Military Occupational Specialty Codes (MOS)

Updated: March 27, 2021
In this Article

    The military uses a series of codes to describe all of the occupational specialties you may be assigned to once you join the service. Each branch has its own way of identifying each job. As a new recruit, you will learn the “job language” of your military branch.

    The U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps use Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) codes. The U.S. Air Force identifies their careers using an Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC). The U.S. Navy’s version of job codes “ratings” for both officer and enlisted classifications.

    In this article, we are going to provide you with the definitive guide to all military occupational specialties – for all services and all ranks.

    The A, B, C’s, and 1, 2, 3’s of Military Occupational Specialties

    Every job in the military can be classified in some form or fashion. But, each branch of the military has its own unique way of documenting them. All occupation codes follow a general pattern and standard of training. This is how each service personnel system manages the process.

    For example, the Air Force has 123 enlisted AFSC’s that are made up of five alphanumeric characters. Let’s take a look at an AFSC 2T371A and break it down for you:

    AFSC2T371A – Fire Truck and Refueling Maintenance

    The first number “2” is the career group of Logistics and Maintenance. Here are the 9 career groups in the Air Force

    1 – Operations

    2 – Logistics and Maintenance

    3 – Support

    4 – Medical

    5 – Professional

    6 – Acquisition

    7 – Special Investigations

    8 – Special Duty Identifiers, typically used for Airmen chosen for specialized jobs

    9 – Reporting Identifiers, typically used for Airmen in transit status (trainees, awaiting retraining)

    AFSC – 2T371A – Fire Truck and Refueling Maintenance

    The second digit is a letter that identifies the career field of Transportation & Vehicle Management.

    AFSC – 2T371A – Fire Truck and Refueling Maintenance

    The third digit is the career field subdivision or the functional job area of mission generation maintenance.

    AFSC – 2T371A – Fire Truck and Refueling Maintenance

    The fourth number in the AFSC is the Airman’s skill level. In this case, the “7” skill level is a “craftsman.” Upon promotion to E-5, Airmen begin training for the “7” (craftsman) skill level. This level ​of training includes correspondence courses, more on-the-job training, and for some jobs, a 7-level technical school.

    AFSC – 2T3X1A – Fire Truck and Refueling Maintenance

    The final digit further defines the job within the same functional area. Specific skills (such as the type of aircraft or vehicle) are designated by suffixes, such as “A” or “B.” In this case, the “A” says the Airman is a Fire Truck and Refueling Mechanic.

    When Do I get my MOS?

    Everyone will be assigned a job, but when that happens really depends. You may be able to select a job with your recruiter before basic training. But not everyone will enter basic training with a “guaranteed job.” In this case, you will pick a career during basic training. Don’t worry. You won’t graduate without a job assignment because most new recruits like you will go straight to a “tech school” or advanced training before your first duty station.

    How Do I Get the Best Military Job?

    What is the best way to get the job you want-crush the ASVAB! If you do very well on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), you will have the most options open to you. So, study hard for this test. The ASVAB is designed to put you in the job that best suits your strengths. For example, if you are bad with numbers, your ASVAB scores could eliminate you for jobs like military finance.

    Ask your recruiter what the best way to prepare for the ASVAB. If you let them know what areas you are interested in, they will point you to areas of the ASVAB that are tied to those career fields.

    Military Occupation Codes

    We will provide you with a complete guide to all military occupation codes for:

    About The Author

    Jim spent 22 years on active duty, climbing the ranks from Airman Basic to a decorated Air Force Major. Stationed all over the world, he held many high-level posts, including Chief of Foreign Military Sales at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Jim earned his Ph.D. through the Montgomery Era GI Bill and spent 13 years teaching African Studies in Pennsylvania. Jim is also an award-winning travel writer.

    Written by Team