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.

Graduates of OCS leave the school as commissioned officers expected to be ready to lead in any situation, no matter the environment, and no matter the stakes.


Officer Candidates undergo 12 weeks of intense training that challenge them mentally and physically to ensure they are prepared to successfully lead others. Training includes two phases of advanced classroom instruction and on-the-ground training completed 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. Candidates are expected to pass the Army fitness test, Leadership Reaction Course, and Combat Water Survival Test.

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

Candidates apply the skills learned in Phase 1 to the test in the field. In Phase 2, students are evaluated on their ability to lead a team during an intense 18-day mission. This phase also includes Senior Leader Seminars and the transition to becoming Commissioned Officers.


Candidates attend a branch fair early on in training to learn more about the many branches of which the United States Army is composed. The information gained during the fair is vital in helping the Candidates to decided how to the rank the branches by order of their preference. This branch preference list is used in conjunction with a Candidate's class rank on the Order of Merit List (OML) to determine which branch they will ultimately be assigned. Toward the conclusion of OCS, Candidates discover the branch to which they are assigned during a branching ceremony. Candidates are expected to maintain military bearing at all times throughout the ceremony whether they are assigned a branch high or low on their preferences list. Cyber, Aviation, and Infantry, however, have stricter standards for admittance and must be applied to via submission of a packet detailing how the Candidate is uniquely qualified to be a Commissioned Officer in those branches.