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So, You Want to Be an Officer?

Part II -- Army OCS


Army Officer Candidate School (OCS) is a 14-week program which graduates commissioned officers in the United States Army.

Army OCS was established in 1941 to provide Infantry officers for World War II. Through all of the years OCS has remained an important commissioning source for the Army. Officer Candidate School (OCS) is located at Fort Benning, GA and is the Army's only active duty Officer Candidate School, commissioning over 800 lieutenants annually. An additional 650 National Guard candidates train there each summer.

Basically, there are three categories of OCS candidates: College Graduates (civilians), current military (enlisted) and direct commission (doctors, lawyers, chaplains, etc.) In this feature, we will concentrate on college graduates, and current military (enlisted) procedures. All OCS graduates must serve a minimum of three years on active duty following graduation from OCS.

The OCS selection process is very selective. Only about 60 percent of all those who apply are accepted for attendance at OCS (Note: Enlisted [current military]selection rates are relatively higher. About 70 percent of enlisted applicants make it through the screening process). It should be noted that College Graduate (Civilians) and Current Military (enlisted) do not compete with each other for available OCS slots. College Graduate (civilian) applicants are selected by a selection board convened by the Army Recruiting Command, and Current Military (enlisted) are selected by a board convened by the Army Personnel Command (PERSCOM). Once selected, the graduation rate for OCS is over 90 percent.

College Graduates (Civilian Applicants)


  • At least 19 and no older than 29 at time of enlistment (applicants ages 30-34 may request a waiver)
  • United States citizen
  • At least a 4-year college degree prior to entering the Army
  • Earn a minimum 110 GT score on the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB)
  • Meet the minimum height and weight standard ( male& female)
  • Pass a complete physical at a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS)
  • Able to obtain a security clearance
  • No more than 10 years’ active Federal Service at time of commission
  • Be able to meet the normal requirements of enlistment (Note: Criminal History requirements for commission are much more strict than the requirements listed in the "requirements of enlistment" article. In general, an applicant for commission must have no convictions by civil or military courts. (This does not apply to minor traffic violations with a fine or forfeiture of $250.00 or less). An applicant must not have been judged to be a juvenile offender. This applies even if the court sentence, or any part of it, was suspended or withheld, or such conviction was in any way removed from court records by satisfactory completion of a period of probation. This also applies to adverse juvenile adjudication. (Note: Some convictions can be waived).

Application Process

The application process begins by talking to an Army Recruiter. In the Army, OCS candidates must enlist for the purpose of attending Army Basic Training. Individuals who enlist in the Army for the purpose of attending OCS, enlist under enlistment program 9D of Army Regulation 601-210. Below is a brief description of the process:

The application process begins by completing a DA Form 61, Application for Appointment (Note: This, and other official forms in this article are PDF forms. In order to view them, you will need to download and install a PDF file viewer, such as the free Acrobat Viewer, available at http://www.adobe.com). You will also complete an SF Form 86 (Security Questionnaire), and DD Form 1966 (Record of Processing for the Armed Forces).

The Recruiter will schedule you for a medical examination, and to take the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). There is no longer any special "officer test" for Army OCS. Candidates complete the ASVAB, and must score a minimum of 110 in the "GT" area to qualify. You must meet the medical standards of Army Regulation 40-501, chapter 2, and the vision requirements listed in 40-501 for Combat Arms, or Combat Support.

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