As a former HM2, have to say the Hospital Corps School in Great Lakes was excellent. Not sure how much it's changed over the years, but we went for 4 months. Doesn't sound like a lot of time, but when you're in class full-time, 5 days a week and live practically on top of the school (couldn't live off base)- the whole 4 months was constant classwork, clinicals and studying - really in-depth program. Just a walk down memory lane for any old Corpsman like me that spent time there. I was there during the winter - what a place, never less than 10 feet of snow on the ground. Only fun we had was trudging through the snow to the bowling alley on the weekends to hang out, ""study"" and drink 3/2 beer. Stupid question, maybe another older Navy Vet on here might know - I've always wondered, what the heck is 3/2 beer? They used to serve it at all the bases and I remember being forced to drink a lot of it against my will, hee, hee. They used to say it was just watered down stuff, but never knew for sure what the heck we were drinking.
When I was working as a Corpsman, with the exception of passing Meds, we basically did the job of a Nurse. One ER on a Sub-Base I worked in had 1 Nurse, 1 Doc and about 10 Corpsman, so we were triaging, suturing patients, starting IV's, etc. They trained us to do basically everything in case we were sent somewhere without any help. Not sure if they still have it, but a lot of my male classmates that were heading out with the Marines went on to FMS school in CA - tons more training.
Despite all the training, if you get out as a Basic Corpsman - the Civilian world considers you a glorified CNA or Med-Tech. If you go into a Specialty you're much more likely to transfer that job into a civilian one. My husband lucked up and was one of the very few Navy Corpsman (back then) that qualified for Respiratory Therapy School run by the Army at Ft. Sam Houston. He's been a Peri-Natal RT for 25 years, so the Old Navy definitely gave him a good career start. I was in during the horrible "VEAP" years, no money for college when I got out after 6 years on active duty. Took me years to afford to go back to school and get my RN - Zero help from the Navy, so I really envy everyone lucky enough to get the new GI Education Bill...