As one of the fastest-growing career tracks in the medical field, medical assisting offers a unique variety of work environment options that go far beyond the typical hospital or healthcare setting. From working on a movie set to working in a prison infirmary, a career as a medical assistant can be both exciting and fulfilling work.
Perhaps one of the most rewarding career paths available to medical assistants is the opportunity to serve our country as a Military Medical Assistant. Being a medical assistant in the military offers a fast-paced working environment, the opportunity to work overseas, and the chance to provide patient care to not only service members themselves, but their families as well. As a military medical assistant, you can work near the battlefield with the armed forces, treat military families on a large base, or provide medical services to veterans.
The strength of our military is dependent on the health and wellness of our troops. By becoming a medical assistant in the military, you will play a vital role in ensuring that America’s troops are receiving high-quality patient care so that they can continue to keep our nation safe.
Practice a Wide Range of Duties
Medical assistants in the military are critical assets to providing medical care to service members and their families. From administration to trauma medicine, military medical assistants perform a wide range of duties in an ever-changing environment. Medical assistants perform basic clinical and administrative tasks to assist military physicians and nurses in the treatment of disease and injury in our troops. More specific clinical duties include:
- Administering preventive care
- Assisting physicians during procedures and exams
- Changing bandages and removing sutures
- Educating other military personnel on personal hygiene and first aid
- Sterilizing and cleaning equipment and instruments
Other administrative duties include:
- Scheduling patient appointments
- Arranging for procedures and tests
- Updating patient information
- Informing patients on the proper administration of medication
- Filling prescriptions
Medical assistants working in a combat zone or mobile clinic will have more hands-on, emergency first aid duties and will need to be able to act quickly in high-stress situations. In these situations, they may serve as emergency medical technicians or surgical technicians in the field.
Work in a Variety of Settings
Military medical assistants can work both domestically or internationally in many different healthcare settings. Whether a medical assistant is working in a mobile clinic in a combat zone or aboard a ship overseas depends on which branch of the military they are serving in.
- The U.S. Army
- A medical assistant in the U.S. army is an enlisted and trained Health Care Specialist who works alongside doctors and nurses in military base hospitals and on the battlefield.
- Health Care Specialists in the U.S. Army could be deployed anywhere in the world, from bases in the U.S. to a war-zone in Africa.
- The U.S. Navy
- A medical assistant in the U.S. Navy is called a Hospital Corpsman and they provide essential medical care to sailors and Marines.
- Corpsmen work in a variety of settings including aboard a ship, a base onshore, or alongside Marines in a war-zone.
- The U.S. Air Force
- A military medical assistant in the U.S. Air Force is called a Physician Assistant and can be deployed to Air Force bases all around the world.
- The U.S. Coast Guard
- A military medical assistant in the U.S. Coast Guard is also called a Physician Assistant.
- Unlike other branches, medical assistants in the Coast Guard are commissioned officers and can work alongside the Coast Guard on a base, air station or a ship throughout the East Coast, Gulf Coast, Great Lakes, and Pacific.
Receive Military Training
As a military medical assistant, you are an enlisted service member of the U.S. Military and must complete basic military training. Training is completed in both the classroom and the field, and includes tactical and survival skills, physical training, military life and customs, and weapons training.
Obtain Unique Benefits
Working as a medical assistant in the military provides unique benefits for you and your family that are much more competitive than those offered in the civilian medical assistant field. As a medical assistant in the military, you receive many of the same benefits of regular enlisted soldiers.
As an enlistee of the U.S. Military, you can receive free medical, dental and life insurance, malpractice insurance, free housing, annual base salary and allowances, free meals, student loan repayment and tuition assistance for medical assistant training programs. The military also offers considerable retirement benefits.
What it Takes to Be a Military Medical Assistant
Requirements to become a military medical assistant are usually dependent on which branch of the military you would like to serve in. However, across the board, the expectations of character are the same. If you are patient, empathetic, have a passion for helping others, have the ability to follow directions precisely and are able to work under stressful or emergency conditions, then a career as a military medical assistant could be the perfect fit for you.
More formal requirements include:
- Required to enlist in the military
- Must be 18 years or older to enlist without parental consent
- Must be a U.S. citizen or have permanent residency
- Be proficient in the English language
- A clean criminal record
There is no college degree required to work as a military medical assistant. However, many military medical assistants go will obtain their associate degree during active duty and serve as civilian medical assistants after their stint in the army. Serving as a medical assistant in the military includes tuition assistance, in which the Armed Forces will pay for a portion or all of your education. After a military medical assistant has completed training and education to receive a certificate, diploma, associate or bachelor’s degree, they can go on to work as a civilian medical assistant in any healthcare facility.
To learn more about our Medical Assistant program at Woodruff Medical and the many career path opportunities available to medical assistants, visit our Medical Assistant Program page and start your career saving lives today.