Navy hospital corpsmen look after the health and safety of sailors both at shore and on the seas. Corpsmen start their careers by attending the "A" School course, which provides a them with the basic medical skills necessary to handle common medical problems, such a broken arm or the flu. However, as corpsmen progress in their careers, they choose to specialize in a given field. The first step of this specialization to attend the "C" School for their preferred field. There are about 20 Corpsman "C" schools available.

Surface Force Independent Duty Corpsman

This "C" School leads to a Naval Enlisted Classification (NEC) code of HM-8425. The Surface Force Independent Duty Corpsman (SF-IDC) is an enlisted medical technician with advanced training in making physical diagnoses, pharmacology, sanitation and emergency medicine. Graduates of this course will be to function aboard ships and at shore without the supervision of a medical officer. Students must have already completed the Corpsman "A" School Course and hold the rank of E-5 (petty officer second class) at the time classes commence. Students must also have completed six years of service in the Navy, with four years as a Corpsman. During the course there is risk of exposure to health hazards; therefore, pregnant sailors cannot attend.

Fleet Marine Force Reconnaissance Independent Duty Corpsman

FMFR-IDC travel and provide medical assistance to Marine Corps ground forces. They may serve aboard a ship or at a shore station, basically wherever Marines are. Like SF-IDC, this "C" school trains corpsmen to be able to function without the presence of a Naval medical officer. This is especially important because these corpsmen are often out on the front lines, far from organized medical facilities. The course covers advance trauma, surgical and veterinary skills. Enrollment is restricted to males, and students must already hold the Special Warfare qualification. Upon graduation from this "C" school, students must maintain worldwide assignable status.

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Deep Sea Diving Independent Duty Corpsman

This school trains corpsmen who are skilled in diving medicine techniques. Graduates will be able to serve aboard ships that house diving units and perform diving operations without officer oversight. Sailors will train in diagnosing diving-related illness, managing medical emergencies and performing some basic surgical procedures. They will also review the basics of diving procedures and diving equipment. Students for this course must meet the Navy diver height and weight standards and they must also poses a Secret-level security clearance. This "C" school is only open to enlisted personnel in the ranks of E-5 (petty officer second class) to E-7 (chief petty officer).

About the Author

Liz Frazier has been producing Web content, instructional articles and trivia for websites such as and since 2008. Her writing interests lie primarily in the areas of politics (specifically public administration and elections), the military, education and forced migration. Frazier has a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from California State University, Northridge.