Officer Candidate School

Step into leadership.

Learn to lead at Officer Candidate School (OCS). Put your college degree to use, gain leadership skills, and prepare for a career as an Army Officer.

A male Officer Candidate is pinned by his father during an Officer Candidate School graduation ceremony.














OCS is one of four paths to become a commissioned Officer in the Army. It offers intense military tactical training and prepares you for a career in fields like engineering, finance, mechanics, communications, and more. You’ll graduate as a commissioned Officer who’s ready to lead a team in any situation.

An Officer Candidate examines a topographical line map during a land navigation event

Training for success

You’ll go through 12 weeks of training in OCS to ensure you’re prepared to successfully lead others. Training consists of two phases of advanced classroom instruction and on-the-ground training that you’ll complete with a small squad.

Weeks 01 – 06

Learn the basics of Officership.

In Phase 01, you’ll go through physical and mental challenges to test your ability to excel in basic leadership skills required of a commissioned Officer. You’ll also be expected to pass the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), Leadership Reaction Course, and Combat Water Survival Test.

Weeks 07 – 12

Apply your skills in the field.

In Phase 02, you’ll put the skills you learned in the first phase to the test. You’ll be evaluated on your ability to lead a team during an intense 18-day mission in the field. This phase also includes Senior Leader Seminars and the Transitioning to Becoming Commissioned Officers course.

Requirements to Join OCS

OCS is an option for non-Soldiers, as well as active-duty enlisted, Army Reserve, and Army National Guard Soldiers who meet the requirements. To apply, you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen 

  • Be between 19 and 32 years old

  • Be eligible for a secret security clearance

  • Have a bachelor’s degree by the time you commission as an Officer

  • Have no more than six years of active service for current military members 


In addition to OCS, Army National Guard Soldiers have two alternative options to pursue Officership. They can attend State Officer Candidate School which takes place on the weekends for 16-18 months, or the National Guard Bureau Accelerated Officer Candidate School, an eight-week course.

A group of officer candidates outdoors saluting in formation


Find out more about becoming a Soldier and if a career in the Army is right for you.

Common questions about Officer Candidate School.

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

Yes. If you’re not already a Soldier, you must complete the 10-week Army Basic Combat Training or equivalent military basic skills course before enrolling in OCS. 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 first of the commissioned ranks.

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

While non-military 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.

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