Serving as a combat medic in the military can set you up for a career in the medical field long after your military career is over. There are different paths you can take, and different ways to continue helping others in this way during your career.

Civilian Jobs For Combat Medics After Military Service

The following are civilian jobs that would be good fits for Combat Medics after leaving military service.

Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)

EMTs or Emergency Medical Technicians focus on life support techniques in first-responder situations. They do CPR, tourniquet, and treatment of wounds. They work in a high stakes position, they need to act quickly and accurately, and as an EMT they use a lot of the skills that you have used as a combat medic during deployments or even when you were stationed at home. EMTs can be called to work at car accidents, natural disasters, in-home emergencies, and accidents. They will also transport people to hospitals and other medical facilities.

To become an EMT you would need to go through EMT basic training. If you have served in the Army or the Air Force as a combat medic, then you were most likely required to have obtained certification from the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians at the EMT level or higher. This can make for an easier transition, however, you will still need to be certified in your state.

If you don’t have this certification, you can complete the training at a technical college or community college. Programs can be from six months to two years long. During this training, you will learn about how to work with patients, how to handle emergency situations, how to use field equipment, and other similar skills that will require working with the public in this way. Some programs will require a CPR class as well. After you finish your schooling you would need to pass a national or state exam in order to be certified depending on what your state requires. You will also need to be able to pass a background check. You can then go on to complete more advanced training if you desire to do so. As an EMT you would work in shifts and could work for a private ambulance company, a fire department, a hospital or other rescue services.

According to Glassdoor.com, the average salary of an EMT as of July 15, 2019, is $29,291.

Physician Assistant

Physician Assistants meet with patients one-on-one, collaborate with a team of medical professionals, create a treatment plan, or have a direct hand in administering medication. They help doctors, surgeons, and other medical professionals. They work in all areas of medical care from primary care to emergency services and beyond.

To become a physician assistant you would need to have a master’s degree. Having a year of experience between receiving your 4-year degree and a master’s degree can also be a good idea. Working as an RN, EMT or paramedic would also help you in this career path. Having experience as a combat medic can be a building block to a career as a physician assistant. Having a bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, psychology, sociology, or nutrition is a good idea for this type of work. After you complete your 4-year degree, you would need to apply for an ARC-PA program, then pass the PANCE licensing exam to become a PA after you graduate. Each state, including Washington DC, also has its own licensing system. You can work as a PA in a physician’s office, a hospital, out-patient clinics, or other health care settings.

According to Glassdoor.com, the average salary of a Physician Assistant as of July 15, 2019, is $105,000.

ER Nurse

An ER Nurse works in the Emergency Room, in a fast-paced position, helping and treating patients. They need to be good at thinking quick, making decisions, and multitasking. They need to be able to adapt to what each day might bring, and the situation of the people coming in might need help with. They need to assess the patients and efficiently triage them. The skills you have learned by thinking quick as a combat medic can help you in this career path.

To work as an ER nurse, you will need to have your ADN or BSN. You can go for a two-year degree to get your RN or a four-year to get your BSN. Many hospitals today are wanting nurses with a BSN, or they will want you to get that degree while working there. You should also consider getting a Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) credential. It is a nationally accepted certification for ER nurses. In order to take this exam, you will need to have had at least two years of RN experience in an emergency room. Some schools do offer a military-medic/corpsman to ADN transition program or they offer educational credit for your time in service in the medical field. After you finish your schooling you would need to take the NCLEX-RN exam and become licensed in the state you want to work in. ER nurses would tend to work in a hospital.

According to Glassdoor.com, the average salary of an ER Nurse as of April 25th, 2019 is $74,973

Surgical Tech

A surgical tech will assist doctors and other medical personnel before, during, and after operational procedures. They are trained individuals who hold advanced certifications, work long hours, and are key members of the surgical teams. They help with the general functions of an OR, prepare patients for procedures, help transfer the patient and get them ready for surgery. Learning how to prepare to treat patients, and knowing about their care will help you in this career.

To become a surgical tech you can get a certificate, diploma, or an associates degree. These programs can be between 12 and 24 months, based on what you want to do. You can get these degrees at a community college, technical or vocational school, or even at a university. You would want to make sure any surgical tech program was accredited by the CAAHEP or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) if you want to take the certified surgical technologist (CST) exam. Some states require this and others do not but most employers will. You will need to make sure you have your high school diploma or GED, and even take certain classes such as biology. You also need a course in CPR. There could also be specific programs for former military to become a surgical tech. Most of these jobs will be in hospitals but you can also find a job in a physician’s office, an outpatient care center, and even a dentist’s office as well.

According to Glassdoor.com, the average salary of a Surgical Tech as of July 11th, 2019, is $44,550.

No matter how long you have spent working as a combat medic or in a similar job in the military, there could be a place for you in the civilian medical field. From a nurse, to an EMT or beyond, you do have a lot of options. Just make sure you learn about what education and licenses are required, and what you already qualify for because of your time in service.   

Combat Medic MOS/AFSC/Rating

You can find Combat Medics in the Army under the 68W MOS, or in special forces under the 18D MOS.

In the Air Force, you can find the Combat Medic Pararescue PJ job.

In the Navy, they are called a Navy Corpsmen, and the Marine Corps use Navy Corpsmen instead of having their own type of medic.

In the Coast Guard, you can find a Health Services Tech.

Combat Medic Military Job Description

A combat medic will usually deploy to provide emergency care on the battlefield and evaluate injured personnel. They may also work at treatment facilities behind the lines or at military installations around the world. With the training and care they give while in the military, transitioning to a civilian medical career makes a lot of sense. Here are a few options to consider after working as a combat medic or in a similar job in the military.

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