10+ Year Member
Apr 1, 2009
Starting medical school in the fall and am currently applying for HPSP. I talked to the recruiter and a ton of med students currently in HPSP and some doctors but for some reason I feel like I'm missing something. Can anyone offer insight about the program???? I'd really appreciate it please and thanks!


5+ Year Member
Nov 11, 2009
Silver Spring, MD
Medical Student
Committing to the military is a very big decision. You have to be informed as much as possible, try to understand both view points before coming down to a conclusion.

If you have a good 2 hours, read all of that.

From my experience, those who spoke of military medicine in a positive manner, are affiliated with the military but not medicine.


Has an MD in Horribleness
10+ Year Member
May 26, 2007
Attending Physician
The biggest thing you need to understand is that when you join the military you are committing to train with the military. You will be applying to the military residency system at the end of medical school, rather than going through the civilian match. If you want to do the civilian match you can ask them to let you, but they generally say no to such requrests.

The military match does not have the same odds as the civilian match. For a few specialties the odds are actually slightly better than in the civilian world, for most they are about the same or slightly worse, but for a few (emergency medicine in particular) the odds of getting what you want are WAY worse than in the civilian world.

The other thing about the military match is that not all residencies are categorical. Some military docs will only match into an intern year. At the end of that intern year they apply again to train for the rest of their residency, and many of them will not be accepted. Those who are not accepted will begin working in the military with only 1 year of post-medical school training, and will practce a very limited form of primary care until they can reapply 2 years later. At the moment the Army has the most categorical residencies, followed by the Air Force, and than the Navy is a distant third. The Navy claims that by the time you graduate they will be in second place with the AF in a distant third, but no guarentees.

Finally please understand the payscales to make sure that this is the best way for you to join from a financial perspective. If you're going to a cheap state school you might be better off joining later in your career.


I wish I were a dentist
7+ Year Member
Jan 22, 2010
The "Garden" State
Resident [Any Field]
If you are not planning on very competitive residencies, use the HPSP. Anesthesia, EM, IM, FP, GS, etc are all very possible.

If you plan on somehow doing an 8-year neurosurgery residency, know that you will have to spend 8 years in the military making $120k/year instead of $500k/year in the civilian world.

Finally, unless you REALLY want to fly jets, I recommend the Army simply due to the facts stated above.