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U.S. Marine Officer Military Ranks

For an individual who desires to become a Marine Corps Officer, be prepared to meet a variety of standards. The applicant must have a four year degree, must possess high moral standards, must not have any serious medical conditions, and must be in peak physical condition at the time of entry into Officer Candidate’s School (OCS) in Quantico, VA, which is one of the paths one may take to become commissioned as a Marine Officer. Another path is by going through the Platoon Leaders Class (PLC) while attending college as a freshman, sophomore, or junior. This program prepares young men and women for the challenges of serving as a Marine Corps Officer. Others may choose to pursue a commission by attending the Officer Candidates Course (OCC), which is 10-week pre-commission training for college seniors and college graduates. Upon successful completion of this course, those who attend receive a commission. The other two ways to become an Officer in the Marine Corps include attending Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) while in college, or graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy.

Each and every path available to an individual with the desire to become a Marine Corps Officer requires a minimum of a four-year degree. To find schools that support your drive to earn a degree, click on the "Find A School" button below:

Marine Second Lieutenant (2nd Lt)
Second Lieutenant (2ndLt)
The rank of Second Lieutenant (2ndLt) is the initial rank for Marine Corps Officers, unless an individual enters the service as a professional (lawyer, doctor, nurse, etc.). A 2ndLt is a platton leader, consisting of 16 to 44 Marines. The common way to address a Marine Officer wearing this rank is "Lieutenant."
Marine First Lieutenant (1st Lt)
First Lieutenant
A Marine will earn this rank by serving as a 2ndLt for 24 months. A 1stLt will most likely be placed in a position requiring more experience following the promotion. For example, a 1stLt may lead a specialized plattoon or become the Executive Officer of a Company. This Marine Officer is addressed as "Lieutenant."
Marine Captain (Capt)
Captain (Capt)
A Marine Corps Captain is often promoted to Company Commander during his/her tenure at this rank. He/she may also be an instructor at a service school or a staff officer at the battalion level. A Marine Captain may also be an Officer Selection Officers commanding a recruiting station for commissioned officers.
Marine Major (Maj)
Major (Maj)
A Major in the Marine Corps is a field grade officer who will generally serve as the Staff Officer for the brigade. A Major may also be the executive officer for a battalion.
Marine Lieutenant Colonel (Lt. Col)
Lieutenant Colonel
A Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel may serve as a Battalion Commander, which consists of approximately 300 to 1,000 Marines. A LtCol may also be selected for brigade and task force Executive Officer.
Marine Colonel (Col)
Colonel (Col)
An individual that ascends to the rank of Marine Corps Colonel will most likely be in command of a regiment. A Sergeant Major will usually be the ranking NCO. A Colonel may also serve as the chief of divisional-level staff agencies.
Marine Brigadier General (Brig. Gen)
Brigadier General
A Marine Corps Brigadier General will serves as the Deputy Commander to the Commanding general for Marine Corps Divisions and will assist in overseeing the staff's planning and coordination of a mission. A Brigadier General is commonly addressed as "General."
Marine Major General (Maj. Gen)
Major General (MajGen)
A Marine Corps Major General is usually who you will find in command over a division, which consists of 10,000 to 15,000 troops. A Major General is commonly addressed as "General."
Marine Lieutenant General (Lt. Gen)
Lieutenant General
A Marine Corps Lieutenant General is commonly in command of a corps, which is made up of 20,000 to 45,000 troops. A Lieutenant General is commonly addressed as "General."
Marine General (Gen)
General (Gen)
A Marine Corps General is the senior level of Commissioned Officer who usually has over 30 years of experience and service. A General commands all operations that fall within his or her geographical area.
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