Marines become officers.

U.S. Naval Academy

The Academy is the Navy and Marine Corps' Department of Defense-operated college located in Annapolis, Maryland. Typically 25 percent of the graduates of the four-year institution will become Marine Corps Officers.

Marine Corps ROTC

Navy/Marine Corps ROTC programs at more than 65 colleges and universities across the country offer Marine Corps commissions to college students who complete four years of naval science study on campus.

USMC Officer Candidate School 

Like other branches of the U.S. military, the Marine Corps has a traditional candidates' school. Under the officer candidate programs, male and female graduates of an accredited four-year college or university, and graduates of accredited law schools licensed to practice in a state or federal court are eligible for a reserve commission.

Platoon Leader's Course

The Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Course (PLC) is for college students who enroll as freshmen or sophomores attend two six-week summer training programs at the Marine Corps Officer Candidate School, located in Quantico, Virginia.

Enlisted Commissioning Program (ECP)

ECP provides an enlisted Marine who has a four-year degree from an accredited school with the opportunity to become a commissioned officer. ECP is open to Marines with a minimum of one year of active duty experience and at least 12 months remaining on their current enlisted contract.

However, once commissioned, all Marine officers will attend The Basic School (TBS). From their performance at TBS, they will be directed by the needs of the Marine Corps as well as their personal desire to continue training in their MOS. 

Basic School Method

The Basic School method of assigning jobs to second lieutenants that best fit the job description, the needs of the USMC, as well as the Marine's performance at TBS. Though TBS adheres to the highest standards of fairness, sometimes members in the top third of the class may not receive follow-on orders for their requested training.

Most-Needed Officer Jobs in the Marine Corps

Each year is different, and there may be some jobs that need more personnel than others. However, typically, there are four MOS that require the most Marine officers, since they typically have the most turnover:

  • Infantry Officer: Marine Infantry Officers are responsible for preparing their Marines for every variety of ground combat mission. This is perhaps one of the toughest young officer jobs in the Marine Corps.
  • Logistics Officer: These officers are critical thinkers and planners. Coordinating the movement of Marine, equipment and manage supply chain from ship, air, to shore is their primary responsibility. 
  • Field Artillery Officer: Marines who lead the gunners of the Marine Corps must be effective in tactics, gun-line drills, communications, maintenance, transportation, and logistics. The Artillery units provide close-fire support for the infantry, armored reconnaissance, and tank units. 
  • Supply Administration and Operations Officer: These Marines purchase needed equipment and material for every mission. Marine supply ensures the entire Marine Corps is properly equipped as they supervise the purchasing and contracting of supplies, manage budgets and develop spending plans.

When assigning jobs to newly commissioned officers, the desires of lieutenants are considered at TBS, however, these are secondary to the needs of the Marine Corps. Most lieutenants (approximately 75 percent) will receive one of their top three choices. In reality, individual choice probably has the greatest impact on final MOS assignments.