How to Become an Army Combat Medic

Three Parts:Joining the ArmyTraining to Become a MedicTraining as a Special Operations Combat Medic (SOCM)

Medics, or healthcare specialists, in the United States Army provide medical treatment to wounded soldiers. They provide emergency medical treatment to soldiers on the frontlines as well as healthcare in facilities, like hospitals and clinics. With the right training, a healthcare specialist can advance to become the civilian equivalent of a Physician Assistant or become a Special Operations Combat Medic.

Part 1
Joining the Army

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    Meet a recruiter. Find a local recruiter and discuss whether the Army is the right fit for you. A recruiter will be able to answer any questions you might have about serving in the Army and whether or not being a medic is the right fit. At your initial interview, the will also ask you a number of questions to determine whether you are eligible for serve.[1]
    • The recruiter will ask you about your education level, criminal history, age, marital/dependency status, and your physical condition.
    • Think of this meeting as a job interview with the recruiter evaluating your fitness to serve.
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    Make sure you have the required documents. When you meet with the recruiter, it is important to bring required documents. These documents will prove you are who you say you are and ensure that you meet the Army’s requirements.[2]
    • Bring a social security card, driver’s license, high school diploma or GED, and a direct deposit form. If you are married or have children, you will need to bring information about any dependents.
    • The Army will also run a background check on you.
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    Take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). Once you have met with the recruiter and provided all necessary documentation, you will schedule a time to take the ASVAB. This multiple choice test will highlight your strengths and pinpoint which Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) or job best suits you. [3]
    • The ASVAB tests your knowledge of subjects like math, science, and reading. It will also test your understanding of electronics as well as mechanical and auto familiarity. [4]
    • In order to be a medic you will need to score a 101 on the Skilled Technical and a 107 on the General Technical sections of the ASVAB.[5]
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    Receive a physical fitness evaluation. Your recruiter will help you schedule a physical examination at the nearest Military Entrance Processing States (MEPS). They will gauge whether you are healthy enough to serve in the military. They will also evaluate your psychological health as well.[6]
    • During your visit to the MEPS, someone will guide you through which career opportunities will work best for you.
    • After your passing your physical, you will be sworn into the Army with the official Oath of Enlistment.
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    Talk with your family and friends. Before you begin your journey to become an Army medic, you should first talk with your parents and other family members about serving in the U.S. military. Discuss with them about your desire to serve and what that means. Joining the U.S. armed forces is not an easy task and one that should not be taken lightly. Talking with others might give you some insights about why you want to serve and what your expectations are.
    • Chat with family members and friends who have served and inquire about their experiences.

Part 2
Training to Become a Medic

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    Complete Basic Combat Training (BCT). Once you are accepted into the United States military, you will begin the required physical and mental training to become a soldier. BCT consists of ten weeks of highly intense and challenge physical training as well as integration in the military way of life.[7]
    • BCT occurs at several different locations across the United States.
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    Undergo Advanced Individual Training (AIT). Depending on your ASVAB score, education background, and the Army’s needs, you may be selected to become an Army medic. If selected, you will undergo Advanced Individual Training after completing basic training. At AIT, you will learn different medical treatments for wounded soldiers. This period can take 16 to 68 weeks to complete, depending on what different skills or training you complete.[8]
    • Although the Army takes your interests into consideration, there is no guarantee you will get the assignment you desire. The Army makes its assignments based on its needs, as well as your test scores and individual skills.
    • Building some basic medical skills before entering the service may help you obtain a position as a medic, but it is not a guarantee that you will be placed as a medic.
    • AIT training occurs at Fort Sam Huston, Texas.
    • You will be trained to perform basic first aid, bandage wounds, start intravenous lines, and other practical field exercises.
    • Once you have completed AIT, you will receive the distinct of 68W (68 Whiskey) and be considered an Army Medic.
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    Be assigned to a unit. Once you have completed AIT, you will be assigned to a unit. Depending on your capabilities and what you want to do, you could be assigned to a number of different roles, ranging from a front-line combat unit to a field hospital. In your new role, you could serve as a flight paramedic, a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), or many other specialties. Depending on your assignment, you will receive further training specific to your new role.[9]
    • The civilian equivalent of a medic is an EMT.
    • Again, the Army’s needs, with consideration of your skills, will largely dictate what type of unit you serve in.
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    Receive advanced training. After you are assignment, your unit’s Physician Assistant (PA) may prescribe you advanced training depending on your unit’s role. This will be a series of lectures, seminars, and practical training that teaches you further medical skills.[10]
    • Front-line combat medics receive training in venous cutdowns, the placement of chest tubes, and various methods to control bleeding.
    • Medics in medical units may learn to administer medications.
    • Others are trained to serve in field hospitals may learn plaster-casting techniques and the sterilizing of surgical equipment.[11]
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    Participate in the Inter-service Physician Assistant Program (IPAP). As a medic, you will be eligible to further your medical training as a Physician Assistant. Once you have completed the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree and met the program’s science requirements, you will be able to apply to the IPAP. After completing the two-year program, you will have a master’s degree, an officer’s commission, and the opportunity to apply for civilian certification.[12]
    • IPAP training also occurs at Fort Sam Huston.

Part 3
Training as a Special Operations Combat Medic (SOCM)

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    Become a Special Operations Combat Medic. After completing your training to become an Army medic, you may want to serve as a special operations medic. SOCMs serve as medics in United States Special Forces units. Because these units operate on their own for large stretches of time, SOCMs are required to have a much broader medical knowledge. They need to be able to treat traumatic injuries as well as chromic injuries and illnesses.
    • These medics receive the skill indentifier “W1” and serve with Special Forces units like the Rangers.
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    Complete Airborne School. After completing CBT and AIT, you will volunteer to attend Airborne School, a three week program at Fort Benning, Georgia, where you learn the basic paratrooper training. Receiving and passing military parachutist instruction is a requirement of obtaining further special forces training.[13]
    • Airborne School is also widely known as Jump School.
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    Pass the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program (RASP). Once you are accepted into the special forces training program, you will complete RASP, which is the Army Ranger training program. RASP is a physically and psychologically intensive program designed to prepare typically new recruits for assignment to the 75th Ranger Regiment. All soldiers seeking to be SOCM must complete RASP.
    • RASP is an eight-week course that is held at Fort Benning, Georgia.
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    Take the pre-SOCM program. Before beginning official SOCM training, you will receive a six-week civilian college course in physiology and anatomy at Columbus State University. These courses are designed as a crash course intended to give you base of knowledge about the human body.[14]
    • All classes must be passed with an 80% or higher, or the student will not be able to proceed with their training.
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    Finish the SOCM Course. The SOCM course consists of six 6-week blocks of training and a 4-week clinical rotation. Courses are inter-service and include Special Forces “operators” from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. This is a highly competitive training environment that is both mentally and physically strenuous.[15]
    • The six course blocks for SOCM are EMT-Basic, Anatomy and Physiology, Clinical Medicine, Trauma 1, Trauma 2, and Trauma 3.
    • Once you have completed SOCM training, you will have the medical knowledge equivalent of a Nurse Practitioner or a Physician Assistant.

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Categories: Careers in the Military