Posted on Aug 25, 2019
Nathan Coon
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Having trouble picking an initial MOS. In civilian life I have been a Paramedic and EMT going on 10 years now and have worked in urban and rural areas. I was initially looking to enlist as a 68W and continue my career on the military side. The problem, however, is that there are currently no openings in this MOS. I can’t decide whether to wait a bit for some openings or select a different MOS. I’ve already been through MEPS and just waiting on a waiver. ASVAB of 93 so I’m not exactly limited in my choices. I would also like an MOS that presents fairly stable family life when not deployed or in the field since I have children.

My other top choices that I have narrowed it down to are:
1. Military Police; however after working 10 years of nights and weekends I’m not sure if I want to select an MOS that could be patrolling on a shift work schedule.
2. Air Missile Defense: Haven’t been able to find a ton of information on this MOS but what I have found make it seem like I could really enjoy this MOS just nothing on the civilian side if I decide to get out later in life.
3. Infantry or Calvary Scout

Any advice or thoughts based on your experience?
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SFC Career Counselor
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A couple of things...
1. 68W is the second largest MOS in the Army. If you really want it, it won't take very long to get a slot. The same exact thing happened to me when I came back as prior service. I only wanted 68W, they didn't have it. I told them I would wait for a slot. The counselor made a phone call and came back with a class date. It turns out that they overbooked the class I went to, but when there are 330 people in a class, one more isn't a big deal. That won't work with a smaller class like dental or radiology where there are very limited class seats.
68W is a great MOS for a starting point into Military Medicine. As a paramedic, you might be interested in enhancing your skill set as a flight medic, or special operations combat medic. It's a good launching pad for the Army's PA, RN, PT and MD programs. It's a large MOS with great promotion potential, and you can reasonably expect to reach E8 or E9 prior to retiring. It branches into special operations, hospitals, clinics, Airborne units, ambulance units, and just about everywhere in the Army. It will also provide you with an opportunity to get all the fun schools you would get as Infantry or Cav. Ranger School, Airborne, Jumpmaster, Air Assault, and anything else. As a medic you are very likely going to be assigned to an infantry platoon for your first assignment and you will do everything they do when you're training with them.
2. Military Police is nothing like being a cop, however you will definitely have the odd hours, weekend and night shift work.
3. Don't focus on what the MOS will bring with you to the civilian side. Every MOS has the ability to get hired on the civilian side if you have the skill and contacts. You could be a 14P and be hired to work for Raytheon after you retire. You could be Infantry and be hired to teach at other organizations. Focus on a job you will enjoy. If you don't enjoy the job then you will leave and never want to do it again. If you like it, you will usually stay and when you separate you are much more valuable as a leader than those entry level skills you gained.
4. If possible, identify how long you plan on staying in the Army. If you want to retire, Infantry and Medic are great for promotion in the long run. The Army is run by the Infantry; everything is designed and arranged to support the Infantry. Sure, those Special Operations and attack helicopters sound cool, but in the end they all support the goal of putting Infantry on the ground in bad places. Therefore, Infantry is the premier branch, the best promoting, and the one with the most upward mobility.
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Nathan Coon
Nathan Coon
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Thank you. I think I will wait for a medic slot to open up.
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1SG Retired
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^^^^ That advice is gold.
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CPT Lawrence Cable
CPT Lawrence Cable
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The good Sergeant First Class knows his stuff and is giving it to you straight. I will add a bit of realism, however. Joining the Army as Infantry, a Medic or MP, you are going to deploy and you are going to be in the field. There may be jobs in the Army with regular hours, I never had one when I was enlisted and certainly not as an officer. If your wife and family doesn't accept that, it can be hard on a marriage. OTOH, you get lots of paid time off in comparison with most Civilian jobs, so it tends to equal out.
My father was career Air Force. Looking back on it, it seemed that he had much more free time to spend with the family prior to retirement than after working a civilian job.
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1SG Training Coordinator
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Military Police IS like being a cop...one third of the year. The other 2/3 you will be in the field or training/reset for the next rotation.

One of the things I keyed in on is your desire to have a stable home life. Having worked shift work like you have I can tell you that almost none of the MOSs you listed provide that...promotion potential ablsolutely, at home most nights no. Based on that desire alone, I would look into the other medical MOSs that center around base hospitals & clinics (if you are interested in staying in the medical field). Otherwise, look into the plethora of administrative jobs (personnel, finance, etc.). They aren't sexy, they're smaller branches with more competition for promotion, but they are home more than they are in the field.

At the end of the day, you are in the driver's seat (within reason). Do your research and pick the MOS that provides the best likelihood for you get the most out of your service and the Army get the most out of you as a Soldier.
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SFC Healthcare Specialist (Combat Medic)
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Look at all the medical MOSs. 68A, 68W, 68X, 68y, 68N, 68R. I am a medic and I am a 68N (cardiovascular specialist). Most importantly, look into how you can come into the Army as an Officer. There are a lot of ways to do it. There is so much that can be discussed, but please put some efforts towards determining what you need to do to enter the Army as an Officer. If not possible, you can come in as enlisted and there are still plenty of opportunities to transition into the Officer side. Please don’t come in with just a plan to retire as enlisted. Do everything you can to be an Officer, but if you come in as enlisted, always strive to be competitive. 68N is a great job in and outside of the Army. It’s non deployable and you are pretty much untouchable for anything Army related. All of my deployments were all as a medic, prior to 68N and after 68N. On the downside, the promotion rate is much, much slower than 68W. Always set your goals to aim for the stars; if you don’t reach the stars, at least you will land on the moon. So, aim for Officer.
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SGT(P) Neuro Icu Rn
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If you're already medical, why not look at 68C?
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SFC Career Counselor
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To be honest, I couldn't see someone who enjoys being a paramedic, enjoying being an LPN. I was a medic and that would feel like a complete downshift to me. For a medic, you are in complete control of the situation in point-of-injury care. Everything that goes good or bad is under the control of the medic. As an LPN, you work under the orders of the doctor or nurse in charge of the patient. I was a medic on the line and then in the Aid station. All the thrill of being a medic goes out when you are in the Aid station and it's someone else's patient
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