picksix

2+ Year Member
Jul 23, 2016
33
3
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Pre-Dental
Hello all, serious question here.
I will be applying to dental school next cycle (I do have the academic background to have a good shot at getting accepted) and as I am looking at the dental market out there vs. tuition, it was kinda saddening..... but whatevs I figured if dentistry is what I feel strongly called to do then I should do it. That being said, I, for my personal economic situation realize I either have to go with NHSC or HPSP, to be completely honest I am totally up for serving others. So it is not only a financial decision for me, I genuinely believe in both causes.

Now here is the question, God-willing, I will be most likely starting a family during dental school, so as I am weighting out the pros and cons to both programs, for me the deciding factor is my family's well being. So, between NHSC and HPSP which will "guarantee" a better environment for my wife and future kids? I ask because I get the idea that many people refer to the military life as being "subpar," but then I think about living in a rural or inner-city underserved community and doesn't sound any better.

From your experience which has the upside between the two programs in each of the following criteria (in order of most to least important to me)? And why?

1) Wife and small children everyday safety (taking into account dangerous underserved cities I may have to work in)
2) Family time (taking into account working hours and more than likely deployment(s))
2) Social atmosphere (since I'd be mostly be working during the week, don't want my wife and kids to be miserable between four walls)
3) Early education (pre-k, kindergarten, elementary)
4) Job opportunities for wife (dental assistant)

BONUS) as a dentist, gives me a better scope of practice to hone done my dental skills after graduation (better prepare me for the "real world")

Thanks a bunch for you input.

P.S. how do you guys see the PSLF program playing out in a couple of years? Do you still think it'll stand through time? Any updates? I guess we'll have a better idea come 2017, but please feel free to give me your opinion or research you have on this. It is also something I am strongly considering but I am not sure if the program will pull through at the end. Btw, I am also aware of the Loan repayment option (no scholarship) with NHSC, but I rather go through dental school knowing my loans will be taken care of.
 
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picksix

2+ Year Member
Jul 23, 2016
33
3
Status
Pre-Dental
no? anybody? any of the four from your experience? I'm legit curious, but I guess it is a very subjective question and chances are not many individuals have personally experienced both scenarios to make a "judgement" between the two and what I'm asking......
 

Screwtape

10+ Year Member
Aug 25, 2008
894
759
Midwest, USA
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Dentist
NHSC hands down. More money practicing as a dentist, still decent stipend in school (although lower than HPSP) no military service. No military service-- for emphasis. There's a reason it's so much more competitive.
 
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vellnueve

10+ Year Member
Dec 4, 2006
1,720
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NHSC hands down. More money practicing as a dentist, still decent stipend in school (although lower than HPSP) no military service. No military service-- for emphasis. There's a reason it's so much more competitive.
What's wrong with military service?
 

Screwtape

10+ Year Member
Aug 25, 2008
894
759
Midwest, USA
Status
Dentist
What's wrong with military service?
Well I guess it depends on how you wish to live your life. It sounds like the op (based on his list of priorities) would prefer the civilian life over the military life. One is not better than the other intrinsically, although my previous post may have come off like that. So I apologize. But most people who think about doing HPSP just because dental school is expensive would probably be happier as a civilian dentist than a military dentist.
 
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Feb 23, 2015
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Depends if you want to specialize. HPSP pretty much leaves the door open for any specialty and pays well while you're in specialty training. NHSC only allows pediatric specialization or an AEGD/GPR... you can always specialize after your NHSC obligation but then you're possibly just re-opening the loan flood gates and halting your income for a few years.
 
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schmoob

Moderator
2+ Year Member
Mar 26, 2015
2,466
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Military bases have plenty of nice quiet neighborhoods around. Not necessarily right outside the gates (never RIGHT outside the gates), but if you're going to a base with a strong medical presence, there will be plenty of doctors around that want to live in nice areas.
As far as deployment, it's a crap shoot man. But deployments can be incredible experiences, and if you are serious about SERVING, then it's a great option. Plus I'm not sure how the GI Bill works with HPSP, but if you can get it, you can supplement your income should you choose to specialize after you finish your time. Plus if you go to a DS based PG program, it helps with the cost.
 
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picksix

2+ Year Member
Jul 23, 2016
33
3
Status
Pre-Dental
Hey all,
Really appreciate all the answers, many thanks!