Advice on Joining Army/Air National Guard Prior to Med School

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JToney

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Hi All,

I’m looking for some advice on whether joining the Army or Air National Guard will hinder or aide my progress for applying to med school. It will most certainly prolong the process but I’m still interested to hear others opinions. I’m several years away from applying because I need to take some prerequisite courses and my wife is currently going through school so I have some time. I wanted to serve after college but after some trouble with the law I was unable to join, at least for the position that I wanted. Fast forward to now being 30, the itch is still there and the mission of the National Guard is extremely appealing especially the state side missions. And after talking with recruiters the misdemeanor from back then isn’t so much an issue 10 years later. However, I also want to focus on becoming a doctor and I know that joining will delay that goal by training, mobilizations, or deployments. I was interested in joining as a 68W (Health Specialist/Combat Medic) in the Army or a 4N0X1 (Aerospace Medical Service) in the Air Force. This way I can gain experience while also serving. But after reading a bunch of posts on here from people with similar goals it almost doesn’t seem like the juice is worth the squeeze. In terms of the experience gained and how applicable it is to the med school application. Which made me think that a better route might be to focus on doing the best I can on my grades now and getting clinical experience. Then either apply for the HPSP scholarship or one of the other loan repayment programs that the military offers and serve afterwards to scratch that military itch. So considering how much time I have between now and applying (~3 years) does it make more sense to wait and try to join later or serve now and then go full send on the medical front? Thank you to all who take the time to read and answer.

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Hey, as someone who has been in the ARMY National Guard for 11 years, I would suggest that you delay joining the National Guard or any military service, until you finish your pre-reqs or have been accepted into medical school. The military service will delay medical school. Between the trainings (which are more than one weekend a month and two weeks during the summer), possible deployments, and missed class time, it WILL NOT be worth it. I promise you. The experience you’d gain as a 68W or 4N is minimal unless you’re active duty. Also, most times, the military experience right is great for pre-PA students because as a service member in the National Guard, you deal with PAs more than MDs/DOs.
 
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Hey, as someone who has been in the ARMY National Guard for 11 years, I would suggest that you delay joining the National Guard or any military service, until you finish your pre-reqs or have been accepted into medical school. The military service will delay medical school. Between the trainings (which are more than one weekend a month and two weeks during the summer), possible deployments, and missed class time, it WILL NOT be worth it. I promise you. The experience you’d gain as a 68W or 4N is minimal unless you’re active duty. Also, most times, the military experience right is great for pre-PA students because as a service member in the National Guard, you deal with PAs more than MDs/DOs.
Thank you for the advice. That seems to be the general consensus between what I’ve been reading on here and on Reddit. As well as the direction that I feel is best for me and my family. If I was younger I think I would probably do the enlisted time first just for the experience and both the units near me sound like they would be a lot of fun. The ARNG 68W position would be with a infantry scout platoon in SC. And the ANG 4N position would be in a flying status with the 145th Air Wing in NC. From what I was told they do a lot of humanitarian missions and are constantly busy. Which is good for the experience and being able to actually do what you trained for, but it would be bad in terms of trying to focus on classes and get into med school. I really appreciate the insight that you’ve given me, thank you.
 
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