Prior to 1997, only male Marines were trained at SOI schools; females went directly to their MOS schools. In 1997, the school at Camp Geiger expanded its program to include all new female enlistees. SOI (West) continues to train only males, similar to the west coast recruit depot at MCRD San Diego.
At the School of Infantry, Marines with the Infantry Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) are trained at the Infantry Training Battalion (ITB), while all non-infantry Marines are trained in basic infantry/combat skills at the Marine Combat Training Battalion (MCT Bn). SOI marks a transition in the professional training of entry-level students from basically trained Marines to combat ready Marines.
Infantry Training Battalion is a 52-day training course that develops new Marines, directly out of boot camp, into infantrymen "who can fight, survive, and win in a combat situation". (In September 2007, it was announced that ITB training would be increased to 59 days. ) Marines receive instruction in Combat Marksmanship, Grenades, Improvised Explosive Devices, Convoy Operations, Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT), Combat Formations, Land Navigation and Patrolling. In addition, Marines receive instruction specific to their infantry Military Occupational Specialty (MOS). The training cycle includes physical conditioning via Physical Training (PT), conditioning hikes, and sustainment training in the Marine Corps Martial Arts. Leadership Traits and the application of the Marine Corps Core Values in every aspect of the Marine's life are also emphasized.
Marine Combat Training is a 22-day course in which entry level Marines are taught the common skills needed in combat. (In September 2007, it was announced that MCT would increase to 29-days.) Marines who have MOS specialties other than Infantry learn the basics of Combat Marksmanship, Grenades, the M203 Grenade Launcher, AT-4 Rocket Launcher, M240G Medium Machine Gun, Improvised Explosive Devices, Defending a Position, Convoy Operations, Combat Formations, Fireteam Assaults, Patrolling, Military Operations on Urban Terrain (MOUT), Communicate with a PRC-119 (radio), Reporting Intel, and Land Navigation. Training also includes combat conditioning by running the Marine Corps Obstacle Course, conducting hikes, runs and Marine Corps Martial Arts training. Upon completion of Marine Combat Training, the Marine is to have gained the knowledge and ability to operate in a combat environment as a basic rifleman; and to perform his/her primary duties under fire.