United States Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Course
What is the PLC?
The Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Course (PLC) is an alternative for NROTC or OCS for college students who wish to become commissioned officers in the United States Marine Corps.
College students can enroll in PLC when they are freshmen, sophomores, or juniors in college. Those who enroll as freshmen or sophmores attend two 6 six-week summer training programs at the Marine Corps Officer Candidate School, located at Quantico, Virginia. Students who enroll in the program as juniors attend one 10-week summer course.
PLC summer class sizes are typically 250 to 300 students, broken into four to six platoons. The platoons train in a physically demanding environment where sleep deprivation, military tasks, and memorization are constantly forced on candidates to test their ability to handle stress. The course of instruction is much the same as Marine Corps Officer Candidate School.
Travel costs, meals, textbooks, uniforms and lodging, during the summer training sessions are provided by the Marine Corps, and students are paid for their time. Additional financial assistance may be obtained for participation in active duty. Participants may receive tax-free financial assistance of up to $7,000 for Platoon Leaders Class participation. In addition, participants earn up to $2,985 during the training. Most colleges will grant academic credit for the summer training.
Upon completion of the first summer training session, applicants may begin receiving a $150 per month (tax free) stipend. Upon completing their 4-year degree, applicants are commissioned as 2nd Lieutenants in the United States Marine Corps. Unless one accepts tuition assistance under the program, there is no obligation to join the United States Marines after completion of the course. However, there is also no obligation on the part of the Marine Corps to offer a commission upon completion of the course (although, unless one totally screws up, they usually do).
For those who accept tuition assistance (up to $15,600 over three consecutive years), there is a military service obligation of four years. A member of the PLC-Aviation option or PLC-Ground option (including a Selected Marine Corps Reservist) who receives tuition assistance may be ordered to active duty as an enlisted Marine for not more than four years, if the member:
- Completes all PLC program requirements but refuses to accept an appointment as a commissioned officer in the Marine Corps Reserve;
- Fails to complete program requirements; or
- Is disenrolled from the PLC program for failure to maintain eligibility for appointment under 10 U.S.C. 532.
Following commission, Marine Corps officers attend The Basic School, six months (also in Quantico) of training in leadership, land navigation, weapons, small-unit tactics, and communications.
- Must be a United States Citizen
- Must be at least 20 years old, and no older than 26 on June 30 of the calendar year expected to be commissioned (up to 30 years if prior service, depending on length of previous service)
- Must meet the moral standards for enlistment/accession
- Must be eligible for a Security Clearance
- Must meet USMC Weight and Fitness Requirements
- Must be a full time student in an accredited college or university
- Must maintain a C Average in order to be commissioned. Students are ineligible to apply if they have attained less than a "C" average in the semester/quarter prior to application. Students on academic,disciplinary, social, or moral probation are also ineligible to apply or receive any additional payments.
Aviation guarantees are available in PLC. Those who qualify receive up to 25 hours of flight training while still in college, in order to familiarize themselves with general flight before going to military flight school, following commission. In addition to the other requirements for PLC, applicants must achieve a passing score on the United States Navy and Marine Corps Flight Aptitude Battery. Additionally, applicants must be able to pass the United States Navy Flight Class Physical.
Those interested in becoming a lawyer may be interested in the PLC law program. Under this program, commission is delayed until completion of law school. After graduation from law school, applicants are commissioned in the JAG Corps. To be eligible for this program, applicants must score a minimum of 30 on a 50-point scale, or 150 on a 180-point scale, of the LSAT. Under this program, applicants must be no older than 31 years old as of June 30 of the calendar year they will be commissioned (up to 35 if prior active military service, dependent upon length of prior service).