We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Officer Candidate School?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Officer Candidate School (OCS) is a program that prepares people for service as commissioned officers in the military. There are different Officer Candidate Schools for different branches of the military. Competition for slots tends to be very fierce and the military is highly selective about who it accepts for training. Commissioned officers are the leaders of the military and they are held to a high standard of personal and professional behavior.

There are two paths people can take to enter Officer Candidate School. Currently enlisted members of the military can apply if they are recommended for commissions, and civilians who meet certain standards can contact a military recruiter and apply for commissions. Civilians need to meet the standard requirements for enlistment, including being in good health and of good moral character, and they also usually need college degrees.

Civilians accepted into Officer Candidate School will need to complete basic training first, while enlisted military can enter OCS directly. Both groups are taught together once they enter training. Officer Candidate School familiarizes people with military protocol, the expectations the military has for its officers, and other topics. The program usually lasts less than a year and can be as short as three months. It is intensive, and civilian candidates sometimes have difficulty adjusting because of their limited military experience.

At Officer Candidate School, people are expected to follow clear behavioral standards. There are dress and personal hygiene codes and people must keep their quarters in good working order in addition to being focused, attentive, and respectful in classes. Candidates must also be involved in physical fitness programs that provide them with training and periodic assessments to confirm that they still meet the fitness standards set by the military.

Once an officer has graduated and received a commission, a service requirement usually needs to be met. The military wants its training investment repaid, and may require three years or more of service from people who attend Officer Candidate School. The service requirement will be waived in the event that someone has to separate from the service as a result of disability or a dishonorable discharge.

There are other routes for becoming an officer, for people interested in military careers. People who attend service academies are commissioned upon graduation, as are people who participate in the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC). The military also offers direct commissions to professionals like doctors, religious officiants, and lawyers.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.