Army Job: MOS 68D Operating Room Specialist

These soldiers prep the operating room for surgery

Military Doctor
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In the Army, an operating room specialist helps nursing staff prepare patients and the operating room for surgery. They also assist medical staff during surgical procedures.

These soldiers aren't required to have medical school or nursing school training before applying to this job, but should be able to handle all aspects of working in a surgical environment. It's not for the faint of heart, but can be a rewarding job, where you're involved in life-and-death situations. 

The Army categorizes this job as military occupational specialty (MOS) 68D. 

Duties of Army Operating Room Specialists

These soldiers are responsible for preparing and maintaining sterile medical supplies and special equipment for Army medical treatment facilities. In addition to prepping patients and operating rooms, which includes keeping equipment sterile and storing medical supplies, operating room specialists perform operating room scrubs, position specialized equipment and supervise subordinate personnel. 

Training for MOS 68D

Like their fellow soldiers, Army operating room specialists spend 10 weeks in basic combat training (otherwise known as boot camp) and 19 weeks in Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at a major military hospital for residency training, which includes on-the-job instruction.

You'll learn the basics of emergency medical treatment, basic nursing care and receive in-depth training of human anatomy and physiology. Soldiers in this job also learn the basics of minor surgical procedures, proper clinical laboratory procedures and methods for diagnosing diseases. 

Possible AIT locations include:

  • Fort Sam Houston, TX
  • Fort Gordon, GA
  • MAMC, Tacoma, WA
  • TAMC, Honolulu, HI
  • WRAMC, Washington, DC
  • Fort Bliss, TX
  • Fort Hood, TX
  • Fort Belvoir, VA
  • Fort Jackson, SC
  • Fort Leavenworth, KS
  • Fort Bragg, NC
  • Fort Campbell, KY
  • Fort Carson, CO
  • Fort Stewart, GA

Qualifying for MOS 68D

If you're interested in this Army job, you'll need a score of 91 or higher on the skilled technical (ST) area of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) tests. There is no Department of Defense security clearance required for this role. However, normal color vision (meaning no colorblindness) is a requirement. 

Prior medical training or certification is not required for soldiers seeking this job, but any such experience likely would be helpful. The most important traits for Army operating room specialists are the ability to remain calm under extreme pressure, and the ability to work in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment.

For obvious reasons, you must be able to tolerate the sight of blood (and other bodily fluids) if you want this job, and you should be free from chronic or recurrent skin infections or allergies, especially when handing antiseptics, disinfectants or other cleaning agents.

Similar Civilian Occupations to MOS 68D

The skills you'll learn in this job will serve you well in the civilian workplace. You'll be qualified to work as a surgical technologist in a healthcare center or hospital operating room. Be sure you're up to speed on any local or state licensing required for a surgical tech job where you live.

Surgical technologists are some of the highest-paid medical personnel without medical school degrees.