JANUARY 9, 2015 – So, ETS. Every soldier in the Army is familiar with that term. Often that little date in the future becomes the mantra soldiers cling to, that moment when “this too shall pass.” It’s that glorious hoped for moment where you get your DD214 and the opportunity to return to a life free of APFTs, MREs, ACUs, PCOSs, and acronyms.
If you’re in a medical MOS there is a world of opportunity for you out there. There is a significant shortage of qualified medical personnel out there. With proper advanced preparation you can walk out the gates of “Fort Sam” with a new job already lined up. The question is, what sort of preparation are we talking about?
Thanks to your GI Bill benefits and the Internet, it’s now possible to be trained up and ready to go before your ETS, so that your days as a double digit midget are spent looking forward to it and not spent fretting about whether or not you are ready. Any number of highly respected and decent universities are now able to offer degrees that can be obtained completely online, an ideal circumstance for anyone who could face being deployed at any moment. All you need to do is take advantage of them.
Here are five medical field examples.
66G to Midwife
If you’re a 66G you already have a degree. You’re a certified and trained OB/GYN. Why would you need any further academic work to find work post-ETS?
While all medical fields are in demand, certain fields are outpacing the others in terms of need. One of these areas is that of the Certified Nurse Midwife. CNMs are dedicated personnel who specialize in prenatal and postpartum knowledge, allowing them to provide more focused care than an OB/GYN. In the first decade of the century the number of deliveries attended by SNMs increased by over 20%.
66Gs interested in a more specialized career dedicated to the miracle of birth can receive a CNM degree while still in the service from the University of Cincinnati.
66P to Nurse practitioner
Like the 66G you also already have a degree, a B.S. in Nursing. You’ve been trained to provide family care already. Why go further?
With the critical shortage of doctors, few M.D.s are taking on the traditional and needed role of good old fashioned family doctor. Dedicated Nurse Practitioners with advanced degrees are often stepping up to take on that role. Many private practices that once belonged to doctors are now run by one of these nurses. You already have a good start on the practical knowledge, so additional education can position you to ETS straight into your own family practice.
If you are a 66P interested in the credentials needed to start your own family practice after ETS, check out the Family Nurse Practitioner degree from Maryville University.
68G to Health Administrator
Medical careers aren’t limited to officers by any means. As a 68G you make sure the day to day business of the medical world is taken care of. You deal with compiling records and maintaining paperwork throughout the medical field every day as an enlisted soldier. You are making decisions about how to best ensure the flow of every vital component a hospital needs. It’d be nice to take those skills out into the civilian world after you ETS.
With a degree you can. A Masters of Health Administration degree may sound like a bit of a leap for an enlisted soldier, but it is well within your reach. This degree is similar to the MBA that many other soldiers pursue while they are in, but it is within the medical field. Your field. You already do the job, this just adds further skill and credentialing, enabling you to have an impressive resume when you ETS.
For 68Gs looking to get that extra boost for when they ETS, take a look at the MHA offered by Ohio University.
68Q to Doctor of Pharmacy
From grunts who need aspirin for the ankle they twisted on an FTX to the hydrochlorothiazide the General needs to keep from blowing that vein in his forehead after a bad inspection, you are the one who has the pills. You’re a pharmacist, and when you get out there will be jobs out there waiting. But why walk down the same path every other 68Q has? Why settle for being a pharm tech when you could be a Pharm.D?
Pharm.D is a fairly new field through which pharmacists are stepping up to the plate to ease the burden on M.D.s. Doctors of Pharmacy provide long term tracking and planning for medication therapy programs. Unlike the usual pharm tech, who simply warns patients about meds, these ones monitor the prescription and use of medications throughout their use, checking for side effects or interactions and making specific recommendations for change based on the individual patient’s needs.
Sure, you’re only an enlisted soldier, so this will take some extra work and planning, but with careful planning you can step past all of the other 68Qs into the forefront of the pharmaceutical world when you ETS. Explore your options by looking up the online Pharm.D. Program at the University of Florida.
68W to EMT
It’s a traditional track. You are the first one to get to every wounded or injured soldier in the field in a professional capacity. You have the training and the ingenuity to save lives and get them back to a care station. Many Paramedics and EMTs started out in the military, so it’s an easy direction for you to go when you ETS.
You don’t need a degree to be an EMT, just the proper certifications. Getting a degree, however, will get you a leg up on others trying to snag positions in the field of emergency responders. A number of institutions offer online degrees for EMTs and Paramedics, perfect for the 68W preparing for the post-ETS world. As an example here’s the University of Florida’s program.
Everyone in the medical MOSs look forward to that day far off in the future where they get their discharge papers, whether they are in for 6 or 20 or even 30+. Regardless of when that is going to be it’s a good idea to get ready for it before that day comes. I’ve shown five possible directions you can go to make your MOS into a civilian career after your ETS, but there are many more. I recommend you explore them and make sure you can transition smoothly from the army to civilian world worry free.
James Hinton is a former army aviation soldier who earned his combat patch in Afghanistan. Since his ETS he has spent his time advising other former soldiers on the transition to civilian life and boring his daughters with stories about army cooking.