The Best Career Paths for an Army Officer
A branch is a grouping of officers making up an arm or service of the Army. Officers are accessed upon commissioning into a single branch. Throughout their company grade years, it where they are assigned, developed and promoted. In their fifth and sixth year, they may receive a functional area designation within the branch.
Special Forces is the only nonaccession branch, recruiting officers with a minimum of three years of experience from the accession branches.
Officers serve their first eight to 12 years developing the leadership and tactical skills associated with their branch. They wear their branch insignia throughout their military service. All career branches are in the Operations Career Field.
Assignments for Army Officers
Most officers will serve in positions from within their basic branch through their company grade years. Some officers will serve in a functional area or generalist positions that are not related to a specific branch or functional area after they are branch qualified as captains. Following Career Field designation, officers are assigned to positions within their Career Field (basic branch or FA) or to generalist positions. This type of assignment pattern promotes assignment stability and development within a branch or functional area.
Functional Areas for Army Officers
A functional area is a grouping of officers by technical specialty or skill, which usually requires significant education, training, and experience.
An officer receives his or her functional area between the fifth and sixth years of service. It is designated considering individual preference, academic background, the manner of performance, training, and experience, and needs of the Army. Here is a listing of the Branches and Functional Areas for Army officers:
Branch 11 Infantry: The infantry officer is responsible for leading the infantry and combined armed forces during land combat.
- 11A Infantry Officer
Branch 12 Corps of Engineers: An engineer officer is responsible for providing full support to the wide range of engineering duties in the Army. They can help build structures, develop civil works programs and even provide combat support.
- 12A Engineer
- 12B Combat Engineer (del 1310 / 1110 - 14)
- 12D Facilities/Contact Construction Management Engineer (FCCME) (del 1310 / 1110 - 14)
Branch 13 Field Artillery: The field artillery officer leads the field artillery branch, who neutralizes the enemy by cannon, rocket, and missile fire. The officer must be an expert in tactics, techniques, and procedures for the employment of fire support systems.
- 13A Field Artillery Officer
Branch 14 Air Defense Artillery: The air defense artillery officer leads the air defense artillery branch, who protects U.S. forces from aerial attack, missile attack, and enemy surveillance. They must be an expert in tactics, techniques, and procedures for the employment of air defense systems. They also become an expert in one or more systems including the PATRIOT missile system and the AVENGER system.
- 14A Air Defense Artillery Officer
Branch 15 Aviation: Aviation officers coordinate/lead operations using Army helicopters: OH-58 Kiowa, UH-60 Black Hawk, CH-47 Chinook and the AH-64 Apache. These operations can haul troops and carry supplies, as well as provide quick-strike and long-range target engagement.
- 15A Aviation, General
- 15B Aviation Combined Arms Operations
- 15C Aviation All-source Intelligence
Branch 18 Special Forces: The Special Forces officer is the team leader of an operational detachment alpha, a highly trained 12-man team that is deployed in rapid-response situations. The officer organizes the mission, outfits the team and debriefs them on the mission objective.
- 18A Special Forces Officer
Branch 19 Armor: Armor officers are responsible for tank and cavalry/forward reconnaissance operations on the battlefield.
The role of an armor officer is to be a leader in operations specific to the armor branch and to lead others in many areas of combat operations.
- 19A Armor, General
- 19B Armor
- 19C Cavalry
Branch 25 Signal Corps: The signal officer leads the Signal Corps, which is responsible for the Army’s entire systems of communication. Officers plan and execute all aspects of communication on a mission and are critical to the Army’s continued success.
- 25A Signal, General
Branch 27 Judge Advocate General's Corps: The Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps attorney is responsible for offering legal support that involves military operations. They primarily focus on the areas of criminal law, legal assistance, civil/administrative law, labor/employment law, international/operational law and contract/fiscal law.
- 27A Judge Advocate General
- 27B Military Judge
- 31A Military Police Officer
Branch 35 Military Intelligence: The Army’s military intelligence is responsible for all collected intelligence during Army missions. They provide essential information that often saves the Soldiers fighting on front lines.
- 35D All-Source Intelligence
- 35E Counter Intelligence (CI)
- 35G Signals Intelligence/Electronic Warfare (SIGINT/EW)
Branch 36 Financial Management: The financial manager is in charge of the Army’s Finance Corps, who are responsible for sustaining missions through purchases of services and supplies.
- 36A Financial Manager
Branch 37 Psychological Operations: Psychological operations officer conducts operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences. Psychological Operations leaders lead from the front and adjust to dynamic environments that are constantly changing and challenging.
- 37A Psychological Operations
- 37X Psychological Operations, Designated
Branch 38 Civil Affairs (AA AND USAR): Civil affairs officers act as a liaison between the Army and civilian authorities and populations.
- 38A Civil Affairs (AA and USAR)
- 38X Civil Affairs, Designated
Branch 42 Adjutant General Corps: The Adjutant General Corps officer plans, develops and operates the Army’s personnel, administrative, and community activities support systems to build and sustain combat readiness.
- 42B Human Resources Officer
- 42C Army Bands
- 42H Senior Human Resources Officer
Branch 56 Chaplain: The Army chaplain has the responsibility of caring for the spiritual well-being of Soldiers and their Families.
- 56A Chaplain
- 56D Clinical Pastoral Educator
- 56X Chaplain Candidate
Branch 60-62 Medical Corps: The Medical Corps is composed exclusively of commissioned officers who have a degree of Doctor of Medicine from medical school or Doctor of Osteopathy from osteopathic school acceptable to HQDA.
- 60A Operational Medicine
- 60B Nuclear Medicine Officer
- 60C Preventive Medicine Officer
- 60D Occupational Medicine Officer
- 60F Pulmonary Disease/Critical Care Officer
- 60G Gastroenterologist
- 60H Cardiologist
- 60J Obstetrician and Gynecologist
- 60K Urologist
- 60L Dermatologist
- 60M Allergist, Clinical Immunologist
- 60N Anesthesiologist
- 60P Pediatrician
- 60Q Pediatric Sub-Specialist
- 60R Child Neurologist
- 60S Ophthalmologist
- 60T Otolaryngologist
- 60U Child Psychiatrist
- 60V Neurologist
- 60W Psychiatrist
- 61A Nephrologist
- 61B Medical Oncologist/Hematologist
- 61C Endocrinologist
- 61D Rheumatologist
- 61E Clinical Pharmacologist
- 61F Internist
- 61G Infectious Disease Officer
- 61H Family Medicine
- 61J General Surgeon
- 61K Thoracic Surgeon
- 61L Plastic Surgeon
- 61M Orthopedic Surgeon
- 61N Flight Surgeon
- 61P Physiatrist
- 61Q Radiation Oncologist
- 61R Diagnostic Radiologist
- 61U Pathologist
- 61W Peripheral Vascular Surgeon
- 61Z Neurosurgeon
- 62A Emergency Physician
- 62B Field Surgeon
Branch 63 Dental Corps: The Dental Corps is a special branch of the Army composed of commissioned officers who are graduates of a dental school accredited by the American Dental Association and acceptable to The Surgeon General.
- 63A General Dentist
- 63B Comprehensive Dentist
- 63D Periodontist
- 63E Endodontist
- 63F Prosthodontist
- 63H Public Health Dentist
- 63K Pediatric Dentist
- 63M Orthodontist
- 63N Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
- 63P Oral Pathologist
- 63R Executive Dentist
Branch 64 Veterinary Corps: The Veterinary Corps (VC) consists exclusively of commissioned officers who are qualified doctors of veterinary medicine.
- 64A Field Veterinary Service
- 64B Veterinary Preventive Medicine
- 64C Veterinary Laboratory Animal Medicine
- 64D Veterinary Pathology
- 64E Veterinary Comparative Medicine
- 64F Veterinary Clinical Medicine
- 64Z Senior Veterinarian (IMMATERIAL)
Branch 65 Army Medical Specialist Corps: The Medical Specialist Corps is made up of clinical dieticians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and physician's assistants.
- 65A Occupational Therapy
- 65B Physical Therapy
- 65C Dietitian
- 65D Physician Assistant
- 65X Specialist Allied Operations
Branch 66 Army Nurse Corps: The Army Nurse Corps provides the nursing care and services essential to the mission of the Army Medical Department. Responsible for all facets of nursing relating to the planning, management, operation, control, coordination and evaluation of all nursing practices.
- 66B Army Public Health Nurse
- 66C Psychiatric/Behavioral Health Nurse
- 66E Perioperative Nurse
- 66F Nurse Anesthetist
- 66G Obstetrics and Gynecol
- 66H Medical-Surgical Nurse
- 66N Generalist Nurse
- 66P Family Nurse Practitioner
- 66R Psychiatric/Behavioral Health Nurse Practitioner (add 1304 / 1110 - 13)
- 66W Certified Nurse Midwife (add 1304 / 1110 - 12)
Branch 67 Medical Service Corps: From medical fields such as optometry and podiatry to laboratory sciences to behavioral sciences, the Army Medical Service Corps includes many areas of specialty.
- 67A Health Services
- 67B Laboratory Sciences
- 67C Preventive Medicine Sciences
- 67D Behavioral Sciences
- 67E Pharmacy
- 67F Optometry
- 67G Podiatry
- 67J Aeromedical Evacuation
Branch 74 Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN): A Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear officer commands the Army branch that specifically defends against the threat of CBRN weapons and Weapons of Mass Destruction. These officers lead an extraordinary chemical unit that is completely dedicated to protecting our nation.
- 74A Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Officer
Branch 88 Transportation Corps: The Transportation officer manages all facets of transportation related to the planning, operation, coordination and evaluation of all methods of transportation including multi-modal systems.
- 88A Transportation, General
Branch 90 Logistics: Logistics Corps Officers are competent in planning and directing multi-functional logistical operations across the tactical, operational and strategic spectrum of logistical functions of maneuver sustainment.
- 90A Logistics
Branch 91 Ordnance: Ordnance officers are responsible for ensuring that weapons systems, vehicles, and equipment are ready and available—and in perfect working order—at all times. They also manage the developing, testing, fielding, handling, storage and disposal of munitions.
- 91A Maintenance & Munitions Materiel Officer
Branch 92 Quartermaster Corps: The quartermaster officer provides supply support for Soldiers and units in field services, aerial delivery, and material and distribution management.
- 92A Quartermaster, General