Preventive medicine specialists are part of the team charged with studying and preventing the spread of infection and disease within the Army. These soldiers conduct and assist with preventive medicine inspections, surveys, and laboratory procedures.
While they aren’t doctors, soldiers in this job, which is military occupational specialty (MOS) 68S, play a key role in keeping the Army healthy.
Duties for MOS 68S
These soldiers supervise small preventive medicine services or units and organize water and food sanitation programs. They're also charged with overseeing programs that keep track of conditions in various environments soldiers encounter, to collect and analyze any pertinent data, and supervising the administrative functions of any preventive medicine activities, such as record-keeping and the like.
This isn't a role that will directly treat patients, but these soldiers do the crucial work of studying what makes soldiers ill, how infections spread in the Army and how to prevent outbreaks of disease among the military.
Training for Army Preventive Medicine Specialists
Job training for a preventive medicine specialist requires ten weeks of Basic Combat Training and 15 weeks of Advanced Individual Training, which includes on-the-job instruction and practice testing specimens. You'll test a lot of specimens and analyze a lot of information in this role, but even if you have prior experience, you'll need to learn the Army's protocols for this kind of work.
Some of the skills you’ll learn in training for MOS 68S include procedures for sanitation inspection, understanding of parasites and diseases affecting humans, and bacteriological analysis of potable water.
Qualifying for MOS 68S
Soldiers in this job must score a 101 in the skilled technical (ST) aptitude area of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test.
If you have interest in biology, chemistry or algebra (or a combination of all three), you'll probably be a good fit for this position. You'll need to be able to follow highly detailed and technical procedures precisely, and have a strong interest in technical, epidemiological and other scientific work.
There's no security clearance requirement, but you'll need normal color vision, meaning no colorblindness. You can receive credit for this job for completion of one year each of high school level chemistry and algebra, or their equivalents.
Civilian Occupations Similar to MOS 68S
This job prepares soldiers for post-military careers in a variety of jobs in health and safety fields. In particular, they'll be qualified to serve as occupational health and safety specialists.