FAQ by Lt. Ellenbecker
1. What are the benefits?
Monthly Stipend currently $592.50 every 2 weeks for 23 pay periods + 1 45 day period of active duty pay at $3,390.60
Total Yearly Pay while in school is roughly $17K
All Books, Fees, and Tuition to the medical school of your choice paid.
Adventure, Jazz, the occasional props from the public, and the sense of satisfaction that you gave back.
Rank of 2Lt while in school and promotion to Cpt upon graduation. Almost all military physicians make Major before their commitment is up.
2. What are the requirements?
Pass Physical Fitness standards
Enroll in an accredited US medical school
apply and be selected
One year of service per year on the scholarship and in most cases a military residency as well... No part of residency counts for payback -- civilian or otherwise.
An extra year of commitment for any residencies years that extend beyond 1 year over your scholarship length. (if you are on a 3 year scholarship and do a 5 year residency you will incur a 4th year of commitment.
3. What will I make as a physician in the military?
This is what I figured for myself for a 3 year loan commitment. I have factored in the cost of medical school education, stipend amount, and interest to come up with what they will actually be paying me for the 3 year of service I do after residency (I am on a 3 year scholarship). Pay is pretty comparable if you don't specialize.
Loan $ Saved x 3 years + interest: $115,500 + 25,000 = $140,500
Total Stipend Pay x 3 years: $51,000
Total Value (Pay+Loan+Interest) / commitment = $64K yearly
Pay: 46K (Captain)
BAH: 10k (housing allowance)
BAS: 2K (food allowance)
VSP: 5K (specialty pay based on years)
BCP: 2.5K (board certification pay)
MASP: 15K (flat pay given to all doctors)
ISP: 13.5K (independent specialty pay based on specialty (FP or IM))
AVG Malpractice Saving for FP & IM = 12K
Total Pay = $172K annually for 3 year commitment (66+94+12)
Drops to around 105-110K if I stay in longer as loose loan advantage
Average starting salary for IM - Malpractice = $155K
Average Starting salary for FP - Malpractice = $135K - no OB
Average salary in private sector after 3 years (when my commitment is up), minus malpractice (FP/IM) = ($151K/172K)
4. What will I make as a resident?
A lot more....the average civilian resident makes 30-40K
1st year (Interns) make Base Pay + BAH + BAS + 100 monthly for VSP = 59K
2nd year and beyond (residents) make Base Pay + BAH + BAS + full VSP = 63K
5. Physical Standards
You have to meet officer height and weight requirements for all 3 branches to get the scholarship and periodically while in the military. I believe the Air Force may have a PT test as well...not sure. Each service does height/weight different.
The Army gives you two chances. First you do height/weight. If you don't meet requirements then they measure hip and neck circumference and use some quirky formula to come up with it.
As best I can tell the height/weight requirements for an army officer is 15 lbs above ideal body weight for those under 27 years of age.
Ideal Body Weight For Men is = 106 + (6 * the # of inches above 5 feet tall). So I am 5'10". My weight requirement is 106+60+15 = 181.
For Women, Ideal Body Weight is = 105 + (5 * the # of inches above 5 feet tall).
6. Where will I do residencies/rotations?
7. Where can I get more info about HPSP and applying?
The Best Site for unbiased HPSP info is http://lukeballard.tripod.com/HPSP.html
8. Why the Army?.or why not?
Why did I select the Army? Several reasons actually. Basically I have family history in the Army which made me lean one way, but the Army has a lot more scholarships and residencies then the other branches. I applied later in the year so my best shot was in the Army. I have found the Air Force to be equally appealing if you can apply early enough although I really like the aspect that the Army has more residencies...I felt that if I did a civilian residency it would be harder to re-enter the military world and work off my commitment. The Navy has in my opinion some drawbacks, mainly in the form of the requried GMO tour and the extended deployments, but a few actually like this so I think branch of service is more a personal choice than anything else.
9. Is the four year obligation really only four years, or can a "stop-loss" order or something like that keep you in much longer?
A stop-loss order in a time of war could keep you in, however it is unlikely and they tend not to keep you in for to long under those circumstances.
10. Assuming a four year obligation after residency, how many times can they make you move for this (not counting a deployment, of course).
At most I would think 3 or 4. 1 move for residency, maybe a couple during your commitment time and possibly a differnt site for you internship year.
11. If we are in the reserves during medical school, can we be called up (in the event of a conflict, for instance) even though we have not completed our medical education for regular reserve duty?
Under no way can you be pulled out of school or your 1st year of residency (the internship), if we were at war and it was a big one, you could be pulled out after that and before you finish residency. This WAS NOT done during the war in Iraq.
12. State School, private school, or daddy's pocket?
You should not take the scholarship for just the money. You will regret it. You must have a desire to serve or a curiosity to serve in the military. The military is not for everyone. That being said, you will regret taking this scholarship if you are going to a state school (or any medical school costing under 15K a year). The money you will make early in your career would easily offset such a cheap education loan. You will feel like you are being ripped off royally.