Three of the four U.S. military branches have a medical wing. These medical wings require medical assistants to perform a wide variety of duties, ranging from treating sick veterans to working in combat with forces. Every branch has different requirements for its medical men and women, but they all require patience, empathy and a scientific mind. They also must be able to enlist, which means they need to be between the ages of 17 and 34, have parental consent if they are under 18, be U.S. citizens or permanent residents with a strong grasp of English and a clean criminal record.
U.S. Coast Guard
The U.S. Coast Guard is the smallest branch of the U.S. military. This means that it has less positions available than the other branches, and can therefore be more selective. Medical assistants in the Coast Guard must already be qualified as physician assistants. However, this is well-rewarded: medical assistants in the Coast Guard are commissioned officers, in contrast to every other branch of the U.S. military.
The U.S. Air Force is the second-smallest branch of the military, and is therefore the second-most competitive. Medical assistants must be able to enlist, be enrolled in or graduates of a physician assistant program, and score 44 on the general sciences section of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB).
Naval hospital corpsmen work with both sailors and Marines. They must be able to enlist in the Navy, make it through basic training and register a combined ASVAB score of 149. This has to be made up of the paragraph comprehension section, the general science section and the mathematics section.
Hospital corpsmen who are deployed with Marines in battlefields need to be men.
Health care specialists in the U.S. Army are trained by the Army. They need to take the same set of ASVAB sub-tests as Naval corpsmen, but they only need to score a total of 95 on them. This means that if someone wanted to be a hospital corpsmen but could only achieve a score of 100 then he could do the same job for the Army.
- Medical instruments image by Keith Frith from Fotolia.com