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airforce dentistry

Discussion in 'Dental' started by filbee, Jan 29, 2002.

  1. filbee

    filbee Junior Member

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    I am interested in learning about the airforce dentistry scholarship. If anyone knows anything about it, is in it, or is now a practicing dentist in the military please contact me or describe the pros and cons.

    Thanks
     
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  3. aftoothdoc

    aftoothdoc New Member

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    I am an Air Force dentist and have been for almost 4 years now. I also was on a 2 year HPSP scholarship during dental school. I have a lot of opinions about the Air Force and Air Force dental corps. I have to preface everything by saying I would not make a different choice today. I would still do the HPSP and I would join the Air Force. However, you must also know that I am planning on getting out in the summer.
    First the HPSP: This is a great deal, especially depending upon the school you are attending and the tuition and fees that you are charged. When I was on scholarship I had a two year scholarship and owed a 3 year payback. All of my books, fees, and tuition were payed for as well as a monthly stipend. It is very important in dental school to keep your debt low, because it allows you more freedom when you graduate to practice when, where and how you want. The last numbers I saw were that the average dental school graduate is $80,000 in debt upon graduatioon. The scholarship allowed me to be well below half of that number. I have friends who are paying over $2000 a month in student loans. Throw in a car loan, house loan, and it makes it more difficult to get a new practice loan. The scholarship is an excellent way to help control debt. It relieved a lot of the financial stress that you are under during dental school and allowed me to concentrate more on school.
    Once you graduate from dental school the Air Force has excellent educational opportunities. I applied for and was accepted to the Air Force AEGD. It used to be automatic that HPSP students went to residency, but that is not the case anymore. This is a very clinical residency compared to the hospital based GPR. The residencies are second to none. I received training in IV sedation, endo, prosth, perio (including perio surgeries), OS (I routinely take out 3rd molars now), operative, pedo, ortho, forensic dentistry, and oral path. I would describe the training and everything you should have learned in dental school and more. The staff to resident ratio is about 3 staff for each resident. I could spend days talking about how good the residencies are. It made signing up for the Air Force worth it.

    After graduating from the residency I was sent overseas. This is another plus of the Air Force. I have spent the last 3 years traveling Europe. It has been fantastic. I work in a small clinic and I get to do most of the dentistry I want. Working overseas means that you treat not only the active duty Air Force members, but their family members too. So I get to do a wide variety of dentistry. Overall, I get any supply or material I want.
    I have listed the good things, and I feel obligated to talk about the minuses a little bit. I would say that my biggest complaint is that you have to do too much administrative, non dental work. I push more paper than I ever expected. It is not hard work, but it is very tedious and takes a lot of time. The Air Force is one big corporation and can be very inefficient sometimes. We spend a lot of time wasting time on things that I personally don't feel are important. I understand that when you have such a big corporation that this is necassary, but it is not how I want to spend my time.
    You also won't get paid as much in the Air Force as you will on the outside. I make about $48,000 last year. As you stay in you will make more, but you will never be paid what your classmates make on the outside. It is, however, a guaranteed pay check. It doesn't matter if you see 1 patient a day or 1000 the pay check is the same and will be there on the 1st and the 15th. There are talks of more pay increases soon, but that is 3 years down the road and they always come with more time commitment.
    Another minus is the career path one must take to make Colonel. In order to advance in rank and increase pay most general dentist move away from chairside and behind a desk at about 14 years in the Air Force. They retire at 20 and then have to get back into dentistry. I don't like that I will have to move behind a desk to be promoted. I went to dental school to be a dentist not an administrator. This is probably the second biggest reason I am separating.
    There are other reasons too and I could talk forever, but I'm going to be late for work.
    Again overall, would recommend it, but you should know what you are getting into first.
    Good luck and if you have any more questions let me know. I didn't proof read this so there are probably a lot of typos. Sorry
     
  4. steiner19er

    steiner19er Senior Member
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    do you have to keep a certain GPA?
    I got my Army HSPS interview tommorrow. If I get accepted I will definately take it, but if I don't I won;t cry. For you folks applying, its best to start the application yesterday. They fill up quickly
     
  5. mike05tusdm

    mike05tusdm Member
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    Do you have to go through military training to become an Air Force dentist? You're right that it sounds like a great deal, but I have no desire to crawl through foxholes and barbed wire, jump through obstacle courses, go in the gas chamber, etc.

    Mike
     
  6. coolslugs

    coolslugs Senior Member
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    The only formal military training you have to do is the 4-week COT designed for health professionals. Any other running after that might be some morning formation run with your dental flight.
     
  7. Pelotari

    Pelotari Pelotari
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    Just curious: what is the age limit to get in?
     
  8. edkNARF

    edkNARF A is A
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    Military service isn't for me, but there are a few people in our class who are in the air force program. They seem to be very happy participating in the program. From what they have told me, the training is not that intense, but not like basic training.
     

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