This was originally published in The Belle Banner, Belle Missouri April 25th 2018. If you would like to see the current articles as they are published, you may subscribe to The Belle Banner by calling 573-859-3328, or email, or mail to The Belle Banner, PO Box 711, Belle, MO 65013. Subscription rates are; Maries, Osage, and Gasconade County = $23.55 per year, elsewhere in Missouri = $26.77, outside Missouri = $27.00, and foreign countries = $40.00.
This is more about the Army Medical Field. Most of these jobs are in hospitals or clinics and transfer directly to a civilian hospital job. Many of these MOS’s (Military Occupational Specialties) (jobs) receive national certification in their training, a few have to test and be certified after training, but can be accomplished prior to leaving the service. Having high school biology, physiology, or anatomy classes will help. Those interested in these jobs should have no aversion to blood, and should enjoy helping sick or injured people.
Orthopedic Specialist, Army MOS 68B, works in orthopedic clinics. They assist orthopedic doctors with patients, such as removing stitches, sutures or staples. They set up sterile and non-sterile procedures, they help with surgery pre-op, and they assist in orthopedic surgery. Larger civilian hospitals have similar positions. The ASVAB score requirements are; 101 in ST (Skilled Technical), which consists of VE, verbal expression which is word knowledge and paragraph comprehension, GS, general science, MC mechanical comprehension, and MK, mathematics knowledge, plus a 107 GT (General Technical) score, which also consists of the VE tests plus AR, arithmetic reasoning. After basic training, the Advanced Individual Training (AIT) for 68B is 14 weeks at Fort Sam Houston, Texas (San Antonio).
Operating Room Specialist, Army MOS 68D. For this job a person should have absolutely no aversion to blood, because they work in the operating room. They don’t do surgery, but they hand the instruments to the surgeon. The 68D’s help prepare patients for surgery, such as shaving. They operate the Centralized Material Service (CMS), which is preparing and maintaining sterile medical supplies and equipment. The 68D receives, cleans, decontaminates, and sterilizes, stores and issues supplies and equipment used during surgery. They also clean and sterilize the operating room. In civilian hospitals this is an OR tech. The ASVAB requirement is a score 91 in Skilled Technical (ST), which consists of VE (Verbal Expression), word knowledge and paragraph comprehension, GS (General Science), MC (Mechanical Comprehension), and MK (Mathematics Knowledge). After basic training, Advanced Individual Training (AIT) for MOS 68D is 19 weeks, nine weeks at Fort Sam Houston, then ten weeks residency at a major army hospital. That could be anywhere, wherever there is a position available.
Dental Specialist, Army MOS 68E works in dental clinics. A few may work in dental laboratories. In the Army these people do what the dentist’s assistants do in your local dentist’s office. Some of the things they study in their training is preventive dentistry, dental office procedures, radiology (X-ray) techniques, and dental hygiene procedures. They prepare patients such as taking vital signs, blood pressure and pulse. They assist the dentist during exams, they prepare impression material, and they do X-rays. Under the supervision of a dentist, they perform oral hygiene procedures, plus they give oral hygiene instruction to patients. They may also receive and seat patients, schedule appointments and maintain dental records. They may also maintain dental supplies and clean the dental clinic. In combat units they may also set up dental services in the field. The ASVAB requirement for 68E is also a score of 91 in ST (Skilled Technical). The AIT is eight weeks at Fort Sam Houston.
Physical Therapy Specialist, Army MOS 68F. To work as a physical therapy assistant in the civilian world a person must pass the CAPTE (Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education) Physical Therapy Assistant Exam and be licensed. To sit for the exam a person must have at least an Associate Degree in Physical Therapy from a school with an accredited Physical Therapy Program. That takes two years and costs what colleges cost. Physical Therapy Assistants salaries run from $43,000 to $63,000, average about $53,000 a year. A Physical Therapist is a doctor who designs programs for patients. The assistant does the work and helps the patient with exercises. It’s the same in the Army. The doctor, the Physical Therapist will meet the patient and after evaluating the patient’s situation will set up a program and go over it with the patient and the 68F. The 68F conducts the program with the patient. The ASVAB requirements are 101 in ST and 107 GT. The AIT is a total of 28 weeks. Eighteen weeks at Fort Sam Houston and 10 weeks residency at an Army Hospital. A veteran civilian physical therapy assistant said that the army training and experience is second to none. He said that having been a PT specialist in the Army he was far ahead of his peers in knowledge and experience.
Patient Administration Specialist, Army MOS 68G. These are the administrative clerks in army hospitals and clinics. They are also in medical units in the field. They maintain medical records and the overall administration for the hospital or clinic. The ASVAB requirement is 90 in CL (Clerical), which consists of the VE, AR, and MK tests. The AIT is seven weeks at Fort Sam Houston.
Optical Laboratory Specialist, Army MOS 68H. These are the lab techs who make glasses. They work exclusively in optical labs in hospitals, clinics, and field units. The ASVAB requirement is 98 in GM (General Maintenance), which is comprised of the following tests; GS, General Science, AS, Automotive and Shop Information, MK, Mathematics Knowledge, and EI, Electronics Information. The AIT is 24 weeks at the Yorktown Naval Weapons Station, Virginia.
Medical Logistics Specialist, Army MOS 68J. These are the supply people for the medical community. They request, receive, store, inventory, and issue all supplies and equipment for hospitals, clinics, and combat medical units. The ASVAB requirement is also 90 in CL, and the AIT is six weeks at Fort Sam Houston.
Medical Laboratory Specialist, Army MOS 68K. This is a biggy if you’re wanting to learn a skill for civilian employment. These are the lab techs. The AIT is a year-long. Like their civilian counterparts, these soldiers perform a range of lab procedures, including blood banking, clinical laboratory procedures in hematology, clinical chemistry, serology, bacteriology, and urinalysis. They collect patient blood specimens, and pack, inspect and distribute blood and blood products (such as donated plasma), and maintain laboratory equipment. This is a job for someone interested in medical procedures who enjoys examining bacteria and parasites under a microscope. The ASVAB requirement is 106 in ST Skilled Technical, and a person must have completed high school chemistry and algebra. The AIT is in two phases. Phase I is six months at Fort Sam Houston, during which the Army crams two years of college. This is NOT an easy course. Phase II is at an Army Hospital, which could be anywhere they have an opening. It is residency in a lab, under the supervision of senior lab specialists.
Occupational Therapy Specialist, Army MOS 68L. Again not an easy course, but again one that pays well in the civilian world. Upon completion of training soldiers may take the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Test and be nationally certified. The national average salary for an OTA is around $47,000. Physical therapy is helping patients regain strength, dexterity or physical function. Occupational therapy is helping patients do the things they must do and want to do in life, such as wounded soldiers learning to walk again, or to feed themselves, or dress themselves. Much of the civilian work is with children with disabilities. The ASVAB requirements are 101 in ST (Skilled Technical) and 107 GT (General Technical). The AIT for MOS 68L is 34 weeks long at Fort Sam Houston. It is in two phases, Phase I is 18 weeks of academics. Some have written that some prior knowledge of anatomy and physiology is a great help, because for many that is the hardest part of the course. Students also attend the cadaver lab during that phase. Phase II is instruction in and working in clinics with actual patients.
Nutrition Care Specialist, Army MOS 68M. I found a few old comments from soldiers with this MOS who said that they were just a cook in a hospital, and in some situations that may still be true. Until a couple years ago, a soldier who enlisted for this MOS was first sent to the eight week Culinary Specialist (cook) school at Fort Lee, Virginia, then to a seven week nutrition specialist course at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Now it is just seven weeks at Fort Sam Houston, with the indication that they only prepare food in small quantities. Civilians actually do most of the cooking in the large Army hospitals. The 68M’s interview patients after a dietician has established a special diet and ensure that the patient gets the proper food. They also teach proper nutrition and diet, and they do nutrition assessment screening for the dieticians.

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