Serving in the armed forces and working in medicine are two of the most secure career paths available. For people who are interesting in combining them by working in medicine within the armed forces, a career path will depend on which branch of the armed services they would like to enter.

You may have heard medical titles thrown around, and may be wondering, “What's the difference between a medic and a corpsman?” The difference between a medic and a corpsman is that a medic serves in the Army, while a corpsman serves in the Navy. Another difference between a medic and a corpsman is how they train for their position.

What Is a Hospital Corpsman?

A hospital corpsman is a Navy sailor who provides medical treatment to other sailors and their families. This happens in a variety of settings. Some hospital corpsmen serve as medical technicians, while others fill roles similar to nurses, administering shots or IVs. Others provide dental care or support sailors who are injured in combat.

Within the designation of hospital corpsman, there are subspecialties. These range from HM 8401, a Search and Rescue Medical Technician, to HM 8408, Cardiovascular Technician. There are a wide variety of medical careers available to a person who is interested in becoming a navy corpsman.

Corpsman C Schools

Being a hospital corpsman (HM) is one of the largest job opportunities in the Navy. Within that designation, there are many specialties available. The training for these specialties is provided at corpsman C schools.

Before attending corpsman C schools, people who want to become a Navy corpsman as an HM 8401 or another designation need to complete basic Navy training. This includes completing basic training and completing “A” school, which is basic job training. A school for Navy corpsmen lasts 14 weeks and takes place at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas.

After that, people who are interested in becoming a corpsman can apply for corpsman C schools, which train them in specialties like HM 8401. The length of time for these trainings depends on what specialty someone is pursing.

What Are The Requirements For a Hospital Corpsman?

Since hospital corpsmen (HM) give medical care to others, including in dangerous war-time situations, they need a fair amount of training. Because of this, in order to become a hospital corpsman a person must enlist for six years.

People who want to become a hospital corpsman must be citizens of the U.S. They need to be able to see color normally and have vision that is correctable to 20/20. People applying to be a corpsman must be at least 18 and have a high school diploma but cannot be older than 28. Hospital corpsmen must also pass a physical fitness test.

Are Corpsmen Doctors?

A hospital corpsman is not a doctor or nurse. However, people in this job description often work alongside doctors, nurses, and others with formal medical training. Although hospital corpsman is a position available to enlisted sailors, people with formal medical training, including nurses and doctors, are able to enter the Navy as officers.

If you are interested in a career as a hospital corpsman in the Navy, talking with a Navy recruiter can help you identify whether you meet the qualifications. They can also help to give you an idea about the how long it will take to become a hospital corpsman in the specialty of your choosing.

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