Where Do Marines Go After Boot Camp? | The Path to Becoming a Marine (In-Depth) - For The Corps (2023)

Joining the United States Marine Corps is scary enough as it is. The fear of the unknown, the uncertainty, the doubt, the negative self-talk, and everything else that comes with joining the Marines can be daunting.

Basic Training (also known as Marine Boot Camp) is the first step towards earning the title of United States Marine, but where do Marines go after Boot Camp Graduation?

In this article, we will answer the questions, where do Marines go after Boot Camp?

Marine Corps Basic Training At a Glance

It is no secret that Marine Corps Boot Camp is extremely challenging. Recruits will be tested both physically and mentally completing boot camp.

It is considered to be the toughest basic training program of any of the other military services.

Recruits will attend 13 weeks of intense training at the following locations.

Marine Boot Camp Locations

All recruits will attend Marine Corps Recruit Training (MCRD) at one of two locations: Recruit Training Depot at Parris Island, S.C., and Recruit Training Depot at San Diego, CA.

Which Marine Boot Camp location recruits will go will depend on where they enlist.

Those that enlist west of the Mississippi will likely attend boot camp in San Diego.

Those that live east of the Mississippi will most likely attend boot camp at Parris Island.

Whichever location you attend, you will be there for 13 grueling weeks of pain and suffering.

You will be stripped of everything you own and will learn to become a basically trained Marine.

Marine Boot Camp is not easy, but I can assure you all that with the right mindset you can and will graduate and earn the title of United States Marine.

Where Do Marines Live After Boot Camp?

The simple answer to this question is all over. After completing boot camp, Marines move on to their next phase of training, which varies depending on their Military Occupational Specialty (MOS).

During this time, they will be assigned to a specific location for further training. Here are the different options for where Marines can live after boot camp.

10-Day Leave

First things first, you get to go home! That’s right, after Basic Training, newly graduated Marines are granted 10 Days of boot leave. While on leave, newly graduated Marines are encouraged to head back home with their families to rest and recover.

As a new Marine, you should take this time to relax, spend time with family, and enjoy your time off! You should also get all of your ducks in a row while on leave. Any bills, legal stuff, cars, storage, etc should be taken care of. New Marines are busy and you will not have much time to complete this stuff.

Lastly, it would behoove you to stay out of trouble. Marines hold themselves to the highest standards. You are no longer representing yourself, but the Marine Corps as a whole. As a Marine, you must live by your Core Values of Honor, Courage, & Commitment.

Marine Parents, while you may be understandably proud of your new Marine, it is important to encourage them to take this time to rest and relax. The training has only begun!

School of Infantry

After the 10 Days of Boot Leave, you will ship off to the School Of Infantry (SOI). The Marine Corps School Of Infantry has two locations: SOI East and SOI West. Whichever MOS you have chosen will determine which location you will head to next!

All Non-Infantry MOSs will attend Marine Combat Training Battalion (MCT), and all Infantry MOSs will attend Infantry Training Battalion (ITB).

SOI West

SOI West is located at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, CA. Marines that graduated from Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) San Diego, will attend the School of Infantry West for either Infantry Training Batallion (ITB) or Marine Combat Training Battalion (MCT).

SOI East

SOI East is located at Marine Corps Base Camp Geiger, N.C. Marines that graduated from Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) Parris Island, will attend the School of Infantry East for either Infantry Training Battalion (ITB) or Marine Combat Training (MCT).

Infantry Training Battalion (ITB)

All Infantry Marines will with 03 Occupational Career Field MOS will attend Infantry Training Battalion (ITB). Here you will attend a 59 day course with a mission that is designed to:

“train, mentor, and evaluate Marines in the Infantry MOS with specific entry-level tasks under the leadership of Combat Instructors. Marines are instructed in marksmanship, patrolling, grenade usage, identifying and countering improvised explosive devices, and land navigation, among other various infantry skills. In doing so, the Infantry Training Battalion provides the Corps with Marines who are fully prepared for combat service.”


Length of Time Spent at ITB

ITB is an intensive course that lasts approximately 59 days. During this time, the Marines will undergo rigorous training to prepare them for their roles as Infantrymen.

What Marines Do at ITB

ITB is designed to teach a Marine the skills and knowledge they need to become effective Infantrymen. During the training, the Marines will be taught how to conduct patrols, engage in small-unit tactics, and operate in various environments, including urban and rural areas.

The Marines will also receive training in weapons handling, marksmanship, and close-quarters combat.

The training is physically and mentally demanding, and this is where a Marine is pushed to their limits to ensure that they are ready for combat.

Living Conditions/Housing While at ITB

During their time at ITB, the Marines will live in barracks-style housing. The living conditions are basic but adequate, with each Marine having their own bunk and storage space. The barracks are well-maintained and cleaned regularly to ensure that the Marines have a safe and hygienic living environment.

The Marines will be expected to maintain high standards of personal hygiene and cleanliness while at ITB. They will also be required to follow a strict code of conduct and adhere to a set of rules and regulations governing their behavior while on base.

Marine Combat Training Battalion (MCT)

All other Marines will attend Marine Combat Training (MCT).

“Marine Combat Training Battalion (MCT) is a 29-day course. The mission is to train and conduct standards-based combat skills training of all non-infantry Marines in order to ensure that every Marine is a fighting Marine, regardless of their Military Occupational Specialty (MOS). Training includes marksmanship, combat formations, and patrolling, as well as other combat related skills.”


Length of Time Spent at MCT

MCT typically lasts for 29 days and is conducted immediately after SOI training.

What Marines Do There

MCT training is designed to teach Marines of the non-03 field, the necessary combat skills and knowledge that will enable them to fight and survive in a combat environment.

During MCT, Marines undergo intense physical training, learn to use various weapons and equipment, and receive instruction on tactics, land navigation, and other essential combat skills.

Marines also learn to work together as a cohesive unit, relying on their fellow Marines to complete assigned missions successfully. MCT training is critical for non-infantry Marines as it prepares them to serve as part of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF).

Living Conditions/Housing While There

Marines attending MCT will live in barracks-style housing and will be provided with all necessary equipment and gear. The living conditions are similar to those experienced during SOI training.

During the training, Marines will spend most of their time in the field, practicing different combat scenarios and tactics. The training is rigorous and challenging, and Marines must be physically and mentally prepared to endure it.

Overall, MCT is a critical training program that provides non-infantry Marines with the necessary combat skills and knowledge required to serve as part of the Marine Corps.

You’ve Complete ITB and/or MCT, Now What?

At this point, a Marines MOS or Military Occupational Specialty will dictate where they’ll head next. Infantry Training Battalion is essentially an MOS school for infantry Marines, whereas, Marine Combat Training (MCT) is only basic combat training for Non-Infantry Marines. These Non-Infantry Marines will now head off to their respective MOS Schools.

Infantry Marines

All infantry Marines who have completed their 59-day course at ITB are now ready to head off to their respective Units, where they will most likely be for the rest of their enlistment.

There is no more schooling for you to attend as you are now Basically Trained Infantry Marines. You will, however, attend many other different training schools once you hit the Fleet Marine Force (the actionable part of the Marine Corps where Marines go after the successful completion of basic training and their respective MOS Schools) if you so choose. But, for now, you will settle into your new unit where you will have to earn not only the respect of your peers and superiors but your place in your new home.

Non-Infantry Marines

After completing the 29-day Marine Combat Training school, all Non-Infantry MOSs will head off to their respective MOS Schools. These schools will provide support and train new Marines to be proficient and trained in their new MOS job fields before they reach their parent commands.

Length of MOS Schools

The length of MOS schools varies depending on the MOS. Some MOS schools can last just a few weeks, while others can last up to a year. The length of the school also depends on the complexity of the job and the level of training required. For example, MOS schools for intelligence Marines are typically shorter than those for aviation Marines.

Types of MOS Schools

The Marine Corps offers a wide variety of MOS schools, including combat support, combat service support, and aviation support. Some of the most popular MOS schools are:

Infantry MOS School

The Infantry MOS school is located at Camp Geiger, NC, and Camp Pendleton, CA. The course lasts for 59 days and covers topics like marksmanship, patrolling, and tactics. This MOS school is for Marines who will be in direct combat.

Combat Engineer MOS School

The Combat Engineer MOS school is located at Camp Lejeune, NC, and Camp Pendleton, CA. The course lasts for 84 days and covers topics like demolitions, construction, and mine warfare. This MOS school is for Marines who will be involved in construction and demolition tasks.

Communications MOS School

The Communications MOS school is located at 29 Palms, CA. The course lasts for 56 days and covers topics like electronics, radio communication, and computer networking. This MOS school is for Marines who will be working in communications and information technology.

Aviation MOS School

The Aviation MOS school is located in Pensacola, FL. The course length varies depending on the MOS, but it typically lasts between six and twelve months. The school covers topics like aviation mechanics, air traffic control, and helicopter or fixed-wing flight. This MOS school is for Marines who will be working in aviation-related fields.

The Fleet

Finally, you have graduated basic training and earned the title of United States Marine, completed either ITB or MCT and are now off to your parent command/Unit.

This is known as entering the Fleet Marine Force.

The first 6 months to a year in the Marine Corps is nerve-wracking. There are endless amounts of training, bouncing from one unfamiliar place to another, information overload, meeting new people, and consistently being placed in uncomfortable situations.

The path to becoming a Marine is not easy.

Although hitting the fleet is exciting, now it is on you to prove yourself as a Marine. You will be tried and tested and will be pushed to your limits.

Life as a new “Boot” Marine is a challenging time, but also a right of passage!

In your new unit, you will need to quickly adapt, learn your job/MOS, and meet your peers and superiors.

Life as a Marine has only begun!

Take this time to embrace the suck, challenge yourself, and really focus on growing not only as a Marine but as an individual.

So, I encourage all of you reading this to get out of your comfort zone! Live life a little and give uncertainty a chance! If there is one piece of advice I can give you young folks, it’s that!

I hope this post answered some questions, cleared the air, and dispelled some myths for you all and I encourage you all to use helpful information on this site and my YouTube Channel as a resource.

Don’t ever hesitate to reach out with any questions because I am always willing to help in any way that I can!

Semper Fi,

For The Corps

Marine Enlistment Process (2023)
Marine Boot Camp Week-By-Week Guide (2023)
Ranks in The Marines


Where Do Marines Go After Boot Camp? | The Path to Becoming a Marine (In-Depth) - For The Corps? ›

After graduation from recruit training, Marines attend the School of Infantry (SOI).

Where do you go after basic training in the Marines? ›

School of Infantry (SOI)

All graduates of Marine Corps recruit training attend the School of Infantry. At SOI, they will train with one of two training battalions, either MCT or ITB.

What is the next step after boot camp? ›

Following your Army basic combat training, you'll take one of two paths, advanced individual training or Officer Candidate School to advance in your military career.

Are you officially a Marine after boot camp? ›

Marine Corps Boot Camp consists of four main phases. Recruit receiving, 1st phase, 2nd phase, and 3rd phase. Every single enlisted Marine that serves on active duty has to go through this rigorous training, and only those who make it through earn the title United States Marine.

Do you get to go home after basic training? ›

Soldiers are not given the opportunity to go home after basic training as most AIT school check-ins are required the day after basic training graduation. AIT schools Phase IV is usually three weeks long. It focuses on training soldiers in the values of the Army, and also starts a focus on their specific MOS skills.

Do you get to choose where you are stationed in the Marines? ›

Duty stations are typically bases or other installations where service members both live and perform their work. Though service members can sometimes choose from several preferred duty stations, the needs of the Military are often the deciding factor.

What is the hardest branch to get into in the military? ›

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. The hardest military branch for non-males because of exclusivity and male dominance is the Marine Corps.

What is the best marine base to be stationed at? ›

1. MCAS Miramar. Situated in Southern California on the north side of San Diego and 40 minutes south of Camp Pendleton, MCAS Miramar is a beloved duty station. It's become a favorite among families for its versatility.

What percentage of recruits finish Marine boot camp? ›

While there are many books about Marine Corps Recruit Training, nobody tells you the harsh reality — that only 40% of recruits make it through on their first attempt. This is a big deal because the longer you take to complete recruit training, the lower your chance of success.

What is the hardest phase of boot camp? ›

The Crucible is the culminating event of the training cycle. It is 54 hours of grueling physical and mental endurance. In just over two days, recruits will travel over 50 miles on foot and endure some of the most difficult conditions they have ever faced, whether heat, cold, or rain.

Where do you live after basic training? ›

Barracks are living spaces in a building that generally house junior, non-married enlisted Soldiers. This is where you'll live after completing Basic Training. Features include: Private bedrooms, a common area, shared bathroom, and kitchen.

How much will I get paid after boot camp? ›

What are Top 10 Highest Paying Cities for Boot Camp Jobs
CityAnnual SalaryHourly Wage
San Francisco, CA$66,192$31.82
Washington, DC$66,160$31.81
Fremont, CA$64,682$31.10
Marysville, WA$64,323$30.92
6 more rows

How long do Marines come home for after boot camp? ›

This is What Happens After Marine Boot Camp. All graduating Marines from Marines Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island and San Diego can take … All graduating Marines from Marines Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island and San Diego can take a 10 day leave before checking into their next school.

What time do Marines wake up? ›

Marines are not only provided with time to meet these physical standards, but are also expected to meet these standards. Typically, during the week, Marines will wake up between 4:00 and 6:00 A.M. and report to either their squad, unit, platoon, or, occasionally, their battalion, for morning Physical Training (PT).

What do Marine recruits say when they call home? ›

I have arrived safely at Parris Island. Please do not send any food or bulky items. I will contact you in 7 to 10 days via postcard with my new mailing address.

What is the hardest military 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. The hardest military branch for non-males because of exclusivity and male dominance is the Marine Corps.

How long do you have to serve 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 do you do in the military after basic training? ›

After attending boot camp, they are typically stationed at a base either domestically or overseas for terms that typically last two to six years. During this time, they may also explore advanced training opportunities to further build hands-on and technical skills.


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