Aug 3, 2010
7
0
Status
Pre-Dental
Hi I am a Pre-Dent student who is currently waiting for Dental Schools to get back to me after secondaries. I've been researching the HSPS and discussing it with my family. I want to know exactly what the pros and cons are. My main beef, I guess, is the "active duty". I tried to do some research in this, but I never got specifics. Do they send you to war? Is it dangerous? Is it boot camp?

It would be great if someone who has completed HSPS can give me a quick rundown with a timeline of what I should expect.
 

Lifetime2Drill

10+ Year Member
Oct 21, 2008
49
1
Status
Dental Student
Yes, you do go to boot camp where R. Lee Ermey yells at you while you do pushups in the mud. You will probably be the one who gets beaten by the other recruits with socks filled with soap bars.

You will get deployed and it is dangerous. As a dentist you will be sent into almost impossible situations where it is unlikely you will make it out.

If you happen to survive the war you can apply to the ortho program.

That is all.
 
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AFDDS

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jul 23, 2008
1,095
11
Lackland AFB, TX
Status
Dentist
Read through the Ask an Army, Air Force, Navy Dentist threads. Most of your concerns have been addressed one way or another in there.

While LTD is obviously being funny, he makes some good points. It is "service". It's about the mission of the service you decide to join and not about you. I think many people forget that.

Can you deploy? Yes. It's the military. We are at war and have been for quite some time. Some deployments are more dangerous than others. Does it matter which service? or Is it more dangerous in one service over another? No. Each service has people deployed to different places and some are more dangerous than others. It is war. Not trying to be harsh here, but trying to be real.

You don't do the same basic training as the enlisted troops. You do a specific officer training course. Having been to both, the officer training isn't as harsh :)
 
OP
A
Aug 3, 2010
7
0
Status
Pre-Dental
Thanks AFDDS.

Quite obviously, I wasn't here asking for sarcastic bull**** (he went further and sent me a PM, calling me a "moron", a "freakin idiot" and other expletives. Should some action be taken for that kind of behavior on this forum?). I find it sad that I came here for some help and was met with such rashness.

I'm just new to the whole scholarship scene and was just looking for some foundational info. Not being in debt for a decade after dental school is a big deal, and the cost-benefit analysis of serving in the military sounds like it depends on luck and is therefore intangible, which doesn't sound good to me.

Another reason why I'm considering it is because of the amount of experience you receive that helps you in private practice later. The dentist I shadow for recommended it to me, and I plan to ask him these questions when I see him this coming Tuesday.

Best regards.
 

AFDDS

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jul 23, 2008
1,095
11
Lackland AFB, TX
Status
Dentist
I graduated dental school in 1996 and I still have a little debt left. Not having that hanging over your head for 10-15 years post graduation would be awesome. Take it from me. Now I could have paid mine off sooner, but I consolidated and have a great interest rate and have made the decision to do some other stuff as well as pay on my loans.

I didn't take the HPSP, but I think it's one of the best deals out there for young dentists. You get a start, and you get to move around while deciding where you want to end up. You also have the opportunity to receive some top notch post grad education if you wish.

I only brought up the service part because I have had to deal with a few people that were unable to grasp the big picture of what it means to be in the "service". If you get that part and are willing to serve, go for it. I cannot imagine you'll ever regret it.

Thanks AFDDS.

Quite obviously, I wasn't here asking for sarcastic bull**** (he went further and sent me a PM, calling me a "moron", a "freakin idiot" and other expletives. Should some action be taken for that kind of behavior on this forum?). I find it sad that I came here for some help and was met with such rashness.

I'm just new to the whole scholarship scene and was just looking for some foundational info. Not being in debt for a decade after dental school is a big deal, and the cost-benefit analysis of serving in the military sounds like it depends on luck and is therefore intangible, which doesn't sound good to me.

Another reason why I'm considering it is because of the amount of experience you receive that helps you in private practice later. The dentist I shadow for recommended it to me, and I plan to ask him these questions when I see him this coming Tuesday.

Best regards.
 

OffAngleHatchet

Likes off-angle hatchets
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Sep 18, 2005
98
0
San Diego, CA
Status
Dentist
Hi, Navy dentist here. I can't speak for the experience of all military dentists, but I've definitely had a positive experience in the military so far. I did my AEGD through the navy, deployed and served abroad, and have had a great time.

I went through the same thought process as you did. Filled out a HUGE excel spreadsheet, working the numbers 5, 10 years ahead. But basically it boiled down to this:

Debt follows you everywhere. $300K+ in debt would be a source of stress that would influence my life no matter where I was. I didn't want my debt to influence how I practice, how I treat my patients, how I make family decisions, or prioritize my life. As a dentist, I'd rather be bound by a temporary geographical assignment than by invisible handcuffs in the shape of dollar signs.

So I took the HPSP and I haven't regretted it since.

Through the Navy, I've received leadership training and management experience that I'd be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. You learn a lot about leadership from watching great leaders and ineffective leaders. You learn a lot about personnel management both from working with great staff and completely useless assistants. You will develop an idea of what you'd like your practice to look like from watching great clinics and poorly managed ones. It goes without saying that you'll grow clinically as a dentist as well.

Yes, your specific experience will depend on the luck of the draw and what the military has available as far as duty assignments. But if you have open eyes and ears, and spend your time soaking everything in and learning as much as you can, you will get far more out of the military than just monetary rewards.
 

krmower

10+ Year Member
Jul 23, 2008
1,688
59
Status
Dentist
Hi I am a Pre-Dent student who is currently waiting for Dental Schools to get back to me after secondaries. I've been researching the HSPS and discussing it with my family. I want to know exactly what the pros and cons are. My main beef, I guess, is the "active duty". I tried to do some research in this, but I never got specifics. Do they send you to war? Is it dangerous? Is it boot camp?

It would be great if someone who has completed HSPS can give me a quick rundown with a timeline of what I should expect.
I did Army, and would do it again. I've decided to make a career out of it, and am happy with my decision. There are some great opportunities out there. As AFDDS mentioned, you can check the previous threas where the services have been broken down.

You can deploy with any of the services.
Officer basic is easy (I have done both boot camp and officer basic as well, and they are nothing alike).

If you decide active duty is not for you, the reserve is also nice. It is nothing you can sign up for during dental school, but once graduated you can join them, and they can help repay your loans for up to $250k. You could also set up your private practice wherever you want, and your commitment would be the 1 weekend a month and 2 weeks a year. Pretty minimal commitment for such a big return.
 
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Dhooy7

2+ Year Member
Sep 29, 2014
631
153
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided), Pre-Medical
What are the options for food at the basic leadership training? I'm vegan and eat no meat and dairy. I also avoid oils, and sugars and limit salt. I'm very healthy and do not know how healthy you can eat.
 

Helpful Troll

2+ Year Member
Feb 22, 2016
239
112
Status
Non-Student
What are the options for food at the basic leadership training? I'm vegan and eat no meat and dairy. I also avoid oils, and sugars and limit salt. I'm very healthy and do not know how healthy you can eat.
Army Basic Officer Leader Course (BOLC) attendees are issued a meal card for the dining facility M-F if not in the field. There are limited vegan options but they do exist. They may not be nutritionally balanced options for vegans so you may have to supplement the meals.

At Army BOLC you have the option to prepare your own meals, at your expense, in your hotel kitchenette while not in the field too. You would have to 'brown bag' your lunch though. In the field your options will be significantly more limited but the Army does have Vegan MRE's. You can probably google the ingredient contents to check salt and sugar content.

This is a Military Dentistry thread, did you decide against medical school?
 

flatdry

2+ Year Member
Jul 15, 2014
17
8
Status
Pre-Dental
I did Army, and would do it again. I've decided to make a career out of it, and am happy with my decision. There are some great opportunities out there. As AFDDS mentioned, you can check the previous threas where the services have been broken down.

You can deploy with any of the services.
Officer basic is easy (I have done both boot camp and officer basic as well, and they are nothing alike).

If you decide active duty is not for you, the reserve is also nice. It is nothing you can sign up for during dental school, but once graduated you can join them, and they can help repay your loans for up to $250k. You could also set up your private practice wherever you want, and your commitment would be the 1 weekend a month and 2 weeks a year. Pretty minimal commitment for such a big return.

krmower,

I want to first thank you for all the help you provide in the forums.
I have a friend who would be interested in the reserves that you mention in this post. I was wondering if you could provide more details on this? is there a specific name for this program?

Thank you!


I actually looked through your other posts and found more answers to my questions. To be clear, is this something people do as a side from their private practice? or is it a full time commitment?
 

krmower

10+ Year Member
Jul 23, 2008
1,688
59
Status
Dentist
krmower,

I want to first thank you for all the help you provide in the forums.
I have a friend who would be interested in the reserves that you mention in this post. I was wondering if you could provide more details on this? is there a specific name for this program?

Thank you!


I actually looked through your other posts and found more answers to my questions. To be clear, is this something people do as a side from their private practice? or is it a full time commitment?
Working as a Reserve Component dentist is something that you do part time in addition to working in a private practice setting or working as a dentist for someone else. There are different perks available for different Reserve Component options (National Guard vs. Army Reserves) - there is not any 1 best option. However you can't join as a dental officer until you have a Dental School Diploma in hand. Once you have that - you can start talking to recruiters to find out what the best fit will be.
 

gatorfan99

10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Dec 17, 2003
690
123
U.S. Army
Status
Dentist
Hi I am a Pre-Dent student who is currently waiting for Dental Schools to get back to me after secondaries. I've been researching the HSPS and discussing it with my family. I want to know exactly what the pros and cons are. My main beef, I guess, is the "active duty". I tried to do some research in this, but I never got specifics. Do they send you to war? Is it dangerous? Is it boot camp?

It would be great if someone who has completed HSPS can give me a quick rundown with a timeline of what I should expect.
"Active duty" - why did you add " " ?

You are signing up to be a military officer with all the pros and cons that comes with that - including officer basic, line units, field training, physical fitness tests every 6 months/weight limits, very possible deployments to "unpleasant" places (which means being separated from your family for up to a year), very possible assignments in middle of no-where. You need to be 100% on board with this before you should even consider signing up for HPSP - this is WAY more than just a job