Choosing an Army MOS (job)

Even before you reach basic combat training, one of the most important decisions in your prospective military career starts with picking an Army MOS (military occupational specialty) at the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). With hundreds of Army jobs to choose from, it can be a stressful decision...especially if you haven't researched the different Army MOSs prior to selecting one at MEPS. By reading this article, you will be well on your way to selecting an Army MOS that appeals to your interests. First we'll look at the requirements typically associated with each Army MOS.

Army MOS ASVAB Score Requirements

Each MOS in the Army has a required ASVAB line score. This is separate from the required minimum Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) composite score to be eligible for Army service. We recommend reading our article on required ASVAB line scores to better understand the ASVAB. Individuals wishing to score high enough on the ASVAB to obtain a highly technical job may benefit from visiting their local library and checking out a study guide for the ASVAB. Each military installation library will also have plenty of ASVAB study guides for those with access to a military installation. Those who do well on tests in general and aptitude tests specifically should have no problems scoring high enough to qualify for virtually any job without having to do any studying for the ASVAB. Our Army Jobs / MOS List section provides the required ASVAB line scores for each MOS.

Other MOS Requirements

Here is a list of other requirements that may be associated with an MOS:

Normal Color Vision: Most MOSs require normal color vision or at least the ability to distinguish between red and green. Only a select few MOSs have no color vision requirements.

Security Clearance: Some MOSs also require a security clearance. For example, Military Intelligence MOSs all require a Top Secret clearance. Individuals with past scrapes with the law or particularly bad credit ratings may not be eligible for such jobs (Top Secret required jobs typically will not accept anyone with civil convictions besides minor traffic violations). TS SCI jobs may even go further and reject anyone with immediate family members living in a country known to perform physical or mental coercion within its borders.

U.S. Citizenship: MOSs requiring a Secret or Top Secret security clearance will require U.S. citizenship.

Other MOS Requirements: Some MOSs will have other requirements not common to other MOSs. For example, those wishing to be Military Police must be 18 when they enter active duty while most other MOSs don't have such a requirement. We provide a list of requirements for each MOS in our Army Jobs / MOS List section.

Now to Choose an MOS

Now that you have a general understanding of the requirements typically associated with an MOS, you should have a better idea of which MOSs you will qualify for in our Army Jobs / MOS List section. Now which MOS to choose? This shouldn't be as hard as it may sound at first thought. For example, those who like doing construction will probably be happy with a Corps of Engineers MOS. Those who are more at home with communications / satellites / computers will typically want to look at Signal Corps MOSs. Mechanics will probably want to look at the various vehicle maintenance / repairer jobs available in the Ordnance Corps. Often times your interests will fall neatly into a specific branch of the Army and make it much easier to select an MOS since you've narrowed your search.

Current MOS Enlistment Bonuses

Now that you've narrowed your MOS search, it's probably a good time to look at which MOSs offer an enlistment bonus. We highly advise against picking an MOS simply because it offers an enlistment bonus. You'll be doing this job for at least a few years (or perhaps for a full 20 years and retire). It only makes sense to pick a job that appeals to your interests. View our article with the current Enlistment Bonuses by MOS.

One must keep in mind that enlistment bonuses are offered because the Army is struggling to fill demand for that particular MOS. For example, an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Specialist is one of a select few MOSs offering the highest enlistment bonus possible but it's not too difficult to see why. It is one of the most dangerous jobs in the Army and many people simply wish not to do such work. That's not to put down the can be highly satisfying work as you're eliminating roadside bombs that could have killed your fellow servicemembers. The job is quite hands on and teaches you skills that can lead to highly specialized work outside of the military as well. Other level 1 enlistment bonuses may simply require highly specialized technical skills and the Army is simply suffering a shortage that needs to be filled quickly. The point is that every job appeals to a different type of person...if you don't particularly like construction work then don't pick a Corps of Engineers MOS just because it offers the highest enlistment bonus you qualify for.

Army Civilian Acquired Skills Program (ACASP)

Some individuals may even be able to utilize skills they obtained in the civilian world and apply it to a specific Army MOS. The Army Civilian Acquired Skills Program (ACASP) allows individuals possessing specialized skills to join the Army and receive accelerated promotion to the rank of Specialist. They must select an MOS that's qualified for ACASP and meet the associated ACASP skill requirements for the given MOS. For more information, read our article on ACASP.

Conclusion on Picking an Army MOS

In conclusion, it is highly imperative that those wishing to join the Army research MOSs before going to MEPS. Not only does it relieve stress, but it should also result in you scoring an Army job that you're satisfied with and lead to a productive Army career, whether you do 20+ years and retire or only do a few years in the Army and return to the civilian world.

Article Last Modified: May 10, 2011

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