Army Job Description: 68K Medical Laboratory Specialist

This job is an important part of Army medical operations

OYUGIS, Kenya – Inside Rachuonyo district hospital, Simba Mobagi peers through his laboratory’s only microscope at a sick woman’s blood sample.
••• / Rick Scavetta, U.S. Army Africa

As integral members of the medical laboratory technician team, Medical Laboratory Specialists conduct tests on the tissue, blood and body fluids of patients. Their work is crucial to the medical staff, as it helps doctors and nurses diagnose and properly treat illness. 

This key Army job is categorized as military occupational specialty MOS 68K. You'll work alongside other medical professionals, and although you're not a doctor or nurse, your work is a key part of keeping the Army and its troops healthy. 

Duties of MOS 68K 

Like their civilian counterparts, these soldiers perform a range of lab procedures, including blood banking, clinical laboratory procedures in hematology, clinical chemistry, serology, bacteriology, and urinalysis.

They'll collect patient blood specimens, and pack, inspect and distribute blood and blood products (such as donated plasma), and maintain laboratory equipment. It is a job for someone interested in medical procedures who enjoys examining bacteria and parasites under a microscope. 

Training for MOS 68K

The job training for an Army medical laboratory specialist requires 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training and a full year — 52 weeks — of Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at a major military hospital for residency training, including practice-testing specimens. Possible 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 Leonard Wood
  • West Point, NY
  • Fort Knox, KS
  • Fort Riley, KS
  • Fort Sill, OK
  • Fort Polk, LA
  • Fort Bragg, NC
  • Fort Campbell, KY
  • Fort Carson, CO
  • Fort Stewart, GA

Wherever you end up having your AIT, you'll learn medical lab procedures, including administration and record keeping, and you'll study human parasites and diseases. If you have interest or affinity for biology, chemistry, and algebra, those will all serve you well in this MOS.

As you might imagine, the work you'll do as a medical laboratory specialist in the Army is very detail-oriented work, so the ability to follow detailed procedures precisely is crucial. An eye for detail and the ability to focus for long periods of time are also good skills to have for MOS 68K.

Qualifying for MOS 68K

You'll need a score of at least 106 in the skilled technical (ST) section of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) tests.

There's no Department of Defense security clearance required for this position, but you'll need to demonstrate completion of high school-level chemistry and algebra, or equivalent exams, to be recognized by an Army Education Center. You'll probably have to produce official high school and college transcripts. 

Civilian Occupations Similar to MOS 68K

There are numerous civilian jobs that will be open to you after you have served as a military laboratory specialist. You'll be qualified to work as a medical or lab technologist at a hospital or medical laboratory, and will have paved the way for a potential career in other aspects of lab work or medicine.