mln

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I was curious if any of you joined the military to pay for medical school? Can you tell me opinions on advantages and disadvantages of Air Force, Army, and Navy? I'm meeting with an Air Force recruiter next Wednesday, but I was wondering if anybody had experience with the other branches.

Also, I understand that it used to be that you had to do you residency at a hospital for the branch you joined. For example, you can't go to Walter Reed if you're Air Force because it's an Army hospital. Is this true?

I could ask the recruiter these questions, but I from my phone conversation with him, I get the impression that he's telling me what just what I want to hear. Also, any advice is welcome if anybody can think of some other good questions that I should be asking.

Thanks!
 

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Both my brother and my best friend's wife did the military thang to pay for medical school. To make a long story short, don't do it unless your damn sure you want to.

My brother had his medical education at Wash U paid for, which was nice, but ended up in a very lucrative field. One which would have made paying off med school loans a trifling matter. So for his trouble he ended up in a crappy overseas hospital for two years and then at a crappy domestic base hospital for two more. His professional development during these years was poor. He got out literally days before 9/11 and has never looked back. Now he's in private practice and having a great time will making mad cash.

My best friend's wife got a much bigger shaft. She joined to cover only three years of school with assurances that she could do civilian residency. Nope, sorry! She got yanked from the pool and stuck in a small, highly malignant program. She attempted to match into a competitive fellowship and didn't make it. Was her crappy program, replete with passive aggressive, backstabbing attendings, to blame? We'll never know for sure, but I doubt it did her any favors. In the end she will have given up seven years (residency plus payback) and possibly her desired career path in order to avoid 90K in loans.

In addition, both of these individuals are not exactly of the "military mindset." Just watch old episodes of MASH and see what I mean. If you have any doubts, stay the Hell away. It may sound great right now, but you're sacrificing a lot of options down the road.

One budding success story, though. One of my med school classmates joined the Air Force and they paid for his undergrad as well as med school. He's doing FP and doesn't mind all the military/government BS. By the time he pays back eight years, he's not far from being fully vested with pension and all. Since he chose a non-lucrative primary care field, financially he'll do fine compared to his private-practice colleagues. We'll see how it pans out for him, but he stands a reasonable chance of having made a good choice.
 
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kimmcauliffe

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mln said:
I was curious if any of you joined the military to pay for medical school? Can you tell me opinions on advantages and disadvantages of Air Force, Army, and Navy? I'm meeting with an Air Force recruiter next Wednesday, but I was wondering if anybody had experience with the other branches.

Also, I understand that it used to be that you had to do you residency at a hospital for the branch you joined. For example, you can't go to Walter Reed if you're Air Force because it's an Army hospital. Is this true?

I could ask the recruiter these questions, but I from my phone conversation with him, I get the impression that he's telling me what just what I want to hear. Also, any advice is welcome if anybody can think of some other good questions that I should be asking.

Thanks!

PM me or shoot me an email. I am newly separated from the AF and can answer just about any question you throw my way. Personal choice though, I actually got OUT after 6 years to go to school.
 

WholeLottaGame7

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mln said:
I was curious if any of you joined the military to pay for medical school? Can you tell me opinions on advantages and disadvantages of Air Force, Army, and Navy? I'm meeting with an Air Force recruiter next Wednesday, but I was wondering if anybody had experience with the other branches.

Also, I understand that it used to be that you had to do you residency at a hospital for the branch you joined. For example, you can't go to Walter Reed if you're Air Force because it's an Army hospital. Is this true?

I could ask the recruiter these questions, but I from my phone conversation with him, I get the impression that he's telling me what just what I want to hear. Also, any advice is welcome if anybody can think of some other good questions that I should be asking.

Thanks!

I also just finished going through the process of applying for the AF HPSP scholarship, and I'd also recommend reading through the military medicine forum, but here are my experiences/findings as a current applicant.

Remember that your AF recruiter has a job to do, and that's get people to apply to the HPSP. A lot of the stuff they tell you is only half-true, or slightly skewed truth, or in (probably rare, but at least once for me) instances, non-truths. A lot of your questions may go unanswered or deflected, also, so look for alternate sources of information (SDN, current HPSPers, etc).

Obviously it's a great deal financially, especially if you don't mind/want to go into the military anyway. The major problem I have with it (and causing me to seriously rethink it) is how they handle residencies. According to a current resident, the AF DOES have a quota they fill for certain slots, despite my specifically asking this and the recruiter replying to the contrary. For examples (2 numbers I've seen/heard), there may be 18 anesthesiology slots for 25 applicants: 12 military and 6 civilian. Or 14 OB/GYN slots for 25 applicants. You might even be a competitive applicant for a civilian slot in the outside world in that field, but if you don't beat out your classmates, you might end up in some other specialty or in no specialty whatsoever. That said, I've heard that the AF is better about this than Army or Navy.

I think that lack of control over my destiny is what is most disturbing to me, and causing me to look into alternatives such as the FAP (read about it on the military medicine forum). Financially it's not quite as sweet as the HPSP, but at least you have a little more control.

Most other questions have already been answered on the other forum, but if you have any other questions, you can PM me and I'll do my best.
 

kimmcauliffe

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Can you tell me opinions on advantages and disadvantages of Air Force ?
Like I said above, shoot me an email. I'll tell you anything you want to know- too lengthy to get into here.

Also, I understand that it used to be that you had to do you residency at a hospital for the branch you joined. For example, you can't go to Walter Reed if you're Air Force because it's an Army hospital. Is this true?

No. Which is silly anyway because the Air Force came from the Army (we were once upon a time the Army Air Corps until the early 1950s when we became the US Air Force.

I could ask the recruiter these questions, but I from my phone conversation with him, I get the impression that he's telling me what just what I want to hear.

Of course, he's trying to fill a quota.
 

ghostchild

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Does anybody also have any idea if there's any deadline for applying for one of the hpsps for the 2006-07 school year?

I've been looking up a lot of info about it. But I'm hesitant to meet w/a recruiter for the reasons you all have been talking about. But knowledge of some kind of deadline would help me out a little bit.
Also, does basically everyone who applies get a scholarship or is it competetive to receive the scholarship?
 

Wahina

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One thing I was surprised to hear is that the HPSP people don't actually come out debt free necessarily. The recruiter admitted that many people have to take out loans to cover housing/food/transportation depending on what city they live in. The scholarship only covers school fees plus the 1200-1300 dollar stipend for living. Anything beyond that requires loans. He was saying a lot of people end up with 30-40k in loans.
 

DropkickMurphy

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No. Which is silly anyway because the Air Force came from the Army (we were once upon a time the Army Air Corps until the early 1950s when we became the US Air Force.

C'mon Kim! You know it was 1947 ;) They drill it into our heads during Basic enough.....geez..... ;) :smuggrin:
 
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