What the Military Does: Enlisted Jobs Explained

Sailors job fair presentation
Enlisted sailors from the Washington, D.C., area listen to a presentation about officer commissioning programs during a job fair hosted by the National Capitol Region Mustang Association at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. (Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brett Cote/U.S. Navy)

Many people mistakenly think that all military members do is fly planes, sail boats and shoot guns. The truth is that all forces run an extremely complicated mission.

As such, the jobs to keep things going are diverse and challenging. And though everyone must be prepared to fight, you will do something else most of the time.

Below are the areas under which most military jobs fall. Within these categories, there is a considerable breadth of actual jobs. There is something in the military for everybody, so if you aren't satisfied with one job, look again!

You might want to work in security/policing or health care. Maybe you would like to be a journalist, read maps or rescue injured people. Then again, perhaps you want to fly, train animals or even play in a band. You can do all of these things in the military!

Enlisted job categories (scroll to a category to see a breakdown of jobs):

Administrative Machine operator and production
Combat specialty Media and public affairs
Construction Protective service
Electronic and electrical equipment repair Support services
Engineering, science and technical Transportation and material handling
Health care Vehicle and machinery mechanic
Human resource department  

Officer job categories (scroll to a category to see a breakdown of jobs):

Combat specialty Media and public affairs
Engineering, science and technical Protective service
Executive, administrative and managerial Support services
Health care Transportation
Human resource development  



Administrative support specialists

Finance and accounting specialists

Flight operations specialists

Legal specialists and court reporters

Preventive maintenance analysts

Sales and stock specialists

Combat specialty

Armored assault vehicle crew members

Artillery and missile crew members


Special forces


Building electricians

Construction equipment operators

Construction specialists

Plumbers and pipe fitters

Electronic and electrical equipment repair

Avionics technicians

Electrical products repairers

Electronic instrument and equipment repairers

Power plant electricians

Precision instrument and equipment repairers

Ship electricians

Weapons maintenance technicians

Engineering, science and technical

Communications equipment operators

Computer systems specialists


Environmental health and safety specialists

Intelligence specialists

Meteorological specialists

Non-destructive testers

Ordnance specialists

Radar and sonar operators

Space operations specialists

Surveying, mapping and drafting technicians

Unmanned vehicle (UV) operations specialists

Health care

Cardiopulmonary and EEG technicians

Dental and optical laboratory technicians

Dental specialists

Medical care technicians

Medical laboratory technicians

Medical record technicians

Medical service technicians

Optometric technicians

Pharmacy technicians

Physical and occupational therapy specialists

Radiologic (X-ray) technicians

Human resource development

Personnel specialists

Recruiting specialists

Training specialists and instructors

Machine operator and production


Power plant operators

Printing specialists

Survival equipment specialists

Water and sewage treatment plant operators

Welders and metal workers

Media and public affairs

Audiovisual and broadcast technicians

Broadcast journalists and news writers

Graphic designers and illustrators

Interpreters and translators


Photographic specialists

Protective service

Emergency management specialists


Law enforcement and security specialists

Support services

Caseworkers and counselors

Food service specialists

Religious program specialists

Transportation and material handling

Air crew members

Air traffic controllers

Aircraft launch and recovery specialists

Cargo specialists

Flight engineers

Petroleum supply specialists

Quartermasters and boat operators


Transportation specialists

Vehicle drivers

Warehousing and distribution specialists

Vehicle and machinery mechanic

Aircraft mechanics

Automotive and heavy equipment mechanics

Heating and cooling mechanics

Marine engine mechanics

Powerhouse mechanics


Combat specialty

Armored assault vehicle officers

Artillery and missile officers

Combat mission support officers

Infantry officers

Special forces officers

Engineering, science and technical

Aerospace engineers

Civil engineers

Communications managers

Computer systems officers

Electrical and electronics engineers

Environmental health and safety officers

Industrial engineers

Intelligence officers

Lawyers and judges

Life scientists

Marine engineers

Nuclear engineers

Ordnance officers

Physical scientists

Space operations officers

Executive, administrative and managerial

Administrative officers

Finance and accounting managers

Health services administrators

International relations officers


Management analysts and planners

Purchasing and contracting managers

Store managers

Supply and warehousing managers

Health care





Physical and occupational therapists

Physician assistants

Physicians and surgeons


Registered nurses

Speech therapists

Human resource development

Personnel managers

Recruiting managers

Teachers and instructors

Training and education directors

Media and public affairs

Audiovisual and broadcast directors

Music directors

Public information officers

Protective service

Emergency management officers

Law enforcement and security officers

Support services


Food service managers

Social workers


Air traffic control managers

Airplane navigators

Airplane pilots

Helicopter pilots

Ship and submarine officers

Ship engineers

Transportation maintenance managers

Transportation managers

Information courtesy U.S. Defense Department, todaysmilitary.com

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