Army Medical Laboratory Specialist - MOS 68K
Army

Army Medical Laboratory Specialist (MOS 68K)

Army Medical Laboratory Specialists (MOS 68K) work in medical settings like an Army clinic or hospital laboratory.

An Army Medical Laboratory Specialist (MOS 68K) performs tests on the blood, tissue, and body fluids of patients.

Are you interested in becoming an Army Medical Laboratory Specialist?

Learn more about what it takes including required training and education, job duties, salary, job reviews, and civilian job outlook.

Education, Qualifications, and Training

68k mos army
Army Medical Laboratory Specialists (MOS 68K) work as a team in a medical lab setting. Image: Army.com

Medical jobs generally require a fair amount of education and training.

Though the work you perform as an Army Medical Laboratory Specialist does not require quite as much education as a civilian job equivalent – it is still intensive.

Here is all you need to know in order to prepare for 68K MOS:

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Education

The Army will only accept new members with a high school diploma or GED equivalent.

Your first step is to make sure you have one or the other before enlistment though it doesn’t hurt to learn more about MOS 68K if you are still a year or two away from finishing high school.

While in high school you will want to make sure you pass chemistry and algebra classes for MOS 68K.

All new members of the U.S. Army complete the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB).

The series of tests put forth by the U.S. Armed Forces help determine what strengths and weaknesses you have in terms of a Military Occupational Specialty (MOS).

Army Medical Laboratory Specialists (MOS 68K) must have a score of Skilled Technical (ST): 106 or higher.

It it also worth mentioning that having an associate or bachelor’s degree in medical technology (or a related degree) can go a long way in helping you earn the position of an Army Medical Laboratory Specialist.

Qualifications

After completing the ASVAB with the required score for MOS 68K you can advance forward with other job requirements.

Army Medical Laboratory Specialists do not need to receive special military security clearance from the Department of Defense, unlike some Military Occupational Specialties.

The Army actively seeks candidates that:

  • Excel in chemistry, biology, and algebra.
  • Demonstrate an ability to follow detailed procedures as precisely as possible.
  • Demonstrate an ability to maintain focus for long periods of time.
  • Present manual dexterity and no aversion to the sight of needles or blood.
  • Demonstrate great organization skills as well as record keeping abilities.

The Army also cites characteristics like integrity, dependability, cooperativeness, compassion, and independence as assets that help you perform well working as an Army Medical Laboratory Specialist (MOS 68K).

Training

When your training begins with the U.S. Army you will arrive at boot camp, or Basic Combat Training (BCT).

BCT for all new recruits lasts 10 weeks, regardless of MOS.

Advanced Individual Training (AIT) is designed to teach service members the skills they need to perform their MOS.

The length of Advanced Individual Training varies depending on the Military Occupational Specialty.

AIT is incredibly thorough for an Army Medical Laboratory Specialist (MOS 68K) and lasts 52 weeks.

Advanced Individual Training for 68K MOS will take place at a military hospital for residency training.

You will learn more about medical laboratory procedures, the study of human parasites and diseases, as well as laboratory administration and record keeping.

There is also a focus on practice-testing specimens for practical field work experience.

What does an Army Medical Laboratory Specialist Do?

army medical lab specialist
An Army Medical Laboratory Specialist helps nurses and doctors make correct diagnosis based on what they learn testing blood, tissue, and other bodily fluids. Image: AF Medical Services

Army Medical Laboratory Specialists (MOS 68K) are integral members of the laboratory technician team.

They conduct tests on blood, tissue, and bodily fluids of the patients they help serve.

The work an Army Medical Laboratory Specialist performs is important to the medical staff as it aids nurses and doctors with proper diagnosis.

There is also an emphasis on using lab work to help with not only treatment, but prevention of diseases.

An Army Medical Laboratory Specialist (MOS 68K) may also assist as backup for handling patients with war wounds or injuries.

Job Duties of 68K MOS

An Army Medical Laboratory Specialist works alongside other medical professionals employed by the U.S. Army.

You are not a certified nurse or doctor serving the role of MOS 68K Army Medical Laboratory Specialist.

However, you still have very important job duties related to keeping members of the Army healthy.

  • Performs elementary blood banking and clinical laboratory procedures.
  • Collects blood specimens by venipuncture and capillary puncture.
  • Assembles, maintains, and disassembles laboratory equipment.
  • Handles blood and blood products by packing, unpacking, inspecting, storing, and distributing the medical items.

Clinical Lab Procedures

An Army Medical Laboratory Specialist (MOS 68K) performs several different clinical lab procedures, including:

  • Hematology
  • Immunohematology
  • Clinical Chemistry
  • Serology
  • Bacteriology
  • Parasitology
  • Urinalysis

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What does an Army Medical Laboratory Specialist make?

army lab tech
After completing your time in the U.S. Army you can transition into the same job with a civilian or veterans hospital. Image: Defense.gov

Your total compensation in the U.S. Army includes housing, food, medical, special pay, and vacation time.

Army Medical Laboratory Specialists (MOS 68K) are not paid based on their Military Occupational Specialty.

The Army determines your monthly salary based on rank and years of service.

InsigniaPay GradeRankAbbreviationAvg. Monthly Pay
E-1PrivatePVT$1,681
E-2Private Second ClassPV2$1,884
army e 3 insignia - pfcE-3Private First ClassPFC$1,981
army e 4 insignia - specialistE-4SpecialistSPC$2,195
army e 4 insignia - corporalE-4CorporalCPL$2,195
E-5SergeantSGT$2,394
E-6Staff SergeantSSG$2,613
E-7Sergeant First ClassSFC$3,021
army e 8 insignia - master sergeantE-8Master SergeantMSG$4,345
E-8First Sergeant1SG$4,345
E-9Sergeant MajorSGM$5,308
E-9Command Sergeant MajorCSM$5,308
e 9 sergeant major of the army insigniaE-9Sergeant Major of the ArmySMA$5,308

Furthermore, you could potentially earn up to $40,000 in cash bonuses working certain Military Occupational Specialties and in certain places.

The Army can also assist you with attaining an associate or bachelor’s degree related to your work as an Army Medical Laboratory Specialist.

You could potentially receive full college tuition, merit-based scholarships, allowances for books, and living expense stipend through the Army.

Your local Army recruiter will have more information on cash incentives as well as educational opportunities through the U.S. Army.

Benefits

The U.S. Army has several benefits included with a monthly salary:

  • Medical Insurance
  • Retirement
  • Vacation Time
  • Special Pay
  • Education: Army members can earn full-tuition, merit-based scholarships, allowances for books and fees, plus annual stipend for living expenses.
  • 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.

Job Reviews

There are countless positive things to say about becoming an Army Medical Laboratory Specialist (MOS 68K) on job sites like Indeed.com:

A common trend is how many service members mention they wouldn’t have got into the medical field if it wasn’t for the Army.

The Army helps you pay for college as well as receive real world experience performing duties like that of MOS 68K:

Recent high school graduates can take advantage of an amazing opportunity to have all or most of your higher learning paid for.

Additionally, you will learn leadership and team work skills that is difficult to learn elsewhere.

Army Medical Laboratory Specialists, like all other Army MOS, learn the seven core values of the Army including duty, loyalty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage.

Service members of the Army build a special bond with their fellow soldiers.

Though Medical Laboratory Specialists work in a hospital setting they are still an important part of the U.S. Army.

Civilian Job Opportunities

The good news about an Army Medical Laboratory Specialist (MOS 68K) is a direct civilian job equivalent exists, unlike many other Military Occupational Specialties.

As a result, you can find work doing something very comparable to what you did in the Army following the completion of your service.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the field of medical laboratory work is growing.

In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the career to grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026.

As people continue to live longer there is a growing need for qualified individuals that can diagnose medical conditions by inspecting parasites and bacteria under a microscope.

Here is the median salary for some related civilian professions to MOS 68K:

  • Analytical Chemist: $55,315
  • Chemist: $54,909
  • Engineering Technician: $54,180
  • General/Operations Manager: $61,970
  • Medical/Clinical Laboratory Technician: $40,000
  • Medical Laboratory Technician: $40,360
  • Medical Technologist: $54,515

Army PaYS Program

Additionally, you can receive guaranteed job interviews after leaving the military as part of the Army PaYS Program.

Hospitals that are considered military-friendly and currently seeking veterans to hire through the PaYS Program, include:

  • Atlantic Health System
  • Bell Ambulance
  • Cleveland Clinic
  • John Hopkins Hospital
  • NorthCrest Medical Center
  • Prince William Health System
  • Reliant Medical Group

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Summary

Army Medical Laboratory Specialists (MOS 68K) are driven and motivated to help other soldiers.

They work in a hospital laboratory along with other medical technicians. 

The duties they perform in testing blood, tissue, and bodily fluids is helpful in finding the right diagnosis and treatment for Army personnel.

If you have an interest in studying bacteria and parasites under a microscope than you will enjoy the role of an Army Medical Laboratory Specialist.

 

Resources:

  1. https://www.goarmy.com/careers-and-jobs/browse-career-and-job-categories/medical-and-emergency/medical-laboratory-specialist.html
  2. https://www.indeed.com/cmp/U.S.-Army/reviews?fjobtitle=Laboratory+Technician
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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