2nd Lt. graduation ceremony 2nd Lt. graduation ceremony

Officer Candidate School

Learn to lead in any situation at OCS. Put your college degree to use, learn important leadership skills, and prepare for a career as an Army Officer.

Officers standing in a group Officers standing in a group

Pursue the Path of Officer Candidate School

OCS is one of four paths to become a commissioned Officer in the Army. Applying is open to civilians, active-duty enlisted, Army Reserve, and National Guard Soldiers with at least a bachelor’s degree.

OCS offers the intense military tactical training you need to become an Officer, while also preparing you for careers in fields like engineering, finance, mechanics, communications, and more.

When you graduate OCS as a commissioned Officer, expect to be ready to lead in any situation, no matter the environment, and no matter the stakes.

Training Designed to Help You Excel

You’ll undergo training in OCS for 12 weeks to ensure you’re prepared to successfully lead others. Training will include two phases of advanced classroom instruction and on-the-ground training that you’ll complete as part of a small squad.

Phase 1: Learn the Basics of Officership (Weeks 1-6)

Physical and mental challenges will test your determination to excel in the basic leadership skills required of a commissioned Officer. You’ll be expected to pass the Army fitness test, Leadership Reaction Course, and Combat Water Survival Test.

Phase 2: Apply Your Skills in the Field (Weeks 7-12)

Put the skills you learned in Phase 1 to the test in the field. In Phase 2, you’ll be evaluated on your ability to lead a team during an intense 18-day mission. This phase also includes Senior Leader Seminars and the Transitioning to Becoming Commissioned Officers course.

A woman in an Army uniform salutes a man in an Army uniform. A woman in an Army uniform salutes a man in an Army uniform.

Requirements to Join OCS

You must be a U.S. citizen and have your bachelor’s degree by the time you are commissioned as an Officer. The general age requirement is between 19 and 32. You also have to be eligible for a secret security clearance. If you’re current military, you can’t have more than six years of active service before joining OCS.

To learn more about OCS requirements and how to apply, civilians can talk to a recruiter, while active-duty enlisted, Army Reserve, and National Guard Soldiers can talk to their commanding Officer.

Soldiers going through
physical training Soldiers going through
physical training

National Guard Offers Other Paths to Officership

Army National Guard Soldiers can take the traditional route to OCS as described above, but they also have the opportunity to explore two different paths. One is by attending State Officer Candidate School that takes place on the weekends for 16-18 months, or the National Guard Bureau Accelerated Officer Candidate School, an eight-week course.

Common Questions About Officer Candidate School

Do I need to complete Basic Training if I attend OCS?

Yes. Before enrolling in OCS, civilians must complete the 10-week Army Basic Combat Training or equivalent military basic skills course. Enlisted and Army Reserve Soldiers enrolling in OCS would have already completed the course.

What is my rank when I graduate from OCS?

At graduation, you will be given a formal commission as a U.S. Army Officer and assigned to the rank of second lieutenant, the lowest of the commissioned ranks.

How can I make sure I’m a competitive applicant for OCS?

While civilian college graduates and current military candidates do not compete with each other for available OCS slots, the more prepared you are for the physically rigorous demands of OCS, the better. About 65% of OCS applicants are accepted.

Will I get to pick any job I want after OCS?

The better you score at OCS, the better your chances are to get the job you want. After you rank your top job choices based on what the Army has available, you’ll be matched with one of your preferred jobs based on an assessment of how your OCS scores and qualifications match the needs of the role.

Can I apply for OCS as a college senior?

Yes. If you’re a college senior, you can apply early and be selected for training at OCS upon completion of your degree.

Where does Army OCS take place?

Army Officer Training School is held at Fort Benning, Georgia.