Now that you have successfully navigated the DLAB as well as filled out your security questionnaire , you probably want to know what job you should choose to be a linguist in the Army, right?
Well I can tell you my preference is obviously 35M, because that's what I am. However, let's take a step back and review your options. I will create an entire post about being a 35M later on, but let's look below to see what your options are, depending on if you are just joining the military or if you are already in (click on an MOS to open a new page with the official requirements for the MOS):
If you have questions, please feel free to visit the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.
MOS options for new Soldiers:
35P - Cryptologic Linguist - This is going to be your best, sure-fire bet to become a linguist in the Army. 35P is language dependent, meaning you MUST be a linguist to hold this job title. With this job you are usually using your language to interpret foreign language intercepted transmissions. The job requires a TS/SCI clearance and the majority of the information about the MOS is classified.
09L - Interpreter / Translator - If you natively speak a Middle Eastern language such as Arabic, Farsi, Kurdish, etc, this job could be for you. Your entire job is to use your fluency in your primary language to interpret for the military. This is not a job that someone that learned Spanish, for example, in college would apply for. This would be for someone whose family moved to the United States from Iraq and they speak Arabic as their first language.
18X - Special Forces Enlistment Option - This is a difficult option and doesn't exactly make you a great linguist. This option will allow you to enlist in the military and go through infantry training, and eventually become a member of the Green Berets (Special Forces). Upon completion of the arduous training already required, you will then be given about 6 months of language training and be required to be proficient to at least a 0+/0+ level. The only issue being is, 0+/0+ is not even considered passing for a true linguist (2/2 is considered the minimum), where the numbers assigned reflect the ability to read/listen in the target language. Nevertheless, it's still a valid option so I listed it.
38B - Civil Affairs - Yet another MOS that gets some language training, but it's jammed into only 20 weeks which means you won't be fully proficient. It's possible in the future you could receive even more language training and become more proficient. This is still classified as a language-dependent MOS though, so you will get some language training. If you are or know a 38B and wish to contribute more to this blog post, please leave a comment at the bottom and let us know more about their language abilities.
Unfortunately those are really your only options if you are a civilian looking to join the military, and two of the three jobs are not usually something that is accessible to a new recruit.
MOS options for current Soldiers:
In addition to the options above...
180A - Special Forces Warrant Officer - This is another job similar to those listed above. This job requires that you have been in the Special Forces already for a minimum of three years and have a 1+/1+ proficiency in a foreign language. It should be noted once again, however, that 1+/1+ isn't even enough to get you Foreign Language Proficiency Bonus, you must have a 2/2.
350Z - Attache Technician - An attache technician works directly with the Defense Attache Office and must already be a 2/2 in the foreign language to qualify. In addition, they must already hold the ASI "7" and must have at minimum three years working for the Defense Attache already. This is not an easy MOS to get into.
352P - Cryptologic Language Analysis Technician - This job is the Warrant Officer equivalent of 35P. Since you must be a 35P and a linguist already, this isn't necessarily a choice to BECOME a linguist.
35M - Human Intelligence Collector - This is a job that used to be language-dependent and is the job I love with all of my heart. Those 35Ms that were trained previously at DLI in a foreign language are required to maintain proficiency. New 35Ms are required to take a DLAB but are not required to know a foreign language, although there is talk of bringing this requirement back in the future or using DLI as a re-enlistment incentive for first-term 35M Soldiers. Currently, 35M first-term Soldiers have the lowest retention rate out of any Military Intelligence MOS according to the Office of the Chief, Military Intelligence in a briefing I received in October of 2010. Currently this job is language-capable, meaning that if you speak a foreign language and are slotted in an MTOE position with an L next to your coded billet, you can get paid Foreign Language Proficiency Bonus. Stay tuned as my next post will be all about being a 35M.
351M - Human Intelligence Collector Technician - This job is the Warrant Officer equivalent of 35M and has the same requirements.
35L - Counterintelligence Agent - This is a difficult job to get a language in. Most of the 35L I know that went to DLI to learn a language are in the Army Reserves and Army National Guard and filling a language coded billet in their units. I have never met an active duty 35L with a language that wasn't a native speaker. In addition to not naturally having a language, 35L is an application-only MOS, and only open to SPC(P) and above. For more information on the recruiting process use your CAC card to log into https://ikn.army.mil (Intelligence Knowledge Online portal) and look about halfway down the first page on the left column. If you contact me via your AKO email I can also put you in contact with a local recruiter at your current Army installation.
351L - Counter Intelligence Technician - This job is the Warrant Officer equivalent of 35L and has the same requirements.
351Y - Area Intelligence Technician - This is one linguist job in the Army that I have no idea what it is. Information is very limited, so it could be more of a "hush hush" job. If you have more information about this job, please leave a comment below.
37F - Psychological Operations - Active duty Soldiers may apply for this MOS, and are required to attend airborne school (almost guaranteeing you a permanent spot at Ft. Bragg, NC) and 4-6 months of language training. Once again you will most likely not be a fully proficient linguist as a 37F because the language training is not the full, intense experience. In addition Reserve and National Guard Soldiers are not required to attend airborne or language training.
35N - Signals Intelligence Analyst - This is another one of those MOSs that is only language-capable, not language-dependent. So getting to DLI would be unlikely (but possible) and to get paid if you were a native linguist without attending DLI you would have to be slotted in a linguist MTOE position.
48 Series - Foreign Area Officer - This is a language coded MOS open only to officers, and not to new officers (you must hold the rank of CPT or above in most situations). You are a full blown linguist and are assigned based on your area of expertise and language. There are quite a few 48 series MOS (48B/C/D and so forth), with each MOS being a different language. For example, 48B is Latin America (Spanish, Portuguese), and 48C is Europe (Albanian, German, Russian, etc etc).
NOTE: In addition to those above, officers in the 18 (Special Forces), 37 (Psychological Operations), and 38 (Civil Affairs) Career Management Fields (CMF) can also be linguists.
That's all I can think of for now. I would love to hear your comments if you feel that there are MOSs I left out, or your experiences as a linguist in ANY of these MOSs. I can't make this blog a success without input from other Soldiers!
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