What is MOS?What is an MOS, or Military Occupational Specialty? This is a term used by specific military branches to refer to jobs within that branch. There is an extremely wide range of jobs within the military, from infantryman to human resources specialist, and each job has its own unique training. In this article we’ll look at how the MOS system works in the Army, what exactly your MOS designation means and some of the different MOS categories, and how you choose and qualify for an MOS.
MOS in the Military: An In-Depth Explanation
Career Management Fields
Below are some of the Career Management Fields. Each of these fields has anywhere from a few to over a dozen possible MOS designations.
- MOS 09: Interpreter/Translator
o Interprets and translates foreign languages (both spoken & written) into English, and vice versa
- MOS 11: The Infantry Branch
o These designations make up the main combat force on the ground, tasked with defeating enemy ground troops. Recruits are assigned MOS 11X as enlistees, and are assigned as Infantryman (11B) or Indirect Fire Infantryman (11C) during training.
- MOS 12: The Corps of Engineers
o Specialists who are adept at building, demolition, and mobility. They assist on the group to build defenses and obliterate obstacles
- MOS 13: Field Artillery Soldiers
o Control large firepower during combat operations by managing various electronics and communications platforms, in addition to weapons systems and munitions.
- MOS 14 & 15: Air Defense
o MOS 14 Units operate and maintain systems designed to impede or intercept enemy-fired long- and short-range missiles. Patriot Batteries are around the world to deter and challenge threats of incoming enemy missiles.
o MOS 15 Operates and maintains helicopters, planes, and unmanned aerial vehicles. They also transport equipment and personnel, and deliver combat action to enemy ground troops.
- MOS 17: Cyber Operations Specialists
o This designation provides Army intelligence and information. They safeguard digital data from enemy hackers by maintaining security and introducing new cyber security.
- MOS 18: Army Special Forces
o Special Forces train allied troops and engage in secretive direct-action missions around the world. Army Special Forces members earn the right to wear the prestigious Green Beret upon completion of rigorous qualifications courses.
- MOS 19: Army Armor
o This designation employs armored vehicles such as the M1 Abrams Tank and the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.
- MOS 25: The Signal Corps
o This designation provides secure and reliable communications between soldiers, helicopters, and ground commanders. They also intercept, gather, and decipher enemy communications.
- MOS 29: Electronic Warfare Specialists
o Assist troops by using electromagnetic and directed energy to control and defeat the enemy’s electronic systems.
- MOS 31: Military Police
o Function largely as regular police departments do, by preventing crime and responding to emergencies on Army bases around the world. They also investigate crimes on base and have arrest authority. Army Working Dog Handlers also fall under MOS 31; you can read more about their training here: How to become a K9 Dog Handler in the Army | Garmont Tactical
- MOS 35: Military Intelligence
o This designation collects and shares information regarding targeting, enemy forces, and capabilities with combat soldiers.
- MOS 37: Psychological Operations
o This designation influences local populations to not join insurgencies, as well as persuade enemy combatants to switch sides and leave the battlefield.
- MOS 42: Adjutant General’s Corps
o Provide personnel and administrative support to Army field commanders, including maintaining personnel records, handling mail, and tracking awards & promotions.
- MOS 46: Public Affairs
o Develops & implements public affairs programs and activities to support the US Army’s mission, and serves as liaison to media outlets.
- MOS 56: Religious Affairs Specialists
o Plan and support worship services and religious support operations.
- MOS 68: Army Healthcare
o A full range of medical professionals who assist in combat zones and stateside hospitals.
- MOS 79: Recruiting & Retention
o This is where you will find recruiters and career counselors.
- MOS 88: Transportation Specialists
o Operate and repair transportation vehicles across the Army arsenal, including air, land, sea and rail.
- MOS 89: Ammunition Specialists
o They are involved in ammunition, mechanical maintenance, and ordinance.
- MOS 91: Mechanics and Equipment Maintenance
o Repair and maintain a variety of vehicles and equipment in the Army arsenal.
- MOS 92: Quartermaster Corps
o Provide troops with supplies such as food, water, petroleum, repair parts, and more.
- MOS 94: Combat Electronic Systems Repair/Maintenance
o Support technical combat electronic systems.
Every MOS designation involves extensive special training and offers opportunities for advancement. Military personnel also have the option to move laterally and switch to other MOS designations to gain additional training and skills in that field. As you can see, while some servicemembers work in occupations specific to the military, many work in occupations that also exist in the civilian workplace, such as administration, maintenance, information technology, logistics, and healthcare. These skills become transferable if they choose to leave the military at the end of their enlistment.
The other branches of the US military, the Marines, Navy, Coast Guard, and Air Force, each use similar systems to the Army’s, but their designations and jargon vary.
Selecting an MOSThe main component of choosing an MOS is taking and passing the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB. But this is not the only thing to take into consideration when choosing a specialty.
The Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB is a required test in order to qualify for enlistment into the military. This aptitude test determines which MOS you would be best suited for.
The ASVAB is comprised of 10 subsections that measure your knowledge in specific areas, which provides an indication of your academic and technical ability. The aptitude areas include general science (GS), arithmetic reasoning (AR), word knowledge (WK), paragraph comprehension (PC), mathematics knowledge (MK), electronics information (EI), auto information (AI), shop information (SI), mechanical comprehension (MC) and assembling objects (AO). The AR, WK, PC and MK sections comprise the Armed Forces Qualification Test, which determines whether or not you can enlist. The rest of the exam determines your qualification for the different career paths within the Army.
It is highly recommended to study hard for the ASVAB in general, but especially if you’re interested in a particularly sought-after or niche MOS. There are study guides and practice tests available online that can help you get the score you want. When you sign your enlistment contract, you will be able to choose from a list of available MOS designations that you qualify for. Depending on how in-demand a job is, some MOS designations may come with an enlistment bonus!
It is also highly recommended to research the different MOS designations outside of test-prep. Your recruiter will be able to give you information on the available MOS designations that you qualify for or connect you with recruiters from that specific branch. You can also ask about job shadowing, which will give you an opportunity to see firsthand how the job functions on a day-to-day basis. While job shadowing is not available for all MOS designations, your recruiter can also connect you to someone in that particular role via phone or email. This will allow you to ask specific questions that your recruiter might not be able to answer and figure out which jobs are right for you.
Another thing to consider in your research is transferable skills. While this does require a lot of forethought, it’s a good idea to consider what jobs within the military have skills that are transferable to civilian life. Many MOS designations prepare you for non-military careers in the same field and will make transitioning back to civilian life after enlistment much easier.
GARMONT'S TACTICAL COLLECTIONThe Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) system is a critical component of the military, defining specific roles and responsibilities for service members. Whether you're interested in fields like infantry, engineering, cyber operations, healthcare, or logistics, selecting the right MOS is not a decision to take lightly.
At Garmont, we understand the importance of having the right gear to excel in your chosen MOS. That's why we offer a specialized line of boots designed specifically for the Armed Forces. Our boots provide all-day support without sacrificing comfort, ensuring you can perform at your best in any situation. Gear up for your military journey with top-quality boots that ensure your readiness and comfort in any MOS.