Marine Corps Critical Skills Operator - MOS 0372
Marines

Marine Corps Critical Skills Operator (MOS 0372)

Marine Corps Critical Skills Operators (MOS 0372) are universal specialists for the military that are capable of carrying out many different tasks.

Critical Skills Operators (CSO), or “Raiders”, receive orders from the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations (MARSOC).

Marine CSOs are fluent in a second language in addition to having specialized skills for a variety of missions.

It allows soldiers to cross cultural barriers and connect with local forces as well as civilians.

Education, Qualifications, and Training

critical skills operator
In order to qualify for MOS 0372 you must reach the Marine rank of Corporal (E-4). Image: Department of Defense

The Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) Critical Skills Operator/Raider (MOS 0372) is relatively new to the Marine Corps.

It was created in 2011 as an addition to the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations (MARSOC).

The initial squad consisted of 850 Raiders needed to outfit nearly 50 operational Marine Special Ops teams.

0372 MOS allows Marines to stay within the Marine Special Operations Command for the remainder of their military career.

Related ArticleMarine Corps Grooming Standards: Hair, Beard, And Nail Regulations

Education

U.S. Marines are expected to have a high school diploma or GED equivalent.

There are only a few waivers granted each year to new recruits within one of the above.

Secondly, you will need to complete the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB).

The ASVAB is used by the Marine Corps to set minimum test scores for qualifying for an Military Occupation Specialty (MOS).

Soldiers looking to move laterally to Critical Skills Operator (MOS 0372) must score General Technical (GT): 105 or higher on the ASVAB.

Qualifications

There are several qualifications required to become an Marine Corps Critical Skills Operator (MOS 0372).

It is impossible to become a Raider until you receive the rank of Corporal (E-4), Sergeant (E-5), or Staff Sergeant (E-6).

Marines E-4 through E-6 must have a minimum of two years in service and no more than 17 years in service.

The lateral move to MOS 0372 is granted by the Command unit of MARSOC.

Soldiers must have a minimum current USMC Personal Fitness Test (PFT) score of 255, regardless of age.

Additionally, prospective Raiders need to have:

  • No derogatory Page 11 entries within the last 12 months.
  • No NJPS within the last 12 months and no more than two NJPs during the current contract.
  • Zero allowance for court martial convictions.
  • No adverse fitness reports within the last 12 months.
  • No incidents with drug use or possession while in service.

Aspiring Marine Corps Critical Skills Operators must also have minimum interim secret security clearance.

The security clearance is granted through a National Agency background check, as well as credit check (NACLC) and law enforcement investigation.

Training

The training for becoming an Marine Corps Critical Skills Operator (MOS 0372) is very demanding and time consuming.

In fact, it takes a minimum four and a half years to become a Marine Corps Raider CSO.

A large portion of that time is spent achieving the rank of at least Lance Corporal (E-3) in order to begin getting considered for MOS 0372.

Regardless of your previous MOS you are required to complete the MARSOC Assessment & Selection (A&S).

Furthermore, aspiring Raiders must also complete the Individual Training Course (ITC) related to MOS 0372.

Marine Corps Critical Skills Operators are trained thoroughly as a Subject Matter Expert.

The skills include learning advanced communications, engineering, intelligence, special weapons, and language skills.

Raiders are “jack of all trades” that have exceptional language skills in a foreign study.

What does an Marine Corps Critical Skills Operator Do?

marine raider cso
Raiders (MOS 0372) help stabilize and lead places of foreign operations because of their understanding of other cultures. Image: Pixabay

Critical Skills Operators (CSOs) demonstrate “high levels of maturity, judgement, experience, and the ability to rapidly apply critical thought to operations”, according to the Marine Corps.

Raiders are adept at receiving the intent of an operation through a commander and effectively able to apply these orders. 

Marine Corps Critical Skills Operators face plenty of adversity in the field and must remain cool under intense pressure.

The motto goes “make the right decision, at the right place, and at the right time”.

Raiders serve as cross-cultural diplomats with the responsibility of operating as global scouts.

An CSO can exert influence in areas and situations where proper authority is missing, especially with local forces or civilians.

For this reason Critical Skills Operators are advanced in a secondary or even third language.

They are familiar with local culture and traditions, in order to respect those traditions while also implementing suitable order.

Related Article: Marine Corps Age Limits

Diverse Role of Critical Skills Operators (CSO)

An Marine Corps Critical Skills Operator (MOS 0372) works well within a team yet is also independent enough to function as an individual when the situation calls for it.

Marine Raiders (CSO) are capable of serving the entire spectrum of Special Operations. 

Raiders are assigned duties as part of a Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force (CJSOTF) or other joint task organized configurations.

Raiders are trained to execute missions for operations including:

  • Counter Terrorism (CT)
  • Direct Action (DA)
  • Foreign Internal Defense (FID)
  • Information Operations (IO)
  • Special Reconnaissance (SR)
  • Unconventional Warfare (UW)

MARSOC Marines have the ability to provide rapid deployment and integration into a joint special operations or conventional forces situation.

Soldiers assist Marine Special Operations Teams (MSOT), Companies (MSOC), and Battalions (MSOB).

What does an Marine Corps Critical Skills Operator make?

marsoc operators
The Marine Corps lateral move to MOS 0372 will start you at the salary of at least E-3 or E-4. Image: Explore Photo

An Marine Corps Critical Skills Operator (MOS 0372) is not paid any differently than another MOS despite their advanced and multi-dimensional skills.

All soldiers in the Marine Corps receive a monthly salary based on military rank and years of service.

However, since you need to become a Corporal to at least get considered for a lateral transfer to MOS 0372, expect your pay to begin at the E-3 or E-4 level.

InsigniaPay GradeRankAbbreviation2019 Pay (Monthly)
E-1PrivatePvt$1,681
E-2Private First ClassPFC$1,884
E-3Lance CorporalLCpl$1,981
E-4CorporalCpl$2,195
E-5SergeantSgt$2,394
E-6Staff SergeantSSgt$2,613
E-7Gunnery SergeantGySgt$3,021
E-8Master SergeantMSgt$4,345
E-8First Sergeant1stSgt$4,345
E-9Master Gunnery SergeantMGySgt$5,308
E-9Sergeant MajorSgtMaj$5,308
E-9Sergeant Major Of The Marine CorpsSgtMaj$5,308

Benefits

The Marine Corps provides an entire benefits package to its soldiers:

  • Medical Insurance
  • Retirement
  • Affordable Life Insurance
  • Vacation Time
  • Special Pay
  • Housing: Allowances for living expenses, utilities, and maintenance.
  • Food: Allowance for the on-base dining hall and access to tax-free department and grocery stores.
  • Education: Marines can earn full-tuition, merit-based scholarships, allowances for books and fees, plus annual stipend for living expenses.

Job Reviews

There are a couple of job reviews specific to working as an Marine Corps Critical Skills Operator (MOS 0372) on Indeed.com:

One of the unique challenges of serving the U.S. Armed Forces is an expectation to be on the job 24/7:

However, it is difficult to find a more fulfilling and personally rewarding career as working for the Marine Corps:

A local Marine Corps recruiter can provide more information about preparing for the role of becoming a Critical Skills Operator (MOS 0372).

Related Article:  Marine Corps Height And Weight Standards

Civilian Job Opportunities

Marine Corps Critical Skills Operators (MOS 0372) are highly desirable soldiers both in the military as well as in the civilian world.

First, Critical Skills Operators (CSOs) have terrific leadership skills making them ideal candidates for management positions.

Though much of the work you perform as a Raider is specific to the U.S. Marines your expert communication skills and fluency in another language is beneficial to many careers.

Former MOS 0372 can find work as a translator or interpreter either for a government agency, or private company.

Teaching is another opportunity as you could provide guidance to students learning another language.

Your expert knowledge in foreign culture could provide you placement in an exotic location, which is thrilling to some Marines.

Summary

Marine Corps Critical Skills Operators (MOS 0372) are extremely important to daily operations within the U.S. Armed Forces.

Critical Skills Operators, or Raiders, are terrific leaders and versatile soldiers that can assist the Marine Corps in a number of ways.

Marine CSOs are fluent in another language and foreign cultures, representatives of the Marine Corps that deal with local forces and civilians.

Resources:

  1. https://www.cool.navy.mil/usmc/enlisted/0372.htm
  2. https://www.indeed.com/cmp/U.S.-Marine-Corps/reviews?fjobtitle=Critical+Skills+Operator
Rob V.
Rob V.
Rob V. is the founder of OperationMilitaryKids.org. While he never actually served in the US Military, he has a passion for writing about military related topics. Born and raised in Woodbridge, NJ, he graduated from the New Jersey Institute Of Technology with an MBA in eCommerce. His hobbies include beach volleyball, target shooting, and lifting. Rob is also a commercially rated pilot with over 1,500 hours of flight time.

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