Australian Defence Force medical training??

Discussion in 'General International Discussion' started by jambo, Dec 19, 2001.

  1. jambo

    jambo Junior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Dec 15, 2001
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    I had always pictured myself going down the path of applying for a graduate entry medical course at a popular university and doing it tough for four years, then serve one year as an intern, then hopefully specialise in cardiovascular/thoracic/neuro surgery or similar.... But a friend of mine has opened my eyes to the Australian Defence Force and it's Duntrune university in Canberra. The only problem is that you have to work for four years as a military medic when your four year degree is complete. But they pay you to attend and keep you active and fit (I need a bit of motivation from time to time) and I thought it was worth a look as another avenue.

    Does anyone know how highly regarded a Defence Force medical degree is? Would I still be able to apply for specialist surgical training at a Royal College just as I planned to do after a conventional degree??

    Any responses would be much appreciated!

    Thanks and regards,
  2. Will Huynh

    Will Huynh New Member

    Jan 10, 2002
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    I have looked into medical training with the ADF for a few years now, and am now running my application through them.

    The first thing is that the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra does not offer a medical course. However, the ADF does offer a sponsorship scheme for medical students. This means that you apply as usual for an Australian medical school. The degree you come out with is with that university. So the reputation of the degree is not affected by ADF sponsorship.

    If you want to work as a doctor with the defence force there are two ways to go: through a sponsorship scheme, or to finish your medical training and then apply as a doctor.

    The former is a good method of getting money. And for various other reasons. The only setback is that you will be bonded and there are quite severe penalties for breaking bond. The bond will be for as many years as they sponsor you for plus one year. You can choose only to be sponsored, for example, for only the last year of your course and then you will only have to work for them for two years. However the maximum length of time for sponsorship is four years. If you are entering a postgrad four year course then you can apply for sponsorship for the first year of your course. However if you enter into a 5 or 6 year course then you must wait and apply for sponsorship only for the second and third year of your course respectively.

    As you will be a student, the definition holds that you will be poor. The scheme is a (far out!) way of not being poor. Pay is as follows in my 2001 info: For a four year course you will be paid a salary of $17333 - $23070 per year. I think that salary goes up every year, though it stays within this bound. Holy hell this is a lot of money. If you save it all, without working a year you can come out and buy half a house.

    Once you graduate you come out with the rank of Flight Lieutenant in the Air Force. So I guess that is equivalent to the Captain in the Army, or lieutenant in the Navy. One of the first things that you do is choose which force you will be in for the rest of your military career so spend some smart time choosing! Whilst you are a student you carry the rank of officer cadet, or I think they've changed the title to staff cadet…something like that.

    Also, you do come out as an officer so you should spend some time thinking about how they expect officers to act and bear themselves, etc, etc. The testing is extensive. You have psych, physical, medical, security, academic tests. And being an officer entry you will have to sit an officer selection board.

    The issue of specialisation is quite a big one to consider. There are specialisations that the military offers/encourages, and a lot are not offered. I believe surgery is encouraged – but you should check that with your force. They offer specialisations that they need a lot, e.g. sports medicine, surgery…

    There are heaps of reasons for joining: the lifestyle, the responsibility, the income, the training, the discipline, the friends you will make, doing things people don't usually do, postings overseas...

    There is also another excellent way of doing what it sounds like you want. Have you thought about joining the defence force as, not a medical officer, but in another position? You can get that responsibility, income, and discipline just as well by joining the Army or Air Force Reserves whilst you are at med school. I am choosing this path and joining as an Operations Officer with the RAAF Active Reserves. This way I get another skill outside of med too. If you decide that you want to join as a doc you can do it later. And this way you_are_not_bonded.

    Anyway, I hope I've given some insight if you haven't already rung them. The next step to find out more is to ring that 131901 number (or go to their website <a href="" target="_blank"></a> which will tell you to ring them anyway) and talk to them. Definitely ask them if you can speak to doctors who have gone through the sponsorship scheme before, find out if anyone in the year above you is doing it, and get them to send you a heap of stuff. Find out about the training and commitment involved each year, each month. Find out about where they can and might send you after you graduate.

    If you have any more specific questions you want to ask me just email,
    Heaps of luck mate.


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