Nov 21, 2019
81
21
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
hello. midwestern is my best acceptance so far and it just so happens to have the highest price tag. i would have constant panic if i did this without aid because i know my family cannot contribute and i already have >50k in undergrad debt (only 25k to my name... but i still worry about my dad's). i will apply to external scholarships but i feel like if im lucky i can get like 10k total (not a huge enough impact on the 71k tuition).

i have several questions about the scholarship that i would really appreciate insight on:

do you get paid as you would a civilian doctor?
what happens if i get pregnant and need to take a leave (which i'd love to happen because ill be in my early thirties by that point)?
where will i end up/how much control do i have over it/do they send you to doable places like dif states in the us or would i go to a different country and be a in a potentially dangerous area...?
what happens if you commit to it and end up matching w something like derm (im assuming they only want primary care?). can you just pay them back and not serve? I basically dont want to swear myself into primary care before ive even rotated.
how is the lifestyle? is it similar to being a civilian doctor or are you on dealing with really intense war stuff such as nearly dead patients w blown off limbs? do you have to physically train for work and pass a fitness test? I workout but it's not required by anyone, I do it because i like it.
and can you transition easily to being a civilian doctor after your service?


Thanks so so much, sorry if i sound ignorant i do not know much about this topic and am navigating this process by myself.
 
Jul 23, 2019
184
495
Status
  1. Attending Physician
hello. midwestern is my best acceptance so far and it just so happens to have the highest price tag. i would have constant panic if i did this without aid because i know my family cannot contribute and i already have >50k in undergrad debt (only 25k to my name... but i still worry about my dad's). i will apply to external scholarships but i feel like if im lucky i can get like 10k total (not a huge enough impact on the 71k tuition).

i have several questions about the scholarship that i would really appreciate insight on:

do you get paid as you would a civilian doctor?
what happens if i get pregnant and need to take a leave (which i'd love to happen because ill be in my early thirties by that point)?
where will i end up/how much control do i have over it/do they send you to doable places like dif states in the us or would i go to a different country and be a in a potentially dangerous area...?
what happens if you commit to it and end up matching w something like derm (im assuming they only want primary care?). can you just pay them back and not serve? I basically dont want to swear myself into primary care before ive even rotated.
how is the lifestyle? is it similar to being a civilian doctor or are you on dealing with really intense war stuff such as nearly dead patients w blown off limbs? do you have to physically train for work and pass a fitness test? I workout but it's not required by anyone, I do it because i like it.
and can you transition easily to being a civilian doctor after your service?


Thanks so so much, sorry if i sound ignorant i do not know much about this topic and am navigating this process by myself.
@Matthew9Thirtyfive
 

anniekat2025

2+ Year Member
Jun 7, 2018
85
78
hello. midwestern is my best acceptance so far and it just so happens to have the highest price tag. i would have constant panic if i did this without aid because i know my family cannot contribute and i already have >50k in undergrad debt (only 25k to my name... but i still worry about my dad's). i will apply to external scholarships but i feel like if im lucky i can get like 10k total (not a huge enough impact on the 71k tuition).

i have several questions about the scholarship that i would really appreciate insight on:

do you get paid as you would a civilian doctor?
what happens if i get pregnant and need to take a leave (which i'd love to happen because ill be in my early thirties by that point)?
where will i end up/how much control do i have over it/do they send you to doable places like dif states in the us or would i go to a different country and be a in a potentially dangerous area...?
what happens if you commit to it and end up matching w something like derm (im assuming they only want primary care?). can you just pay them back and not serve? I basically dont want to swear myself into primary care before ive even rotated.
how is the lifestyle? is it similar to being a civilian doctor or are you on dealing with really intense war stuff such as nearly dead patients w blown off limbs? do you have to physically train for work and pass a fitness test? I workout but it's not required by anyone, I do it because i like it.
and can you transition easily to being a civilian doctor after your service?


Thanks so so much, sorry if i sound ignorant i do not know much about this topic and am navigating this process by myself.
Hey there!

I'm currently active duty military. I'm not a physician but I work closely with them for my job so I can speak to most of your questions. I also seriously considered going the HPSP route and have researched it extensively.

1. No. In most cases, you will make less money in the military than you would as a civilian physician. This largely depends on what specialty you choose.

2. I'm assuming you are asking about getting pregnant while on active duty as a physician, which is totally fine. We get maternity leave just like everybody else. I'm not sure how things work if you get pregnant while in a military residency, however.

3. This question touches on two different topics, assignments and deployments. An assignment is where you live. It's the base to which you are assigned and spend a majority of your time. From there, you may deploy to another country (Iraq, Afghanistan etc.) for a few months to a year but you will return back to your duty station (assignment) after your deployment.

Where you are assigned depends a lot on your specialty. Certain specialties can only go to certain bases. Not every military base has a large hospital, so if you are a surgeon or some other sort of specialist you will be more limited in where you can go. If you decide to pursue family medicine you will have more options as you can serve at a smaller clinic at any base.

In my branch, officers get orders every 2-3 years. This means every 2-3 years you move to a new base. About a year out from your projected move date, you rank your choices for location based on what is available. Then the "powers that be" decide where you have to go. You can be assigned in the United States or you can be assigned to a base in another country (not a deployment, that is different.) Typical locations for overseas assignments are Guam, Korea, Japan, Germany, England, Turkey, and Italy. These assignments are 1-2 years. As of right now, if you go to Turkey or Korea your family can't come with you, but this may change depending on foreign policy. For example, up until a few years ago families were allowed in Turkey, but this changed when it was deemed too dangerous.

Deployments vary depending on the branch but the bottom line is that if you aren't open to the idea of deploying you shouldn't join the military. Full stop.

You can always volunteer for deployments (and plenty of people do, myself included) but at the end of the day if the DoD decides they need to send someone, they will find a body to go, even if that person doesn't want to. The short answer to your question is yes, you could end up in a dangerous location.

4. As far as I am aware you can't quit HPSP and pay back your scholarship if you don't match to the specialty you want. I could be wrong though. The military is very particular about what specialties they need/want and I can say with complete certainty derm is not usually one of them. It is possible to find out how many slots are offered for each specialty each year via Google + with the help of folks on here. I would use these resources to see how many (if any) folks go into the specialties you are interested in each year, in each branch. I would also ensure you've read up on the GMO tour because that is also a very real possibility that can befall HPSP folks.

5. The lifestyle is going to depend a lot on your specialty and the branch you choose. 95% of the physicians I work with spend all/most of their time in the clinic/hospital seeing patients and doing admin work. They deploy once every 2-3 years for about 6 months.

Operations tempo (aka how bad the war is where you are deployed), your specialty, and your location dictate how much trauma you will see while deployed. Some folks deploy to very slow locations where they basically just treat colds, sprained ankles, and STD's for their entire deployment. Other docs go to tiny bases in the middle of warzones and see a lot of trauma as they are the first stop for medical evacuation helicopters coming off of the battlefield. It's really hard to say what your deployment experience will be like without knowing what branch and your specialty. That said, all medical providers in the military are expected to be able to handle the really intense stuff you talk about, at least at a basic level (tourniquets, needle decompressions, crics, start IO/IV in the field, etc.). In my branch, everyone has to go through pre-deployment trauma training regardless of specialty and the scope for the doctors' training is broader than what a regular medic would be expected to do.

6. Yes you will have to pass a fitness assessment. It's usually once a year (maybe more frequently). Every branch has different PT requirements but generally the tests include a timed run of 1.5-3 miles, a min number of push ups that must be accomplished in a minute, and a min number of sit ups that must be accomplished in a minute. Some branches include extra requirements like throwing heavy things, jumping, pull ups, etc.

I hope this helps...Happy to answer any more questions/elaborate more as needed.
 
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Matthew9Thirtyfive

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hello. midwestern is my best acceptance so far and it just so happens to have the highest price tag. i would have constant panic if i did this without aid because i know my family cannot contribute and i already have >50k in undergrad debt (only 25k to my name... but i still worry about my dad's). i will apply to external scholarships but i feel like if im lucky i can get like 10k total (not a huge enough impact on the 71k tuition).
Don't do it for the money. Almost every doctor ends up with lots of debt, and they all pay it off. You get paid plenty as a civilian physician in any specialty that if you live frugally for a few years, you can zap down your debt.
i have several questions about the scholarship that i would really appreciate insight on:

do you get paid as you would a civilian doctor?
Depends on the field, but generally no. As a resident, you make way more (if you do a military residency), but as an attending you will make less in most specialties. Some of the primary care specialties can get pretty close, especially if you stay in longer, but the difference is that in the civilian world they can hustle and make a lot more.
what happens if i get pregnant and need to take a leave (which i'd love to happen because ill be in my early thirties by that point)?
You take leave. It's just like being a civilian.
where will i end up/how much control do i have over it/do they send you to doable places like dif states in the us or would i go to a different country and be a in a potentially dangerous area...?
You will go where the military needs you. You could be stationed anywhere there is a base for your branch, and you will deploy. I've been in the Navy for 8 years, and I've been stationed in San Diego, Chicago, Hawaii, Virginia, and Maryland. I've moved a lot. You can expect to move about every 3 years. The more subspecialized you are, the more likely you'll be able to stay at one of the big locations, but that also means there will be fewer spots for those subspecialties, because they don't need a lot of them.

As for deployments, you will deploy. We don't deploy to places where nothing is going on, and deployment can be dangerous. That said, it's generally fairly safe for physicians. Only a handful of military doctors have died on deployment over the last 19 years. When it's your turn to go, it's your turn to go.
what happens if you commit to it and end up matching w something like derm (im assuming they only want primary care?). can you just pay them back and not serve? I basically dont want to swear myself into primary care before ive even rotated.
You need to do some more research on this. Do you think in the military, we only have primary care docs? Who do you think is doing all the surgery? We train most specialties in the military, including derm. If they have training spots for it, you can apply for it. If you match derm, you'll serve your commitment as a dermatologist.

That said, there are specialties with few spots and some that have no spots at all. That said, with HPSP there are options. For example, if you really love something the military doesn't need, you can do a TY and then GMO your commitment out and then match into that field as a civilian.
how is the lifestyle? is it similar to being a civilian doctor or are you on dealing with really intense war stuff such as nearly dead patients w blown off limbs?
When you're home, it's basically just like being a civilian doc with extra rules and headaches, and less pay.
do you have to physically train for work and pass a fitness test? I workout but it's not required by anyone, I do it because i like it.
Yes. Every branch requires its service members to pass a fitness test. If you can't pass the extremely low requirements to maintain fitness, then you shouldn't be serving because that means you aren't fit enough to potentially pull my ass out of a fire. The tests are different for each branch. The Army has the ACFT which has a bunch of stuff like deadlifts and medicine ball throws, the Navy has the PRT with planks, pushups, and cardio (can be a run, row, bike, or swim), and who knows what the Air Force has--probably a cooking contest or something.
and can you transition easily to being a civilian doctor after your service?
It will depend. Most people do.
Thanks so so much, sorry if i sound ignorant i do not know much about this topic and am navigating this process by myself.
There are a lot of resources available for you to learn more about mil med and HPSP. I suggest you start with this: Medicine + The Military
 
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Sep 11, 2020
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As of right now, if you go to Turkey or Korea your family can't come with you, but this may change depending on foreign policy.
Families can go to Korea right now to bigger/"safer" places like Humphreys and Osan- you just have to add time to go accompanied or the family has to go without being sponsored by the command. Camp Humphreys actually has a beautiful brand new hospital.

Also applying for HPSP so thanks for your perspective!
 
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anniekat2025

2+ Year Member
Jun 7, 2018
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Families can go to Korea right now to bigger/"safer" places like Humphreys and Osan- you just have to add time to go accompanied or the family has to go without being sponsored by the command. Camp Humphreys actually has a beautiful brand new hospital.

Also applying for HPSP so thanks for your perspective!
Yes you are correct. I actually am tracking that dependents can go to Korea, I just didn't want to overcomplicate my already lengthy post by adding that caveat haha.

If you have more military questions, feel free to reach out. Happy to answer any questions you may have.
 
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Matthew9Thirtyfive

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Yes you are correct. I actually am tracking that dependents can go to Korea, I just didn't want to overcomplicate my already lengthy post by adding that caveat haha.

If you have more military questions, feel free to reach out. Happy to answer any questions you may have.

Yes, and it changes. So saying something is true wrt that kind of stuff now is kind of meaningless because it might be different in a month let alone in 4 years.
 
Nov 21, 2019
81
21
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
Don't do it for the money. Almost every doctor ends up with lots of debt, and they all pay it off. You get paid plenty as a civilian physician in any specialty that if you live frugally for a few years, you can zap down your debt.

Depends on the field, but generally no. As a resident, you make way more (if you do a military residency), but as an attending you will make less in most specialties. Some of the primary care specialties can get pretty close, especially if you stay in longer, but the difference is that in the civilian world they can hustle and make a lot more.

You take leave. It's just like being a civilian.

You will go where the military needs you. You could be stationed anywhere there is a base for your branch, and you will deploy. I've been in the Navy for 8 years, and I've been stationed in San Diego, Chicago, Hawaii, Virginia, and Maryland. I've moved a lot. You can expect to move about every 3 years. The more subspecialized you are, the more likely you'll be able to stay at one of the big locations, but that also means there will be fewer spots for those subspecialties, because they don't need a lot of them.

As for deployments, you will deploy. We don't deploy to places where nothing is going on, and deployment can be dangerous. That said, it's generally fairly safe for physicians. Only a handful of military doctors have died on deployment over the last 19 years. When it's your turn to go, it's your turn to go.

You need to do some more research on this. Do you think in the military, we only have primary care docs? Who do you think is doing all the surgery? We train most specialties in the military, including derm. If they have training spots for it, you can apply for it. If you match derm, you'll serve your commitment as a dermatologist.

That said, there are specialties with few spots and some that have no spots at all. That said, with HPSP there are options. For example, if you really love something the military doesn't need, you can do a TY and then GMO your commitment out and then match into that field as a civilian.

When you're home, it's basically just like being a civilian doc with extra rules and headaches, and less pay.

Yes. Every branch requires its service members to pass a fitness test. If you can't pass the extremely low requirements to maintain fitness, then you shouldn't be serving because that means you aren't fit enough to potentially pull my ass out of a fire. The tests are different for each branch. The Army has the ACFT which has a bunch of stuff like deadlifts and medicine ball throws, the Navy has the PRT with planks, pushups, and cardio (can be a run, row, bike, or swim), and who knows what the Air Force has--probably a cooking contest or something.

It will depend. Most people do.

There are a lot of resources available for you to learn more about mil med and HPSP. I suggest you start with this: Medicine + The Military
I looked into the salary a bit using what I could find on indeed. I found that orthopedic surgeons in the army have an avg salary of 216,707, er docs avg is 159,996 and family medicine is 152,015. Do these numbers sound about right? Thank you!
 
Jun 23, 2020
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I looked into the salary a bit using what I could find on indeed. I found that orthopedic surgeons in the army have an avg salary of 216,707, er docs avg is 159,996 and family medicine is 152,015. Do these numbers sound about right? Thank you!
That sounds about right. Every physician gets their base pay based on rank and time in service. Then there is an allowance for housing based on where you are stationed. Finally, some specialties get bonuses. All of this information is accessible to the public through the DFAS website.

 
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Matthew9Thirtyfive

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I looked into the salary a bit using what I could find on indeed. I found that orthopedic surgeons in the army have an avg salary of 216,707, er docs avg is 159,996 and family medicine is 152,015. Do these numbers sound about right? Thank you!

Sounds about right, give or take. It increases by a bit every 2 years as well.
 

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