Enlisted personnel wishing to pursue the Hospital Corpsman (HM) rating will find that it is a career that gives them the chance to help fellow Sailors, familiarizes them with the latest in medical technologies and advances, and offers them specialized training that should make launching a post-Navy career significantly less stressful that it is for Sailors in other, more military-specific ratings.

It also requires a significant commitment of time and effort, along with a genuine desire to deliver health care to Sailors, their family members, and civilians—sometimes in settings that are often far from what would be described as medically optimal.

Following Recruit Training, future Hospital Corpsmen attend a 19-week Class “A” Hospital Corps Class at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. Here they are taught the foundational principles and methods of caring for patients and carrying out first-aid procedures in a variety of environments. For their initial tour following successful completion of the “A” school, HMs are assigned to either a Navy medical treatment facility or an operational unit in either the Navy or the Fleet Marine Force. Subsequent assignments might involve an overseas assignment, billeting in a normal shore or sear tour, or training in a specialized field at a Class “C” school.

Note that while women are welcome in the Hospital Corpsman (HM) rating and have just as much room for advancement as men, some assignments are not available to them. As of this writing (April 106), women are not eligible for assignment to submarines, with SEAL units, and some selected units of the Fleet Marine force. Those positions are assigned to male HMs, who typically are assigned to a Field Medical School (they are located at Camp LeJeune and Camp Pendleton) on their way to their first permanent duty station. There they receive training in skills and equipment necessary to carry out medical procedures in the field while serving with the Marine Corps or “Seabees.”


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