10+ Year Member
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7+ Year Member
May 30, 2008
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  1. Medical Student
Hey everyone,

I am considering joining the Air Force Reserves to pay for my med school and earn an income while in school. I was hoping some of you may know the costs/benefits associated with this. I actually have no problem being dropped in a combat zone as long as I am in a medical role. I have moral issues with pointing a gun at someone which is why I've been told that the Air Force is the "cleanest" of the Armed Forces. But I think that as a medic helping people is helping people and I could do that and still sleep at night. I also am concerned that I would be deployed while in Med School. I heard that the Navy has a rule against deploying med students, is the Air Force the same. Also, I heard after you complete you education that you have to do 4yrs of Active duty, do you get paid like a civilian physician? for Emergency Med lik $150-200,000/year.

Another thing is that I am not a US Citizen, but I am a permanent resident and I've been in the US since I was 5 (i'm 24 now). Does this effect anything?

Thanks in advance for any evenhanded information you can give to help me make a better decision.


The Lorax
10+ Year Member
Jul 5, 2005
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There are a couple programs I'm familiar with: HSCP where you serve as active duty enlisted during med school and then HPSP where the DoD pays you tuition + stipend. Are you saying you would just serve in the reserves as enlisted?

You will be giving the gov't a pound of flesh. It would be important to know where and when they will take it.


Stealthfully Sarcastic
15+ Year Member
Jun 14, 2004
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  1. Attending Physician
Start by reading this website: . It provides quite a bit of information about HPSP. The short: no, you won't get deployed while in med school. No, unless you go into primary care, you won't get paid the same as a civilian doc. If you have issues with guns, don't join the military as you'll be required to train with a 9mm and carry one while deployed. If you're doing this for the money, you'll be very unhappy in this program.


10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Oct 20, 2008
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  1. Attending Physician
What I'd recommend is this. Keep studying hard and see where you get into medical school.
If you go to a public school in your home state, take out the loans, forget the military scholarship and never look back. It would be a huge mistake to do the military thing, unless you genuinely want to be a military doc.

On the other hand, if you go to a private school or public out of state, where average loan packages will be 50K per year, then you have some decisions to make. Will 90-95% of your class take out the 200K in loans and pay them off relatively quickly after finishing residency? Absolutely. Maybe you don't want that kind of money hanging over your head. You also have to consider (not now, you're still in college) what kind of doc you want to be. If you're going to be a specialist, even then I would urge you to forget about the military thing because you'll pay the loans off. If you decide on primary care, or if you have an idea you'd like to do primary care, you have options.
HPSP--read the link from above.
FAP--another military program that pays you while in residency. Allegedly a good deal, I don't know much about it.
Indian Health Services: Serve in a low income/reservation for a couple years after residency and they pay off your loans.

Something to think about.
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