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.

Related: 25 Unique Jobs in the Military (With Salaries)

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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

  • Medical Specialist Corps: Four specialties include physical therapists, occupational therapists, clinical dietitians and physician assistants.

  • 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.

1. Anesthesiologist

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

2. Animal care specialist

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.

Related: 18 Popular Jobs That Involve Working With Animals

3. Behavioral health specialist

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.

Related: 10 Jobs in Social and Behavioral Science

4. Biomedical equipment specialist

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.

Related: What Does a Biomedical Technician Do?

5. Combat medic specialist

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.

Related: How To Become an Army Medic in Six Steps

6. Critical care physician

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

7. Dental assistant

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

8. Dental specialist

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.

9. Emergency physician

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

10. Emergency room nurse

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.

Related: ER Nursing Skills: Definition and Examples

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

13. Health services administrator

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

14. Medical laboratory technologist

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.

Related: What Does a Medical Laboratory Technician Do?

15. Medical-surgical nurse

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.

Related: How To Become a Surgical Nurse (With FAQs)

16. Neurosurgeon

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

17. Nurse anesthetist officer

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

18. Nutrition care specialist

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?

19. Operating room 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

20. Optometry 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

21. Patient administration specialist

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.

Related: Becoming a Patient Liaison (With Steps)

22. Pharmacy specialist

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

23. Radiology specialist

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

24. Respiratory care practitioner

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?

25. Veterinary clinical medicine officer

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?

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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.

Dental Corps

Dentist careers in the Army include:

  • Comprehensive dentist

  • Endodontist

  • Executive dentist

  • General dentist

  • Oral and maxillofacial surgeon

  • Oral pathologist

  • Orthodontist

  • Pediatric dentist

  • Periodontist

  • Prosthodontist