Jul 22, 2020
4
1
Status
  1. Pre-Veterinary
I am seeking information on joining the Veterinary Corps with the US Army. The perks of being paid during school and not having any student loan debt is enticing, but is it worth it? Do you regret it? would you recommend it? what did your recruiter not tell you? Any advice?
 
May 14, 2019
36
87
Status
  1. Pre-Veterinary
Hello!

While I'm not applying for the HPSP program, when I was in the military I shadowed a Army Vet who did. This is the advice she sent me in an email.


"Most Veterinary Corps Soldiers sign up very excited thinking they will do 20 years, and then become disillusioned within a year or two and leave as soon as their 3 year active duty commitment is up. But a few really love it and attach to the Corps and never want to leave. The ones that want to stay love the Military more than they love being a veterinarian, because being a DVM is only a part of your duties and the longer you stay in, the less veterinary work you do.

The pros are the privilege of serving, working with Military Working Dogs, getting paid to do Soldier things like weapons, PT, etc., and being a part of a cool group within the Military. And of course paying for vet school.

The cons are that you worked so hard to become a vet but then your time is so divided between veterinary care, public health, food safety, and Soldier duties. You do a day of appointments, then the next day you are inspecting the Commissary, the next day you are driving 3 hours across the state to inspect a bottled water plant that sells water to the Military, then next day you are at your weapons qual, and the day after that you are investigating a dog bite on base for the rabies program. If you just want to do vet med, the Army can be really frustrating.

The Army also puts you in charge of a vet hospital right away at your first duty station, even though you are a new grad. So you are forced to step up and be confident and be OIC even though you are a new grad vet. A lot of CPTs really flounder in this position.

And of course there is the usual cons of no control of where in the world you are assigned, and the Army treating you like a child even though you are a doctor.

Oh, another con is that you are on call for your working dogs 24 hours a day always and must remain within 30 minutes of your dogs at all times. You can never relax, and never do anything fun on a Saturday more than 30 minutes from your working dogs. It can be a long few years.

I am proud to have done it, and am financially free because of it, but I have never missed it one day since the day I drove away.

So there's the run down for your friend. Good luck to them!"


As always, experiences will very but the military is a unique beast. I was happy to have served and gotten the benefits that come come completing an enlistment but its not for everyone. There are many, many times in the military where I was dumbfounded at how things were ran and towards the end it became almost unbearable. Take everything your recruiter says to you with a grain of salt. Be ready to just go with the flow and understand that so much of your job could have NOTHING to do with vet med.
 

biomajor2019

c/o 2025 hopeful :)
Jan 12, 2018
127
147
Status
  1. Pre-Veterinary
I am so glad I found threads like this. The recruiter I had been working with a year ago made Army Vet seem too good to be true. He said we get to pick where we’re stationed because of the value of our position and a lot of Vets choose places like Italy and Germany and that if I choose to have a child within my first year on duty I can choose to stay in the US. He said the Army can’t force me to go anywhere I don’t want to go (such as Iraq for example) He also said I can seek residency while in the Army and focus solely in medicine, and if I don’t want to do things like food safety I can choose not to and just work with the military dogs.
Seeing others experiences on here made me see the reality of the position and I’m glad I chose not to apply. Should I have been accepted in the future, I’d feel bad for taking that position away from someone truly interested in it and going in with a false idea of what I was getting into.
Long story short. I agree with the person above in saying to take everything you hear from a recruiter with a grain of salt.
 
Mar 29, 2010
8
0
Status
  1. Pre-Veterinary
Hello!

While I'm not applying for the HPSP program, when I was in the military I shadowed a Army Vet who did. This is the advice she sent me in an email.


"Most Veterinary Corps Soldiers sign up very excited thinking they will do 20 years, and then become disillusioned within a year or two and leave as soon as their 3 year active duty commitment is up. But a few really love it and attach to the Corps and never want to leave. The ones that want to stay love the Military more than they love being a veterinarian, because being a DVM is only a part of your duties and the longer you stay in, the less veterinary work you do.

The pros are the privilege of serving, working with Military Working Dogs, getting paid to do Soldier things like weapons, PT, etc., and being a part of a cool group within the Military. And of course paying for vet school.

The cons are that you worked so hard to become a vet but then your time is so divided between veterinary care, public health, food safety, and Soldier duties. You do a day of appointments, then the next day you are inspecting the Commissary, the next day you are driving 3 hours across the state to inspect a bottled water plant that sells water to the Military, then next day you are at your weapons qual, and the day after that you are investigating a dog bite on base for the rabies program. If you just want to do vet med, the Army can be really frustrating.

The Army also puts you in charge of a vet hospital right away at your first duty station, even though you are a new grad. So you are forced to step up and be confident and be OIC even though you are a new grad vet. A lot of CPTs really flounder in this position.

And of course there is the usual cons of no control of where in the world you are assigned, and the Army treating you like a child even though you are a doctor.

Oh, another con is that you are on call for your working dogs 24 hours a day always and must remain within 30 minutes of your dogs at all times. You can never relax, and never do anything fun on a Saturday more than 30 minutes from your working dogs. It can be a long few years.

I am proud to have done it, and am financially free because of it, but I have never missed it one day since the day I drove away.

So there's the run down for your friend. Good luck to them!"


As always, experiences will very but the military is a unique beast. I was happy to have served and gotten the benefits that come come completing an enlistment but its not for everyone. There are many, many times in the military where I was dumbfounded at how things were ran and towards the end it became almost unbearable. Take everything your recruiter says to you with a grain of salt. Be ready to just go with the flow and understand that so much of your job could have NOTHING to do with vet med.
Really things like this make me really sad.

With you being in the military(I was too), I hope you can come to a conclusion why this vet had some of the problems they did. I think a lot of people go into this type of thing expecting to play with military dogs in a cushy 9-5 job while getting school/their loans paid for. In reality, the army comes with a lot of baggage. As a medic in a CSH, I spent the majority of my time shifting supplies around warehouses, doing inventory and rarely playing medic during field trainings. The only time I got any medical training (outside of AIT(initial training basically)) was when I went to a hospital for a week prior to a deployment. During the deployment, our unit provided medical care at a detention facility. Still far from what I was really trained to do. In between all of this there was a lot of dumb "army things". Ranges, training, death by powerpoint, PT, etc.

People need to realize that being in the army is a completely different environment than any normal job. You're a soldier first, whatever your job is second. For vets, they get stuck with a lot of "non vet" type duties. Many are blindsided by this and I think the recruiters take most of the responsibility for not informing them. In fact, it's gotten so bad that as part of my packet for direct commissioning I had to sign a counseling statement acknowledging that I'm aware of food inspection duties as a vet.


I am seeking information on joining the Veterinary Corps with the US Army. The perks of being paid during school and not having any student loan debt is enticing, but is it worth it? Do you regret it? would you recommend it? what did your recruiter not tell you? Any advice?
I hope you really look into things before considering. I think my post and this person's contact provide some good information. I can provide some more info on my time in the army (not as a vet) and what I'm expecting as a vet (trying to direct commission, not the HPSP) if you'd like.
 

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