The Army offers around 200 different jobs, known as MOSs (Military Occupational Specialties), for enlisted soldiers. With so many options, it’s hard to narrow them down to the top 10 Army MOSs.
Of course, the higher score you get on your ASVAB and the more schooling you have under your belt, the greater your opportunities are. But what makes these 10 Army jobs the best, anyway? Well, we used three factors to determine our final list.
- Do soldiers with the particular MOS enjoy it? For the most accurate information, we’re looking at Indeed.com, which has thousands of reviews for almost any job out there.
- Is the position highly compensated? We’re using average salaries according to Glassdoor.com. These can range greatly based on a soldier’s rank and experience.
- Does the job have a direct civilian equivalent? Are you gonna get hired when you leave the military?
So based on enjoyment, compensation and civilian hireability, here are the top 10 Army MOSs in 2019.
10. Combat Engineer (12B)
This is a rough-and-tumble, hands-on job. You get all the excitement of the field, and need to problem solve on the spot — oftentimes in high-stress situations. 12Bs construct fighting positions, help the team navigate rough terrain, place and detonate explosives, detect mines, and a lot more.
Review: “If you’re a guy like me that loves the outdoors, adventure, explosions, and automatic weapons; 12B is the place for you.”
Average compensation: $30,000-35,000. This isn’t necessarily including pay during deployment or hazardous duty pay.
Civilian equivalent? MAYBE. This one is a bit trickier because there is no direct equivalent; but there are tons of civilian jobs that could use a 12B’s skillset. A few are: civil engineer, electrician, and construction worker.
9. Combat Medic (68W)
68Ws are the EMTs/paramedics for the military. They’re the first medical care a wounded soldier is likely to see, often before even leaving the battlefield. It’s a fast-paced and high-stress job that involves providing emergency medical treatment to soldiers and evacuating them from the field. But the payout – which is, saving lives — is what makes it all worth it.
Review: “Many days as a medic involve cross-training. There is a great opportunity for learning and advancement. The benefits are easily the best you could ask for.”
Civilian equivalent? YES. Medical training is great to have going into the civilian workforce and finding a job shouldn’t be hard at all. You can continue as an EMT/paramedic or seek additional training for endless opportunities in the medical field.
8. Air Traffic Control Operator (15Q)
15Qs are an unseen but vital part of aviation. Their main duties are to track airplanes and give them takeoff and landing instructions, ensuring that every part of a flight goes smoothly and without a hitch. It’s a demanding but rewarding job, which is why they land in our top 10 Army MOSs.
Review: “As an Air Traffic Control Specialist my job was stressful and challenging but I enjoyed every minute of it. The most enjoyable part of the job was traveling, making lifelong friends, and going on adventures that I would never have had the opportunity to experience.”
Average compensation: $49,909.
Civilian equivalent? YES. Air traffic control is needed at literally every working airport. Many veterans who worked with planes in the military go on to work with them as civilians.
7. Signal Support Systems Specialist (25U)
MOS 25U has a long-winded name, but in the Army they just call them Commo guys (or girls). Their primary job is to make sure that radio systems, computers, local networks, generators, etc. are all working properly.
Review: “I did this job for 23 plus years. I grew mentally, professionally, and maturely with the job. It helped me and my family in many ways. I would suggest this career route for anyone.”
Average compensation: $41,585.
Civilian equivalent? YES. Communications specialists are needed in practically every company. Since most 25Us have worked with tons of different equipment and in all types of environments, they are bound to be successful in a civilian communications job.
6. Cryptologic Linguist (35P)
35Ps are expert translators. The first part of their title – cryptologic – refers to the code-breaking aspect of their job. The second part – linguist – refers to their understanding of different languages and how language works. Using signals equipment, they identify and translate foreign communications.
Review: “No 2 days were the same in my 5 years in the Army. I learned to adjust and succeed in a wide variety of situations, whether it be learning a foreign language, dealing directly with foreign military counterparts, driving military vehicles, maintaining information systems, or performing intensive physical training. After 5 years in the military, I am more able to thrive in a diverse work environment.”
Average compensation: Around $40,000.
Civilian equivalent? YES. There is high demand for translators/linguists, especially if you are able to understand more than two different languages. Being multilingual also makes you more hireable in other positions.
5. Biomedical Equipment Specialist (68A)
Biomed is for enlisted guys and gals who want a solid MOS at the entry level. The job is basically all about medical equipment. You get to fix it, maintain it, write reports on it, install it — the whole works. If you think about it, biomed is a pretty important job.
Review: “If you’re going to join the Army, doing so as a biomed is the way to go. It’s one of a handful of jobs that translates directly to a great career outside the Army.”
Average compensation: $42,140.
Civilian equivalent? YES. The medical field is one of the most lucrative today in the civilian world. Biomedical equipment specialists are needed outside of the military, too, and the skills translate to a ton of technical jobs in hospitals everywhere.
4. Intelligence Analyst (35F)
Is being behind the scenes more your style? Then 35F could be the MOS for you. These soldiers process and analyze intel that the Army uses to defeat its enemies. Primary duties include establishing regular records and communication, and assessing the significance and reliability of information.
Review: “As an Intelligence Analyst, my main task was to derive information from all intelligence disciplines to identify possible threats, trends, and provide executive commanders with possible courses of action.”
Average compensation: $53,522.
Civilian equivalent? YES. Working in intel provides soldiers with critical skills that translate to many high-profile jobs in the civilian world. Top agencies to work for after military service are the CIA and NSA.
3. Army Military Working Dog Handler (31K)
When it comes to the top 10 Army MOSs, this one was a bit of a no-brainer. Getting paid to work with dogs all day is “dream job” material for a ton of people. MWD (Military Working Dog) Handlers train their dogs to perform military operations overseas and at home, from attacking threats to sniffing out bombs. Dogs are also a powerful asset to soldiers suffering with PTSD.
Review: “My experience the last nine years and nine months has been unforgettable in 1st Ranger Battalion and as part of the Canine program. Working with military working dogs has been extremely rewarding. Being able to see the dog team grow into a better working force and being a part of the training that contributes to the success and growth of a team has been extremely enjoyable.”
Average compensation: Around $55,000.
Civilian equivalent? YES. Handling MWDs translates directly to training dogs in law enforcement, and the two often go hand-in-hand. 31Ks can likely find other jobs in the pet industry as well.
2. Avionic Mechanic (15N)
If the word “greasemonkey” comes to mind when looking at a 15N, you might want to reevaluate. Avionic Mechanics know how to fix and maintain pretty much every system on various Army aircraft. Not only is their job vitally important, but it’s a great industry with lots of learning and advancement opportunities.
Review: “I have enjoyed every bit of time in Army Aviation. The people are really down to earth and very personable. The responsibilities of aviation maintainers have created a unique group of individuals who are both real and engaging.”
Average compensation: $38,689.
Civilian equivalent? YES, YES, YES. Coming out of the Army and into civilian aviation, you’re bound to have a ton of open doors. The average salary for an aviation mechanic in the U.S. is about $55,000 – but there’s always room to learn more skills and grow with the industry.
1. Aviation Officer (16A)
Military pilot is #1 on our list of top 10 Army MOSs. More specifically, helicopter pilot. This does require a lot of training and is only for those driven to rank up and succeed. Aviation Officers lead military operations flying helicopters such as the UH-72 Lakota, MH-6 Little Bird, UH-60 Black Hawk, AH-64 Apache, and CH-47 Chinook.
Review: “On a daily basis I would be presented with challenges to overcome. From weather, personnel or aircraft decisions. I thoroughly enjoyed my colleagues and fellow aviators, have met life long friends and professionals as a result. Being a part of military aviation has been one of the most rewarding accomplishments of my life.”
Average compensation: $90,634.
Civilian equivalent? YES. As mentioned before, the aviation industry is excellent employment – especially when you already have your foot in the door. With flying experience in the Army you are almost automatically guaranteed a job doing the same thing out of uniform.
For more, read about the 10 most dangerous jobs in the military.