Seven enlisted medical specialties will get their own military occupational specialty codes beginning Oct. 1.
The Army is restructuring its 68W health care specialist MOS by splitting off seven specialties that used to be additional skill identifiers and making them stand-alone MOSs.
The goal is to better and more efficiently manage the soldiers’ careers, make better use of their specialty skills, and ensure combat medics, who also fall under the 68W MOS, receive the specific training they need to specialize in trauma care, officials said.
The new stand-alone MOSs are:
M6, practical nursing specialist, will become 68C.
N3, occupational therapy specialist, will become 68L.
N9, physical therapy specialist, will become 68F.
WP1, orthopedic specialist, will become 68B.
P2, ear, nose and throat specialist, will become 68U.
P3, eye specialist, will become 68Y.
Y6, cardiovascular specialist, will become 68N.
About 2,500 soldiers — 1,500 of them practical nursing specialists — will be affected by the new MOSs.
That leaves about 18,300 soldiers in the 68W MOS, the second-largest MOS in the Army behind the infantry.
With the new stand-alone MOSs, these soldiers will no longer have to complete the 16 weeks of basic medic training that all 68W soldiers go through, said Phil Reidinger, spokesman for the Army Medical Department Center and School at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
Instead, after basic training, they will attend the four-week Introduction to Basic Army Medicine course at AMEDD Center and School at Fort Sam Houston, where they will receive a basic foundation in anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, first aid, and field sanitation, Reidinger said.
They will then split off into courses designed for their specialties, which will be taught at the Medical Education and Training Campus, also at Fort Sam Houston.
The courses vary in length, from two weeks for eye specialists (68Y) to 18 weeks for cardiovascular specialists (68N).
Upon graduation, the newly trained soldiers are assigned to billets specific to their specialties, Reidinger said.
Because these soldiers won’t have to complete the 68W basic medic training course, they will not have to attain and maintain Emergency Medical Technician-Basic certification, Reidinger said.
They also will not have to spend two years after basic medic training in the Army before applying for their specialties.
Soldiers in the grades of E-1 to E-5 who already possess these additional skill identifiers will be converted to their respective new MOS, according to guidance from the Army about the upcoming changes.
Staff sergeants through master sergeants in these specialties, who typically play a more supervisory rather than technical role, can request to be converted to their new MOS or submit a request to remain a 68W.
Giving these seven specialties their own MOSs will save training time and dollars, and it also allows the Army to recruit for specific skill sets, Reidinger said.
“It allows us to be very specific on the different types of specialties we need in the medical force and to recruit for those specialties,” he said.