Military and Healthcare

a doctor examines military members ankle

If you want to join the military because you love helping people, you might consider joining one of the many military healthcare careers available. While some military healthcare positions, such as physicians and surgeons, are highly specialized and require medical school, others, including combat medics and patient administration specialists, are less demanding about education requirements.

In this article, you’ll learn about various Army, Navy, and Air Force healthcare jobs, including examples, benefits for job seeking, and the paths you can take to enter the career of your choice.

Compare Military Healthcare Careers by Branch

The three branches that deliver healthcare to the US military are:

  • Army Medical Department
  • Navy Medical Corps
  • Air Force Medical Service

Each of these military services offers a variety of healthcare jobs and specializations, from field nurses to neurosurgeons. Below, you can find a few examples of the best military healthcare jobs in each military branch.

Army Medical Department

  • Combat medic: A combat medic is an enlisted position that provides emergency medical treatment and evacuation on the battlefield.
  • Pharmacy specialist: This enlisted-level healthcare position involves preparing and dispensing prescription drugs and maintaining pharmacy records and supplies.
  • Patient administration specialist: A patient administration specialist performs administrative duties in Army medical facilities and requires seven weeks of advanced training. 

Navy Medical Corps

  • Nurse corps officer: Graduates or students of accredited nursing programs can become nurse corps officers providing nursing care in military medical facilities on deployment or humanitarian aid missions.
  • Physician: Navy physicians are medical school graduates and licensed healthcare professionals who diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries.
  • Navy hospital corpsman: This position requires specialized enlisted training and involves providing emergency medical treatment for military personnel.

Air Force Medical Service

  • Health services manager: Enlisted military members can receive training to become health services managers, whose duties include scheduling patient appointments and processing medical records.
  • Biomedical equipment specialist: This technical career requires longer training and involves repairing, replacing, and inspecting medical devices.
  • Clinical nurse: Clinical nurses are highly qualified care providers who also educate and advocate for patients in military clinics.

Explore Your Options for Military Healthcare Education and Service

In light of the various career options in military healthcare, you have many roads ahead of you to accomplish your goals. Below, we’ll discuss a few you can take to apply for military healthcare careers.

Military Medical School

If you want to train as a physician and join one of the US military branches or the Public Health Service, you could attend the military healthcare education programs at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS). USU med students receive free tuition, a military salary, housing, and other benefits. Graduates must serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Public Health Service for seven years.

Civilian Medical School With Military Scholarship

The Army, Navy, and Air Force offer scholarships that cover tuition and fees, provide a monthly living allowance and offer a signing bonus. If you receive a military scholarship, you can attend a civilian medical school, and you’ll be an officer in the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR). 

You don’t wear a uniform or receive active-duty pay, but you must attend officer training when school is on break. After medical school, you will join the Army or Air Force.

Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC)

As an undergraduate medical student in the ROTC, you can benefit from a full tuition scholarship and a monthly stipend in exchange for a commitment to serve as a commissioned officer upon finishing medical school. The Army requires an eight-year commitment, the Navy four to five years, and the Air Force four to six years.

Join the Military as a Medical Student or Licensed Healthcare Professional

Civilian healthcare professionals, including those in training or recent graduates, can enter the military as officers on active duty or in the Reserves or National Guard. The ranking and pay grade depend on your specialty and experience level. You don’t need to attend basic training, but you must complete officer training.

Individualized Enlistment Training

You don’t need to earn a college degree or attend medical school to become a military healthcare professional. When you enlist, whether you’re on active duty or in the reserves, you’ll attend basic training and individualized qualification training for a specific position, such as an animal care specialist or a dental specialist. 

Your training can count as credits toward a college degree in the future, and you’ll have more training and advancement opportunities during service.

Civilian vs. Military Healthcare Benefits

Before you enlist in military healthcare, it might help you to compare the top military healthcare benefits with civilian healthcare benefits.

Joining the military to provide healthcare allows you to help people in your country and around the world, and you could receive complete financial coverage for your education, depending on your eligibility. However, a civilian healthcare career offers more stability and the potential for a higher income.

Military Healthcare

  • Education benefits, such as tuition assistance and scholarships
  • 30 days of vacation time yearly
  • Affordable life insurance
  • Retirement benefits

Civilian Healthcare

  • High earning potential
  • Variety of competitive benefits
  • Ability to stay in one location

How Military Healthcare Experience Benefits Civilian Careers

When you serve in the military, you gain skills and experience that are highly valuable in civilian careers, so you should learn to emphasize those strengths when applying for jobs. The following are examples of military healthcare experience and skills that will impress employers:

  • Problem solving under pressure
  • Leadership skills
  • Self-direction and discipline
  • Professionalism
  • Teamwork and following orders

Discover the Path to Military Healthcare Jobs and Education houses numerous detailed guides on accessing military education benefits and accomplishing your career goals. 

You can find guides on dependent and spousal benefits, military healthcare benefits enrollment, and much more. We also provide information on specific degrees and career opportunities, such as engineering, computer science, and health science.

Whether you want to attend medical school with a military scholarship or go to college to further your existing healthcare training from your service, check out for more information about your education options regarding military healthcare careers.