3 minute read


Education and Training: Variable according to position held, and can range from a high school diploma to Bachelor of Science degrees.
Average Salary: $35,000
Job Outlook: Good

Job Description

The United States Marine Corps is one of five branches of the United States armed forces. Men and women can join the Marines between the ages of 17 and 29, and must have, or be working towards at least a high school diploma. Those joining the Marines are trained in the art of warfare, but are also able to choose from a huge variety of careers. Anyone enlisting has to complete 12 weeks of basic training which is both physical and mental, after which they must commit to a minimum four-year service. A Marine is taught to be highly resourceful and adaptive, and these are qualities which are useful in civilian life as well is within the military.

A Marine is ready to fight on land and sea, and they are often the first on the scene as they have just six hours to plan and mobilize a mission. It’s a job that requires courage and commitment, and Marines must also be highly ethical and must have high moral standards. As Marines are effectively representing their country they are expected to behave in a responsible manner. Their motto is “always faithful” and it refers to the Marines commitment to their job and their country, and for most it will be a motto for life.

Education and Training Requirements

Although it is possible to enter the Marines with just a high school diploma, higher education is definitely valued and encouraged. Some enter the Marines on the Musician Enlistment Option Program which requires them to take a field test demonstrating musical proficiency. Others will choose to obtain degrees in relevant subjects such as marine engineering and naval architecture, although the range of jobs available in the Marines is so varied that a wide range of specialties is required. Examples include linguists, food and beverage workers, logistics, utilities, motor transport, financial management and legal services.

Getting the Job

High school graduates can enlist, while college students and graduates can apply for officer training. It’s also possible to serve in the reserve corps while still maintaining a civilian career. There are opportunities for those who have previously served in the Marines.

One possible route for promising high school students is as a Marine-Option Midshipman in the NROTC program. This is where students will receive financial funding to complete their bachelor’s degree, and will also need to include courses that cover naval science, management, ethics and the history of warfare. They are required to take summer courses to learn more about the U.S. Navy and the Marine Corps. During the final summer they will spend six weeks in Quantico attending a Marine Officer Candidates School.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

Job prospects and career development are very good within the Marines, and anyone choosing to pursue further education whilst serving will have their tuition fees met by the federal government. Marines have the opportunity to earn bachelor’s degrees, or to go on and do Masters degrees or law degrees. Those showing sufficient aptitude are likely to be promoted through the ranks.

Working Conditions and Environment

Working conditions and environment will sometimes be stressful, as Marines can be sent to unpleasant and dangerous places and may be instructed to do unpleasant tasks. Hours can often be long, and promotions can sometimes be slow.

Salary and Benefits

Salaries within the Marines can vary enormously as a new recruit will make around $17,000 a year while a master gunnery sergeant or sergeant major will make $83,000 a year. These figures don’t take into account living and housing allowances or special duty pay, which can add a considerable amount to the average salary.

Where to Go for More Information

Marine Corps Times
Online newspaper for Marines

Marine Officer
Online resource for those interested in becoming Marine officers

US Marines Official Recruitment Website

US Marines Official Website

US Military.com
Website lists Marine Corps jobs, the duties and responsibilities, qualifications and examples of civilian jobs.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesLaw and Public Service