jhrugger

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Hi,

I'm interested in learning more about about joining the Army Mecical Corps, active duty, for several years but not necessarily for a lifetime. I have a few questions, so any of them that you could address would be greatly appreciated.

1) Can one do a civilian med school, civilian residency, and then just work in the army after doing OBC?
2) What does it take to get promoted from captain to major to lt. col?
3) What type of choices are there for work in the army (a MASH hospital, being actually on the line, or being far removed from the action)

Thanks,

jhrugger
 

RichL025

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jhrugger,

Yes, you could definitely join. I take it from your question that you are already an MD / DO and board certified? What specialty?

If you still have student loans the army will pay them off in return for a time commitment (I believe this applies for the other services also).

Promotions are pretty much time dependant - as long as you keep your nose clean <g>. I want to say the average from O3 - O4 is 4-6 years, but I'm going off memory here.

The 'environment' you work in will depend partially on what kind of physician you are. Surgeons will of course spend most of their time in hospitals, and during wartime (and also peacetime training) do tours in different types of forward surgical hospitals.

Primary-care type physicians may find themselves in something similar, or they can work as unit medical officers, attached to actual combat units during both peacetime & wartime as the "surgeon" (bit of a msnomer for historical/traditional reasons).

Pathologists work in labs, pediatricians split between outpatient & inpatient, etc etc... just like civilian docs do... with the important exception that any physician may find him or herself assigned as a triage officer for a combat surgical hospital (for example).

There are also opportunities for research, teaching, and also command responsibilities (although if you just want to do a few years & get out this probably wouldn't interest you).

What is your background? What kind of things are you interested in doing?
 

GeoLeoX

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jhrugger said:
1) Can one do a civilian med school, civilian residency, and then just work in the army after doing OBC?
Yes, there are options for loan repayment (mostly for primary care) as both an active duty medical officer and as a reservist. One can also join the service as a medical officer.

jhrugger said:
2) What does it take to get promoted from captain to major to lt. col?
6 years in the medical corps (I speak for the Army only). There is a 98% promotion rate for CPT to MAJ if one is "in the zone" (i.e., has 6 years from the time they pin on CPT to the time they would be eligible to pin on MAJ). The promotion rate to LTC is slightly less, but still very high with the same 6 year interval.

jhrugger said:
3) What type of choices are there for work in the army (a MASH hospital, being actually on the line, or being far removed from the action)
Yes to all. Of course the field of medicine in which you practice will affect your career options greatly. Even though I am a pathology resident I could go to Iraq when I finish. Though not as a clinician, but rather a lab officer. More likely I will stay stateside at a major medical center.

Geo
 

j0ker918

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Thank you both for the information, I appreciate it. About myself: I am applying to medical school this cycle and am interested in surgery, although I'm not sure what subspecialty since I haven't been exposed to them all yet. I actually have a few more questions.

1) When not in wartime, what type of patients does an Army Medical Corps officer treat?
2) How much say does the incoming medical officer have regarding geographical location of assignment?

Sorry if my questions are so basic, it's just that I'm beginning to explore the option of Army Medical Corps for the first time.

jhrugger
 

RichL025

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j0ker918 said:
Thank you both for the information, I appreciate it. About myself: I am applying to medical school this cycle and am interested in surgery, although I'm not sure what subspecialty since I haven't been exposed to them all yet. I actually have a few more questions.

1) When not in wartime, what type of patients does an Army Medical Corps officer treat?
Pretty much exactly the same as his or her civilian counterpart. Military docs also provide care to family members and retirees, so there is a wide patient spectrum. Something that surprised me when I first found out about it - military plastic surgeons will do the same type of elective things their civilian counterparts do - boob jobs, tummy tucks, etc (the recepient typically has to pay the cost of implants for elective cosmetic stuff)

2) How much say does the incoming medical officer have regarding geographical location of assignment?
Some. There is an old phrase.... "the needs of the army". Generally they try to put people where they want to go, but obviously there are some undesirable geographic locations that still need doctors. Ft Polk, La for example ;)

Sorry if my questions are so basic, it's just that I'm beginning to explore the option of Army Medical Corps for the first time.
No problems at all. I am not yet a member of the medical corps (only physicians are - medical students belong to the "medical service corps") but I've been in the army for 18 years now, so I've figured out a few things <g>.