25 Medical Careers in the Army
Updated March 3, 2023
f you're thinking of pursuing a medical job in the U.S. Army, there are various roles you can choose. Depending on your educational background, you may even be able to serve in an advanced health care profession. In this article, we discuss medical jobs in the Army, the benefits of working in these roles and 25 medical jobs in the Army.
What is a medical job in the Army?
The Army provides opportunities for jobs in the medical field through its Army Medical Department (AMEDD). These jobs are similar to health care roles found in the civilian job sector. Like hospitals and medical centers, the Army hires doctors, nurses, technicians and specialists to provide health care services to patients. The Army prepares its prospective medical professionals through hands-on skills training that focuses on general and preventative health measures.
The type of medical careers servicemen can access depends on their rank and what advanced degrees they earn. For example, only Army officers may serve as neurosurgeons. This role is exclusive as the Army requires candidates to earn an advanced degree in the medical field in addition to a license to practice medicine.
There are other options for servicemen with less training and education, though. For instance, enlistees without seniority and prior training may become medical laboratory specialists after 10 weeks of basic training and 52 weeks of advanced individual training.
The Army provides servicemen with access to state-of-the-art technology, advanced resources and top-quality medical facilities. This means that medical professionals in the Army are specially trained to provide superior care to soldiers and their families. Of course, these skills are highly transferable to the civilian job market if a serviceman chooses to retire early from their military role.
There are a few key factors to remember when pursuing a medical job in the Army. One of the most important is that some advanced careers are only available to officers or those who hold professional degrees, such as Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degrees. You typically have to enlist as a serviceman and undergo basic training procedures. Servicemen who work in medical roles may have to serve full time in active duty positions with varying service requirements. Therefore, depending on what career you'd like to pursue, it's a good idea to research the respective qualifications, training and service requirements necessary to work in each role.
Benefits of a medical job in the Army
Here are the main benefits of working as a medical professional in the Army:
Specialized skills training in a variety of health care fields
Opportunity to work in a highly rewarding profession
Access to advanced technology and medical facilities
Free housing on Army posts and housing allowances for those living off base
Health care, including mental health care and specialized care
Travel opportunities, including humanitarian missions
Vacation time, paid holidays, sick days and other paid time off
Competitive salaries with regularly scheduled raises
No premiums for malpractice insurance
Unique bonuses and allowances that contribute to overall income
Ability to pursue discounted or free educational opportunities through the GI bill or Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) programs
Related: Q&A: What Makes up an Army Salary?
Army Medical Department divisions
The Army Medical Department is made up of six corps and each includes a variety of medical positions. Corps include:
Dental Corps: Active duty and reserve dentists who offer care in nine specialty areas, including general dentistry, oral surgery, prosthodontics, endodontics, periodontics, preventive dentistry and oral pathology.
Medical Corps: Active duty and reserve physicians who practice operational, clinical or research medicine
Medical Service Corps: Disciplines include behavioral sciences, health services, laboratory sciences, optometry, pharmacy, podiatry and preventive medicine
Nurse Corps: Active duty and reserve nurses skilled in basic care or specialized areas such as obstetrics/gynecology, critical care, community health, psychiatric/mental health or perioperative nursing
Veterinary Corps: Active duty and reserve personnel who provide veterinary expertise for the Department of Defense and all U.S. military branches
The AMEDD may offer financial incentives, including specialty pay and student loan paydowns, for active and reserve service personnel in many of its fields. As information is subject to change, you should verify details with the Army or your recruiter.
25 medical jobs in the Army
There are various medical job opportunities available to those in the Army. Here are 25 medical careers you can pursue as a serviceman with comparable civilian salary information. The salaries listed below are the national average civilian salaries for comparable roles. These salaries are typically similar to those of servicemen, but there may be some discrepancy in exact compensation figures for medical professionals in the Army.
National average salary: $359,334 per year
Primary duties: Anesthesiologists are doctors who administer sedatives, regional and local anesthetics to surgical patients experiencing pain and monitor their vital signs. Throughout a given procedure, anesthesiologists may adjust anesthesia levels to maintain patient comfort. They usually work in conjunction with doctors and nurses in clinics, hospitals, outpatient
surgical centers and private surgeon's offices.
Read more: Learn About Being an Anesthesiologist
National average salary: $29,366 per year
Primary duties: Animal care specialists are veterinary professionals responsible for caring for government-owned animals, such as patrol dogs, ceremonial horses, sled dogs, sea mammals and animals used in research and active combat areas. They also may provide basic veterinary services to Army members with pets.
National average salary: $117,905 per year
Primary duties: Behavioral health specialists are mental health professionals that conduct intake appointments, interviews and screenings of clients. They provide mental health treatment to patients under the direct supervision of an Army psychiatrist, social worker, psychiatric nurse or psychologist. They may assess a clients' behavioral needs and challenges to develop specific treatment plans.
National average salary: $57,454 per year
Primary duties: Biomedical equipment specialists are responsible for installing, maintaining and repairing military medical equipment. They typically perform troubleshooting duties to identify specific solutions for damaged equipment. This includes duties like testing and calibrating parts to ensure equipment can provide high-quality treatment for patients.
National average salary: $41,745 per year
Primary duties: Combat medics provide first aid on the battlefield. They treat wounded soldiers, assist in removing them from dangerous areas and provide continuing medical help until they reach a health care facility. Medics may also work in medical areas, giving treatment to both inpatient and outpatient soldiers. They manage medical supplies and equipment as needed.
National average salary: $262,523 per year
Primary duties: Critical care physicians are medical doctors that support critically ill and injured patients. They typically handle cases of trauma, organ dysfunction and other emergency situations. Critical care physicians are responsible for the diagnosis, treatment and supervision of their patients. They may also supervise other medical professionals, such as nurses and technicians that aid in treatment procedures.
Related: Acute Care vs. Critical Care
National average salary: $60,868 per year
Primary duties: Dental assistants prepare patients for dental work and assist dentists with specific procedures. A primary responsibility of dental assistants is to prevent infection by sterilizing equipment and disinfecting instruments, trays and other materials used in procedures.
Related: How To Become a Dental Assistant
National average salary: $27,141 per year
Primary duties: Dental specialists work alongside Army dentists. They prepare facilities, arrange instruments, perform dental impressions, assist with anesthesia and assume other assistive or administrative tasks.
National average salary: $166,047 per year
Primary duties: Emergency physicians treat patients who need acute, life-saving health care. They work in critical situations and perform stabilizing duties, such as resuscitation or tracheostomies, so that patients can recover from emergency health conditions.
Related: How To Become an ER Doctor
National average salary: $144,851 per year
Primary duties: Emergency room (ER) nurses work alongside physicians and other health care professionals to provide urgent care to those experiencing injuries from accidents, allergic reactions and other emergent medical ailments. ER nurses often work as the frontline of defense when treating trauma and illness in emergency situations.
11. Field nurse
National average salary: $83,116 per year
Primary duties: Field nurses perform health assessments and treat medical conditions in atypical environments. They typically don't work in hospitals or medical facilities, but rather in public settings and at specific events. Field nurses provide unique health care services utilizing the limited resources available to them in such settings.
12. General surgeon
National average salary: $296,140 per year
Primary duties: General surgeons perform a variety of surgical procedures. These procedures may be geared toward preventing diseases, treating injuries, removing growths and improving the overall health over their patients.
Related: How To Become a Surgeon
National average salary: $70,142 per year
Primary duties: Health services administrators are management professionals that lead hospital, clinic and health care facility personnel. They typically do not interact with patients but instead handle the administrative tasks necessary to operate a medical facility. This includes keeping track of budgets, managing staff and maintaining streamlined health care systems.
Read more: Learn About Being a Health Administrator
National average salary: $52,808 per year
Primary duties: Medical laboratory technologists conduct chemical and biological analyses of diagnostic specimen tests. They may examine bodily fluids such as blood, urine, spinal fluids or stomach fluids to identify any potential abnormalities. In addition, they may prepare blood and plasma for patient transfusions.
National average salary: $119,420 per year
Primary duties: Medical-surgical nurses provide assessment and treatment to patients before and after surgical procedures. They may coordinate care plans and administer medication as necessary. Medical-surgical nurses often collaborate with other medical professionals to ensure effective patient treatment options.
National average salary: $173,239 per year
Primary duties: Neurosurgeons are surgical professionals who specialize in performing operations on the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves. They perform the highly specialized role of examining and diagnosing nervous system conditions. Neurosurgeons may work to relieve chronic pain, treating specific nervous conditions or removing tumor growths.
Read more: Learn About Being a Neurosurgeon
National average salary: $109,554 per year
Primary duties: Nurse anesthetist officers in the Army are responsible for caring for patients who require anesthesia, fluid therapy and more. This means caring for them in various settings, including a critical care unit, emergency department or delivery room. Nurse anesthetist officers document the entire care process and use various pain management techniques to relieve pain.
Read more: Learn About Being a Nurse Anesthetist
National average salary: $33,246 per year
Primary duties: Nutrition assistants work alongside dietitians to help provide patients with proper nutritional health care. They assess their patients' nutritional needs, potential health risks and create meal plans.
Related: What Is a Nutrition Specialist?
National average salary: $20,890 per year
Primary duties: Operating room technicians, often called “surgical technologists,” are responsible for preparing operating rooms prior to surgical procedures. They may prepare patients for surgeries, arrange medical equipment and assist doctors when needed.
Related: How To Become a Surgical Technician
National average salary: $43,516 per year
Primary duties: Optometry technicians are health care professionals that focus on eye care. They may provide eye examinations, document patient histories and assist patients in the care and maintenance of their eyeglasses. They may also create lenses and construct glasses.
Related: How To Become an Optometry Assistant
National average salary: $35,149 per year
Primary duties: Patient administration specialists handle the administrative duties for patients in health care facilities. They complete admissions paperwork, complete documentation and oversee funds in medical services accounts.
National average salary: $50,402 per year
Primary duties: Under the direction of a pharmacist, this medic prepares and dispenses prescribed medicines and maintains pharmacy supplies and records.
Related: How To Become a Pharmacy Technician
National average salary: $46,869 per year
Primary duties: Radiology specialists operate imaging equipment, such as X-ray machines and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines. The images they scan are used in diagnosing and treating patient conditions.
Related: 13 Jobs in Radiology
National average salary: $54,552 per year
Primary duties: Respiratory care practitioners manage, treat and evaluate patients with breathing conditions. They may diagnose patients, recommend treatment plans, provide preventative care and help patients with pulmonary issues and access rehabilitation.
Related: What Is Respiratory Care?
National average salary: $103,582 per year
Primary duties: Veterinary clinical medicine officers perform a wide array of tasks centered around the government or privately owned animals. This covers medical or surgical procedures, proper diagnosis and general supervision. They also spend time working on veterinary research and development.
Related: What Is a Veterinarian?
Additional Army Medical Department positions
Each of the Army’s six medical specialty corps features a variety of positions. You can research each of these to find what may interest you.
Dentist careers in the Army include: