There are more than 800 different types of jobs available in the various branches of the United States Armed Forces.
There are three ways to say the word "job" in the military. The enlisted jobs in the Army and Marine Corps are known as military occupational specialties or MOS. Enlisted jobs in the Air Force are categorized as Air Force specialty codes (AFSCs) and enlisted jobs in the Navy and Coast Guard are referred to as "rates" or "ratings."
How Enlisted Jobs Are Assigned
The duties of a particular enlisted job, where you will train and live, how will you qualify, in what capacity will you deploy are all issues you need to consider when selecting a military job.
You also need to know the academic requirements you must achieve on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). This series of tests lets you and the military know where your strengths are, and for which jobs you are best suited.
There may also be extended fitness requirements for a job you are seeking (Special Ops, Rescue Swimmer, etc). You may also need a security clearance from the Department of Defense, or U.S. citizenship in order to be selected for some jobs in the military.
The comprehensive military enlisted job lists below will provide you basic details of the jobs available and the requirements to obtain them.
The Army is the largest branch of the U.S. military and as such has the biggest selection of jobs. Each military occupational specialty (MOS) has its own required ASVAB score and some have additional qualification factors.
The Air Force divides their AFSCs (enlisted jobs) into the following overall categories: Operations, Maintenance & Logistics, Support, Medical & Dental, Legal & Chaplain, Finance & Contracting, and Special Investigations.
Similar ratings in the Navy are placed into various "Naval Enlistment Classifications (NEC) or "communities." For example, ratings that are administrative in nature, are placed in the Administration Community. Ratings that deal with aircraft are placed in the Aviation Community. The related links are to the various Navy enlisted communities.
The Marine Corps groups its military occupational specialties with similar functions together into groups called "Occupational Fields," which are represented by the first two digits of the MOS. The first two digits of the MOS grouping identify related jobs (so infantry jobs would have similar looking MOS codes, for example).
Job codes are identified in the last two digits and represent a specific job within that field. The first job you receive in the Marine Corps will be earned after boot camp and may involve advanced operator training and education. This will be called the Primary Marine Occupational Specialty (PMOS).
The Coast Guard Ratings consists of similar jobs as the Navy with a focus on shipboard maintenance and operation as well as aviation repair and maintenance. Other physical ratings such as Coast Guard diver and rescue swimmer are similar in fashion to the Navy jobs. However, the Coast Guard are the police officers of the sea and have legal jurisdiction and arrest authority when confronting criminal activity.