Combat Medic (MOS 68W)
Army

Army Combat Medic Specialist (MOS 68W): Career Details

Army Combat Medic Specialists (MOS 68W) are responsible for providing emergency medical treatment at point of wounding on the battlefield.

Soldiers in this MOS also assist with limited primary care and health protection.

They provide evacuation for a patient from a point of injury.

Qualifications and Training

This is an entry-level position that requires basic physical and medical evaluations.

Soldiers must receive a minimum score of 101 on the Skilled Technical (ST) and 107 on the General Technical (GT) portions of the ASVAB test.

Upon completion of all entry-level testing, soldiers will attend Basic Combat Training for 10 weeks.

They will then attend Advanced Individual Training for 16 weeks that includes practice in-patient care.

After Advanced Individual Training, soldiers must obtain certification from the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians.

This allows for EMT level or higher certification.

Skills that are helpful in this MOS include:

  • Effective Communication
  • Ability to work under stress
  • Detail-oriented
  • Enjoy helping others
  • Interest in a job involving chemistry, biology, psychology, general science, and algebra

 Related Article: Army Practical Nursing Specialist (MOS 68C): Career Details

What are the Job Functions of a Combat Medic Specialist?

Army Combat Medic
A group of Army Combat Medics complete advanced medical training. Image: army.mil

A Combat Medic Specialist, or Health Care Specialist, is similar to a civilian EMT.

These professionals work on the battlefield and in Army hospitals/medical facilities all over the world.

Combat Medic Specialists assist soldiers, their families and even civilians.

This job is both physically and mentally demanding.

Soldiers are required to physically move the injured to safe locations.

They are also required to perform under pressure, while possibly under fire.

They are skilled in emergency medical techniques and patient-care techniques.

Soldiers will understand the principles of Basic Life Support and Basic Emergency Medical Technician skills and apply them when assisting patients.

Combat Medical Specialists perform advanced medical care on the battlefield or in any location that requires it.

They can provide limited primary care, emergency care, trauma care or Tactical Combat Casualty Care.

Related Article: Army Operating Room Specialist (MOS 68D)

Specialists are required to administer emergency medical treatment to battlefield casualties and will use proper battlefield medicine principles to accomplish this.

They can work with outpatient and inpatient treatment and care.

Specialists will complete ambulance operations and transport patients.

In an emergency situation, Specialists will assess the situation.

This includes communicating with the victim if they are able to respond.

They will use their training to find the injury and apply techniques to attempt to resolve the issue and make the patient stable for transport.

They must adapt to changing situations and be alert of their surroundings at all times.

The specialist will put in an IV, apply a tourniquet, stitches or a suture a wound.

They can perform CPR, apply oxygen and take vital signs.

Specialists can take and prepare blood samples for laboratory analysis.

They can administer shots, vaccines and give medications to patients.

The specialist will perform airway management, stop hemorrhaging and perform other emergency medical procedures.

In these situations, soldiers will perform any function necessary to meet the overall goal of saving lives.

In a healthcare setting, soldiers may assist a doctor or nurse.

They may be required to prepare a patient for an appointment or surgery.

They may also prepare the equipment and supplies necessary for surgery.

Specialists will prep and clean a room after a patient visit.

The specialist will keep health records and files up-to-date.

In healthcare settings, they may be required to work in several different areas of the hospital or care facility.

They are known as the Jack of all trades because of their ability to assist wherever they are needed.

In natural disaster situations, soldiers will report and assist in the medical needs of the affected people.

Soldiers also report for humanitarian needs in deployed areas and can assist the civilian people in those areas.

The individuals in this MOS will instruct soldiers on Combat Lifesaver and First Responder Training Course.

They can be tasked with managing a soldier’s medical readiness, supplies, and equipment.

Related Article: Army Medical Logistics Specialist (MOS 68J): Career Details

What Does a Combat Medic Specialist get Paid?

Like other Army MOS’s, a Combat Medic Specialist will get paid based on rank and time in service.

During the first few months of training, individuals can expect to make a base income of around $20,000.

As training and certifications are complete, that amount will go up.

The table below can be followed to get an idea of Army base pay.

InsigniaPay GradeRankAbbreviationMinimum Monthly Pay
E-1PrivatePVT$1,733
E-2Private Second ClassPV2$1,943
army e 3 insignia - pfcE-3Private First ClassPFC$2,043
army e 4 insignia - specialistE-4SpecialistSPC$2,263
army e 4 insignia - corporalE-4CorporalCPL$2,263
E-5SergeantSGT$2,468
e-6E-6Staff SergeantSSG$2,694
E-7Sergeant First Class SFC$3,114
army master sergeant iconE-8Master SergeantMSG$4,480
E-8First Sergeant 1SG$4,480
E-9Sergeant MajorSGM$5,473
E-9Command Sergeant MajorCSM$5,473
e 9 sergeant major of the army insigniaE-9Sergeant Major of the ArmySMA$5,473

Benefits

The Army provides benefits in addition to the base pay table above.

For those who are living on base, the Army pays for housing and food.

Tuition assistant programs are available that allow most individuals to attend college for very little to no out of pocket cost.

The Army also provides medical and dental, paid sick time, paid vacation, and low-cost life insurance options.

Recruiting bonuses and special pay options are available for certain positions/scenarios.

Related Article: Army Preventative Medicine Specialist (MOS 68S): Career Details

Job Reviews

Previous Combat Medics ranked the position an average of 4/5 stars on review sites such as Indeed.

They discuss the learning experience the position provides to individuals and the ability to meet a diverse group of people.

Positive reviews note the benefits and teamwork gained with co-workers.

The reviews also discuss the impact leadership can have on the position.

This position may require individuals to deploy frequently or for long periods of time.

This is one of the negative review aspects people discuss.

The review below provides positive and negative aspects of the position.

Combat Medic
Image: Indeed

The Army video below depicts views on the Combat Medic position from 2 different Army soldiers.

Civilian Career Opportunities

Currently, the Army is the only branch of the Military that requires soldiers to receive a minimum certification of an EMT to enter into this MOS.

Making this requirement sets up Army soldiers for a civilian career as an EMT.

The certification is from a national establishment and directly relates.

Not only does the certification relate, having the Army experience as a Combat Medic allows soldiers to have an advantage over other civilian applicants.

Other related civilian positions include working as emergency medical technicians, medical assistants or physician’s assistants.

These positions can be in locations such as hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or rehabilitation centers.

Summary

Army Combat Medic (MOS 68W)
Army Combat Medic provides bandages to a baby. Image: flickr

Army Combat Medic Specialists (MOS 68W) provide emergency care treatment and evacuation procedures.

These highly-trained individuals work in areas from the clinic to the battlefield.

To enter into this MOS soldiers must complete training and obtain certification at an EMT level or higher.

This is an entry-level position that will follow the Army base pay table.

Soldiers in this MOS like the position because it allows them to help save soldiers’ lives.

After the Army, soldiers have an opportunity to work as a civilian EMT or physician’s assistant.

Related Article: Army Radiologist Specialist (MOS 68P)

References

Army MOS 68W Career Details

METC Health Care Specialist

Zach B.

General FAQ

What does a Combat Medic Specialist (MOS 68W) do?

Army Combat Medic Specialists (MOS 68W) provide emergency medical treatment on the battlefield and elsewhere.


How do you become a Combat Medic in the Army?

Once receiving the required minimum ASVAB scores of 101 Skilled Technical and 107 General Technical on the ASVAB scores. Advanced Individual Training (AIT) for Combat Medics takes 16 weeks to complete.


Are Combat Medics EMT certified?

Army Combat medics are required to obtain certification as EMTs or higher from the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians.


How long are Combat Medic deployments?

Unlike a permanent duty assignment, a deployment is a temporary assignment ranging from three to 12 months. The length and location of a deployment for combat medics will depend on existing conflicts and needs of the Army.


Do Combat Medics (MOS 68W) fight?

Although the Geneva Conventions classify attacking a medic as a criminal act, Army combat medics are trained to fight and carry weapons to protect themselves and the patients in their care.

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