Can I join the Marine Corps after attending a University or college - Career Guide (2023)

Can I join the Marine Corps after attending a University or college?

you can join the Marine Corps as an enlisted personnel immediately after high school or as a commissioned officer after college.

Although college fees are quite expensive, joining the Marine Corps after college can be a great way to serve in the Military.

Reports show that about 200,000 people apply to join the Military every year.

180,000 of these, applied as enlisted personnel while only 20,000 applied as officers.

This huge discrepancy is because of the application requirements which often require college degrees for officers.

Hence, you chances are high for a successful application with college degree.

Applying with a college degree also allows you to graduate basic boot camp training as an E-2 while other candidates with no college degree remain at E-1, if you choose to enlist.Can I join the Marine Corps after attending a University or college - Career Guide (1)

But if you join as an officer, other general enlistment trainings are skipped and candidates are trained in Officer Candidates School (OCS) for 10-17 weeks.

At the OCS, candidates are trained on how to manage enlisted personnel, give orders, assign tasks, plan missions and how to lead in battle.

Joining the Marine Corps after college also comes with great benefits such as the College Loan Repayment Program (CLRP) that help college degree holders to repay their student loans up to a maximum of $20,000.

It also allows you to gain more relevant experience and training that prepares you for a leadership role in the Marine Corps at a young age.

Plus, advancements are quicker and more frequent when you join the Marine Corps after college. Of course, there is also the higher salary.

Do degree holders who enlist in the Marine Corps start at a higher rank?

First, it should be noted that there is a difference between enlisting in the Marine Corps and commissioning.

Enlisted personnels have specific knowledge, abilities and skills required to perform specialized functions that are critical to the success of their missions.

Commissioned officers, on the other hand, are trained to plan missions and coordinate enlisted personnels.

While enlisting trains you to perform the functions of enlisted personnel, commissioning trains you to be a Marine Officer.

That said, degree holders are usually advised by Military Recruiters to consider commissioning as an officer rather than enlisting.

They are quite different and commissioned officers do not enlist. Candidates who join the Marine Corps with a college degree

and successfully complete the Officer Candidates School (OSC) are graduated as Second Lieutenants (2ndLt).

It is the entry-level commissioned officers rank with command of a platoon consisting of about 16 to 44 Marines.

Second Lieutenants rank higher than all enlisted personnel and all non-commissioned officers.

Specifically, Second Lieutenants are the direct superiors of Chief Warrant Officer 5 and rank below First Lieutenants.

So degree holders who join the Marine Corps with their degrees and undergo officer trainings start at a much higher rank than their counterparts who simply enlist in the Marine Corps with high school diplomas.

Should I join the Marines before or after college?

Joining the Marines before college means you will only have the option of enlisting and you will have to start from the lowest rank of enlisted personnel, i.e. Private.

You will need more time, perhaps even decades, to rise through the ranks and reach your goal.

Plus, your low ranks in the Marine will also be reflected in your pay check. It’s the lowest pay grade in the Marine Corps with a basic salary of about $20,797.20 per annum.

On the other hand, joining the Marine Corps after college means you can undergo commissioning to become an officer.

Joining the Marine Corps as an officer means you start as a Second Lieutenant with a platoon under your command. It means more responsibility and more authority.

The higher rank also translates to a higher pay. A Second Lieutenant receive a basic salary ranging from a starting pay of about $39,445.20 per annum to $49,636.80 over the years.

Aside from the increased authority and increased pay that comes with joining the Marine Corps after college, you will also have more post-military career prospects.

If you ever want to work after you leave the Marine Corps, having a college training and degree will be indispensable.

It guarantees that you will have more opportunities for employment.

Plus, there are programs like the College Loan Repayment Program (CLPR) that will assist in the repayment of college loans.

The prospect and frequency of promotion when you join the Marine Corps after college is also greatly improved.

In light of the obvious benefits of joining the Marines after college, it would be a better decision to join the Marine Corps after college rather than before.

There is also the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program that provides stipends that cover tuitions,

books and other expenses to qualified students who enroll in relevant military and leadership courses during college or university.

It is a kind of military scholarship and the students are subsequently commissioned as officers in the Marine Corps.

What rank do you start out in the Marine with a college degree?

A college degree makes you a prime candidate to serve as an officer in the Marine Corps.

If you choose to commission as an officer, then you will start as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps with all the bells and whistles of the rank.

However, if you choose to enlist with your college degree rather commission as an officer, you will start out as a Private First Class or E-2 which is the second-lowest rank in the Marine Corps.

What does it feel like enlisting in the Marines with a college degree?

If you go through the Officer Candidates School (OCS) and become an officer in the Marine Corps, then you may have to deal with subordinates who doubt your competence or,

even worse, question your authority because of your perceived lack of military service experience.

However, your leadership training, character and the overall discipline of the Marine Corps will win out.

Enlisting as part of the other enlisted personnel will give you a different experience.

The experience will be greatly determined on whether people know you have a college degree or not.

Plus, how you relate with them matters a lot.

Understand that a lot of the enlisted persons only have high school diplomas,

so coming across as if you are more intelligent or better than they are is a sure way to get a nasty experience.

Be down to earth and never give your superiors reasons to feel intimidated by your degree.

More on United States Marine Corps

The United States Marine Corps was founded on November 10, 1775 to supplement the Naval Forces. At its inception, the Marine Corps was a completely independent part of the United States Armed Forces but Congress later integrated it into the Navy in 1834.

Although the Marine Corps operate as an independent part of the Armed Forces, it is still technically under the US Navy. As such the highest ranking officer of the Marine Corps,

i.e. Commandant of the Marine Corps, reports directly to the United States Secretary of the Navy.

The USMC carry out amphibious and expeditionary operations that include guarding US embassies, serving on US Navy ships,

protecting naval bases and protecting US interests anywhere in the world by providing a swift and ready strike force.

With only 184,100 active duty personnel, the Marine Corps has the third lowest number of active duty personnel of the six branches that make up the US Armed Forces.

But that does not detract from its power as the Marine Corps is regarded as one of the most elite fighting forces in the world.

Plus, the Marine Corps is a rapid response branch of the Military that makes it indispensable in cases of emergency.

That’s why it is regarded as the “tip of the spear of the US Armed Forces.”

Self-sufficiency is another key distinction of the Marine Corps. You see, the Marine Corps has its own logistics system, airpower and artillery.

Consequently, officers are trained to be perform specific duties that are essential to the self-sufficiency of the Marine Corps.

However, all personnel are properly trained to work as an infantryman regardless of any other special trainings.


This post has provided relevant information that the United States Marine Corps and the means to get the best out of serving in the Marine Corps. We hope you find it useful in your journey.

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Can I join the Marine Corps after attending a University or college - Career Guide (2)

Michael Larry

Michael Larry is an instructor and an educationist, who like to bring out the best in other through his inspirational writeup.


Can I join the Marine Corps after college? ›


OCC is a 10-week commissioning program in Quantico, VA for college seniors and graduates interested in earning the title as a United States Marine Officer. Upon completion, newly commissioned Marine Officers will begin active duty at The Basic School (TBS) as Second Lieutenants.

What disqualifies you from being a Marine? ›

Marine Corps enlistment requirements state that if you have been convicted of a felony, you are ineligible to serve in the United States Marine Corps. Full stop. If you have a misdemeanor conviction, it can often be waivered. However, multiple misdemeanors are usually a disqualification.

Should I join Marines before or after college? ›

Joining the military after college is a quick way to advance in any branch of the armed forces. A college degree qualifies those who enlist to enter officer training immediately, bypassing the time required for general recruits.

What rank do you start out in the Marines with a college degree? ›

You may earn an initial enlistment rank of E-1, E-2 or E-3 with 20 or more semester hours of credit from a degree-granting college or university.

Should I finish college before joining the military? ›

Enlisting in the military first means gaining the opportunity to retire earlier, have college paid for and potentially avoiding student loans. On the other hand, graduating from college first and then enlisting may allow you to start off at a higher rank and pay grade, with more opportunities for leadership roles.

How many college credits do you need to join the Marines? ›

ENLISTED. You must be 17–39 years of age, a U.S. citizen and have a high school diploma, GED with 15 college credits or GED.

What is the minimum height for the Marines? ›

The Marines are more restrictive. For the Marines, height standards for male applicants range from 58 to 78 inches. Height standards for female applicants range from 58 to 72 inches.

What is the max age to be a Marine? ›

Age limits

Army: 17 - 35. Coast Guard: 17 - 31. Marine Corps: 17 - 28. Navy: 17 - 39.

How many pull ups Does a Marine have to do? ›

Male/female pull-up standards (max/min)
Male Marine Pull-up Standards/Age
Age GroupMinimumMaximum
5 more rows

What age is too late to join the Marines? ›

Eligibility Requirements

To enlist as a Marine, you must obtain your high school diploma and be a legal U.S. resident between 17 and 28. To commission as a Marine Officer, you must be a United States citizen between 20 and 28 and have obtained both a high school diploma and a bachelor's degree.

Is the Marines the hardest branch to get into? ›

The hardest military branch to get into in terms of education requirements is the Air Force. The military branch with the toughest basic training is the Marine Corps.

How much is E4 pay? ›

Basic pay chart and raises
Years of Service
2 more rows

How much does an e 3 make? ›

Rank<2 Years Experience8 Years Experience
Private First Class (E3)$27,118.80$30,571.20
Specialist or Corporal (E4)$30,042.00$36,471.60
Sergeant (E5)$32,763.60$43,902.00
Staff Sergeant (E6)$35,766.00$48,506.40
2 more rows

How much does an O 1 make? ›

O-1 is the 1st officer paygrade in the United States military, with monthly basic pay ranging from $3,637.20 for an entry-level O-1 to $4,576.80 per month for O-1 personnel with over 40 years of experience.

What is the best degree to get before going into the military? ›

Business Administration

Whether you are in the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, or the Coast Guard, a business administration degree prepares you with the skills to lead and operate various departments.

Do you get paid for college if you go to college then join the military? ›

Gi Bill. The GI Bill helps current and former Soldiers pay for college, trade school, technical school, licensing, certification programs, on-the-job training, online schooling, and more. Many Soldiers using the GI Bill receive full tuition for their service.

Is college harder than the military? ›

Whether the military is tougher than college depends on the individual. A life of service may prove to be extremely difficult for some and an ideal fit for others, just as college life may be academically stressful and challenging to some and easy to others.

Is college free for Marines? ›

While you're on active duty, 100% of your tuition is covered at accredited institutions, up to $225 per college credit and/or $4500 per year. The Tuition Assistance Program is available at any duty station and participating can even help you earn bonus points toward promotion.

Do Marines get college paid for? ›

Marine Tuition Assistance (TA) is available for all active duty and active reserve Marines. Each member receives $4500 per fiscal year (1 Oct-30 Sep). There is a cap of $250 per semester hour, $166.67 per quarter hour, and $16.67 per clock hour.

What does 20 years in the Marines get you? ›


After 20 years of active-duty service in the Marine Corps, Marines earn retirement benefits and a pension, which enables retirement at an earlier age than what is offered through most civilian opportunities.

What is the weight limit for Marines? ›

US Marine Corps height and weight requirements

The maximum weight allowed varies by height, from 148 to 267 pounds (67 to 121 kilograms) for men and 120 to 184 pounds (54 to 83 kilograms) for women.

What is the average age of Marines? ›

There are over 19,221 united states marines currently employed in the United States. 18.1% of all united states marines are women, while 81.9% are men. The average age of an employed united states marine is 23 years old.
United States Marine Age.
United States Marine YearsPercentages
30-40 years9%
20-30 years73%
1 more row
Sep 9, 2022

How much do you have to weigh to be a Marine? ›

A Marine is expected to satisfy fitness requirements in which he or she must be able to maintain a body mass that is 25% less than when they entered service. Weight requirements for Marines are between 160 and 170 pounds on average.

How old is the youngest Marine? ›

He was born in Plymouth, North Carolina, in February 1928. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Lucas was inspired to serve in the military as soon as possible. He forged his mother's signature on enlistment papers that allowed him to join the Marines at age 17, despite only being 14.

How long can you stay in the Marines? ›

The Marine Corps plays a major role as the first force on the ground in most conflicts. Today, Marines are stationed around the world at all times, ready to deploy quickly whenever and wherever needed. Total service commitment ranges from four to six years.

What is Marine salary? ›

While ZipRecruiter is seeing annual salaries as high as $122,000 and as low as $12,000, the majority of salaries within the Marine Corps jobs category currently range between $38,500 (25th percentile) to $80,000 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $104,000 annually across the United States.

How many miles do Marines run a day in boot camp? ›

How Many Miles Do You Run in Marine Boot Camp? While training to become a United States Marine, you will run more than 75 miles, and hike more than 90 miles.

How many miles do Marines run? ›

Males must complete the three-mile run in 28 minutes or less. Females must complete the three-mile run in 31 minutes or less. This is a modal window.

How many people drop out of Marine training? ›

The Navy, Army, and Marines have recruits drop out at roughly the same rate as each other, between 11 and 14 percent annually. Contrary to what many think, the goal of officers in basic training isn't just to push recruits to drop out.

What disqualifies you from joining the military? ›

Medical conditions, criminal history, age, physical fitness, and drug abuse can all disqualify you from joining the Army. Other disqualifying factors include failing to meet minimum educational requirements, having a dishonorable discharge from the military, or having a record of mental illness.

Can you just show up to a military recruiter? ›

Can You Just Walk Into an Army Recruiting Office? There's no question that making an appointment is the best route to go about things, but if you're looking to contact someone about joining the Army, feel free to stop by.

What do Marines do when they are not deployed? ›

When not deployed, servicemembers and their units undergo traditional training to prepare for the conduct of military duties. During this phase, servicemembers go through normal training and medical evaluations that maintain their personal and unit readiness level.

What is the best branch of the military to join after high school? ›

The Navy. If the ability to travel is non-negotiable to you, the Navy is probably the best branch to join. There are only a handful of jobs in the Navy that don't spend a significant amount of time at sea; you can expect to spend a lot of time away from home assigned to a ship or submarine.

How long does the average person stay in the military? ›

How long is an average term of service? While total length of service commitment varies based on Service branch need and occupational specialty, a first term is generally four years of active duty followed by four years in a Reserve unit or Individual Ready Reserve (IRR).

What rank are you after military school? ›

Upon graduation, you will be commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Army.

Who goes to war first? ›

The Marines are often the first on the ground in combat situations, leading the charge when conflict arises. They also serve on Navy ships, protect Naval bases and guard U.S. embassies. Marines patrol during a simulated embassy reinforcement.

Which boot camp is the hardest? ›

There's a great argument that the Marine Corps has the hardest military training of anyone, and here's why. Of course, when you reach the top, you can find them becoming SEALs or a part of the Marine Raider Regiment (MRR), but the training of any Marine is some of the hardest military training in the world.

What boot camp is the easiest? ›

Easiest Boot Camp / Basic Training

Though boot camp / basic training is considered challenging, yet mandatory, for every branch of the military, the easiest among them would most likely be the Air Force.

How much is E7 retirement pay with 20 years? ›

What is the retirement pay for an E7 with 20 years? As of 2022 the pay calculation projection an E7 retiring with exactly 20 years of service would receive $27,827 per year. It's important to note the present value of almost $800,000 for a 40 year old receiving this pension indefinitely.

How much money will I make on deployment? ›

Per diem, including payments for incidental expenses, is paid to service members on some deployments. Per diem, designed to cover lodging, meals, and certain incidentals, ranges from $151 per day (inside the continental U.S.) to more than $800 daily (outside the U.S.).

How much does an E-4 with 6 years make? ›

A Specialist is a enlisted soldier in the United States Army at DoD paygrade E-4. A Specialist receives a monthly basic pay salary starting at $2,393 per month, with raises up to $2,906 per month once they have served for over 6 years.

What is the retirement pay for e7? ›

The first stays on active duty for 20 full years to retire as an E-7. They'll base their pension on 2.5% x 20 years = 50% of their High-Three retirement system. Under the current High-Three* rules, their pension would be 50% of the average of the highest 36 months of base pay.

Is military pay taxed? ›

Non-Excludable Taxes – Military pay for earned while in a combat zone is subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes and will appear on your W-2. Period Covered – You will receive the exclusion for months you served in a combat zone, including partial months of service.

Do soldiers pay taxes? ›

While all pays are taxable, most allowances are tax-exempt. The primary allowances for most individuals are BAS and BAH, which are tax-exempt. Conus COLA is one allowance that is taxable.

What is drill pay? ›

Drill Pay is part of the total compensation available to National Guard and Reserve Soldiers performing drilling and other training duties.

How much does a 4 star general make? ›

Regardless of continued time in service, once a military officer achieves the four-star rank of general or admiral, they will no longer receive pay raises and are capped at $16,974 per month.

How much do SEAL Team 6 members get paid? ›

The salaries of Navy Seals in the US range from $15,929 to $424,998 , with a median salary of $76,394 . The middle 57% of Navy Seals makes between $76,394 and $192,310, with the top 86% making $424,998.

Can I join Marines at 35? ›

Age limits

Coast Guard: 17 - 31. Marine Corps: 17 - 28. Navy: 17 - 39.

Can you enlist with a college degree? ›

Officer training provides the most common path, but the military does permit graduates to enter as enlisted members. Though college graduates gain many valuable, transferable skills during their time in school, they do not learn the basic skills and knowledge related to joining the armed forces.

Can I go to college and join the military? ›

You'll be glad to know the answer is yes – you absolutely can. Not only can you go to college while serving in the military, all branches have tuition assistance programs that cover all or part of the cost, whether it's a community college or technical school program, four-year degree or graduate program.

Could I get promoted in the Marines if I have college credits? ›

College credits or positive referrals to recruiters can result in automatic promotion. If the Marine was a meritorious JROTC Cadet, Sea Cadet, Young Marine, or Boy or Girl Scout, this may also warrant immediate promotions as put in writing by their recruiters.

What age does the Marines stop recruiting? ›

Although the maximum age for enlistment is 35, any individual older than 28 is required to request an age waiver.

Is it smart to join the military after college? ›

The benefits of joining the military after college

A guaranteed job after college. A leadership role at a young age. Higher pay than joining as an enlisted military member. Greater opportunities for promotion and training.

What rank do you get if you join the military after college? ›

At the end of the course, you will commission as an officer and accept an active duty service commitment. Individuals who complete Officer Candidate or Officer Training School will commission as second lieutenants (Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps) or ensigns (Coast Guard and Navy).

Will college be free if I join the military? ›

Gi Bill. The GI Bill helps current and former Soldiers pay for college, trade school, technical school, licensing, certification programs, on-the-job training, online schooling, and more. Many Soldiers using the GI Bill receive full tuition for their service.

What is the easiest military branch? ›

The Air Force is reported to be the “easiest” branch when it comes to physical challenges and difficulties. Next to the Coast Guard, Air Force members are among the least likely to see combat.

What branches of the military can you join without a GED? ›

applicants are often considered Tier 2 recruits while those with a high school diploma are Tier 1. The U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) is one branch of the military that does not accept a G.E.D. at all.

How fast can you rank up in the Marines? ›

Promotion criteria
Marine Corps Enlisted Ranks
Private First ClassE-2Six months
Lance CorporalE-314 months
Noncommissioned officers (NCOs)
CorporalE-426 months
15 more rows
Nov 23, 2022

How much does it cost to train a Marine? ›

BMT is 13 weeks, so the average E1 payment for basic training is around $4,950 plus meals and housing.

How many college credits is military training worth? ›

Military experience alone could be worth up to 20 college credits! Most colleges grant 4 semester hours in physical fitness for recruit training. In addition, colleges usually give credit for other service schools attended, as long as those courses are longer than two weeks and are not of a classified nature.


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