How can currently enlisted Marines become officers?


Marines currently serving in the Marine Corps Reserve may apply for programs such as PLC and OCC through their Officer Selection Officer.

Commissioning Programs for active duty enlisted Marines include:

Enlisted Commissioning Program (ECP)

  • For Marines who have earned a four-year degree before joining the Corps or during active duty
  • Qualified Marines attend Officer Candidates School (OCS)
  • Upon completion of OCS, they are commissioned as second lieutenants
  • Reserve Officer opportunities are available through the Reserve ECP
Official purpose: The ECP allows qualified enlisted Marines in the Regular Marine Corps and in the Marine Corps Active Reserve (AR) Program to apply for assignment to  Officer Candidates School (OCS) and subsequent appointment to unrestricted  commissioned officer grade in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.Find the official information on the ECP in MARINE CORPS ORDER 1040.43A here.

Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Educational Program (MECEP)

MECEP may be the most popular option for enlisted Marines to commission. The Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program is designed to provide outstanding enlisted Marines the opportunity to become Marine Corps Officers. MECEP is open to all active duty Marines and Marines in the Active Reserve (AR) program who meet the eligibility requirements. Marines successfully completing the program receive a Baccalaureate Degree and a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. Selection is based on an individual’s potential for commissioned service as demonstrated by their service record, previous academic record, and evidence of career and academic self-improvement.

  • For exceptional Marines who have not yet completed their bachelor’s degree
  • Selected Marines are assigned to a special preparatory course and then attend a college offering an NROTC program
  • Marines enrolled in MECEP attend OCS during the summer between their first and second years of college
  • Upon completion of their degree, they will be commissioned as second lieutenants

The basic eligibility requirements for the program are as follows: 

  • Corporal or Above
  • At least 20 years of age but less than 26
  • Ranked in the Top 50% of high school class or
  • GED score of 75
  • SAT score of 1000 or ACT of 45 or
  • AFQT of 74.
There have been some changes to the above enlisted commissioning programs. Read about them here.

Warrant Officer (Regular, Reserve, Gunner, and Recruiter) (WO)

The Enlisted to Warrant Officer Program is a program whereby qualified enlisted Marines, who are the technical experts in their field, may apply for appointment to warrant officer in the military occupational specialty (MOS) they are considered to be technically and proficiently qualified to serve.

There are five categories of warrant officers: Regular Active Duty, Active Reserve, Selected Marine Corps Reserve, Marine Gunner, and Career Recruiter. The policy and eligibility criteria are contained in SecNavInst 1120.11 and the application format is located in MCO 1040.42A. Annual Marine Corps Administrative (MARADMIN) messages are released announcing the application deadlines, MOS vacancies, and any guidance that is new or needs clarification since the last rewrite of the directives.

United States Naval Academy (USNA)

Enlisted active duty Marines and Marines serving in the active reserve (AR) program that meet the eligibility requirements may apply for nomination and appointment to The United States Naval Academy (USNA). The Naval Academy Preparatory School (NAPS) obtains its’ students from USNA applicants that, in the opinion of the USNA Admissions Board, could profit from an additional year of academic preparation. Marines who wish to be considered for admission to NAPS must state their willingness on their USNA application.

Basic eligibility requirements for admission to the Naval Academy are: 

  • United States Citizen
  • Have good moral character
  • Be unmarried
  • At least 17 years of age but less than 23
  • Have no dependents
  • Not pregnant


2 thoughts on “How can currently enlisted Marines become officers?

  1. Hello all!

    I have a B.S. science degree from a state university but my GPA is low (less than 2.5).
    I met up with the recruiters and they asked if I’d be interested in going from enlisted to commissioned officer program.

    Can anyone attest to how likely this is?

    Time is against me and i’m willing to start from the bottom, but at the end of the day i’d like to be a commissioned officer (not just joining the armed forces with a college degree).


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