May 16, 2009
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I need some advice. I am trying to decide Air Force versus Navy. My plan is to do an IM -Psychiatry joint residency after I graduate. I'd like to do it at Tripler in Hawaii or defer out. I may eventually also want to do a Neph fellowship. I might stay in the military until I retire. I am already pretty old (35), and I already have alot of degrees (post-doc, Ph.D. MS). However, I would eventually like to have a family at some point. So my questions:

Which branch would be better for family life etc.?

Which would be better for me to get into that IM Psych residency at Tripler?

I know there are more opportunities in the Navy which is what I am leaning towards now. Also they seem to be stationed more on the coasts. I'm thinking I also might get better clinical experiences in the Navy...but my impression is that Air Force might be more chilled out and I might have more time for family (i.e. they won't have to use me as much). While that is not good for my clinical skills...as I get older and if I want to delve into other interests during a military med career that might be a positive.

Also, I have to work 20 years to get retirement benefits?
What if I do 10 years and want to retire....is there some type of weighted retirement or I have to do selective reserve upto 20 for that? How does that work and is it different btwn Navy and Air Force?

Also, what is the promotion pay rate for O-3, O-4 etc. in both branches? Is there a difference between bonuses that both give you?

Which branch is it easier to get promoted up the ranks O-3 to O-4 for example? I heard in Air force you are limited as to how high you can get promoted. Does that follow also with the Navy?

Are there differences between vacation times?

Is there prejudice between if you are a DO versus an MD in either branch?

I am either going to go to a Puerto Rican Medical School or an Osteopathic medical school. Which do you think would benefit my military med career more?

Thanks.
 

backrow

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Which would be better for me to get into that IM Psych residency at Tripler?
Neither, pretty much the only way to get to Tripler is to go Army. Also the Navy only rarely allows people to do combined residencies.

Also, I have to work 20 years to get retirement benefits?
Yes

What if I do 10 years and want to retire....is there some type of weighted retirement or I have to do selective reserve upto 20 for that? How does that work and is it different btwn Navy and Air Force?
You get nothing more than a nice handshake on the way out the door. Well you could roll over your non-matching IRA... and no difference between services

Also, what is the promotion pay rate for O-3, O-4 etc. in both branches? Is there a difference between bonuses that both give you?
No difference between services

Are there differences between vacation times?
No

Is there prejudice between if you are a DO versus an MD in either branch?
Yes slightly, but much less than in the civilian world


Overall, you have alot of investigating to do before you sign up for anything. If you are on the fast path to signing paperwork I highly suggest you take a step back for a bit and research everything. You had some "basic" questions that should be well answered before you sign anywhere.
 

notdeadyet

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Any reason you've ruled out Army?

The happiest military docs I've met have been Army. You have the widest range of training opportunities. You have the best chance of straight through training (and if you'll be pushing 40 by residency, straight through is a biggie). You have Tripler.

And if it's the fear that the Army is too "military," I was surprised on rotations to find that the Air Force seemed to have more military BS going on than the Army. Not sure about the Navy.
 

Jet915

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"Which branch would be better for family life etc.?"

I'd say Air Force plus they only deploy for like 4-6 months at a time generally although Navy has the best locations.

"Which would be better for me to get into that IM Psych residency at Tripler?"

That's Army so I don't think you would be able to do Tripler from the Navy or Air Force.

"Also, I have to work 20 years to get retirement benefits?
What if I do 10 years and want to retire....is there some type of weighted retirement or I have to do selective reserve upto 20 for that? How does that work and is it different btwn Navy and Air Force?"

No difference. Have to do 20 to retire. You will get more GI Bill benefits if you stay in longer but don't hit 20 I think...

"Also, what is the promotion pay rate for O-3, O-4 etc. in both branches? Is there a difference between bonuses that both give you?"

I don't think so.

"Which branch is it easier to get promoted up the ranks O-3 to O-4 for example? I heard in Air force you are limited as to how high you can get promoted. Does that follow also with the Navy?"

O-3 to O-4 is easy unless you are an idiot or did something really stupid. It's almost 100% guarantee. The limit for Navy is pretty much Captain (O-6).

"Are there differences between vacation times?"

Nope.

"Is there prejudice between if you are a DO versus an MD in either branch?"

Not really, in the military, I'd say around 40% of the docs are DO's anyways.

"I am either going to go to a Puerto Rican Medical School or an Osteopathic medical school. Which do you think would benefit my military med career more?"

I don't think it would matter, although if it was a different caribbean school or international school, they might not accept you.
 
May 16, 2009
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Well I was originally interested in Air Force and opened my eyes to the Navy. I just wanted to see what you guys thought in comparison. I know its the same HPSP but I wanted to flesh out differences.

One thing I think you guys might be wrong on is.....I was told that Navy can send their people to Tripler or Walter Reed......the key is...if their is a need. Since joing IM-Psych is a big need for the Navy in treating Marines...I was told come residency time I probably would have a good chance of pleading my case for those slots and if not getting them...defferring out to get it. I am now heavily leaning towards the Navy because I think that option might be more attainable than in the Air Force. The Air Force, you guys are right, just seem too picky picky. I mean I have already gone through so much **** with them in completing my App....my Navy experience has been better. Plus I have friends that are Navy docs and Air Force Docs.

Somebody suggested Army national guard as an option. I may look into that...but I am still leaning more towards Navy.

As far as retirement and everything else...just wanted to check if there were any differences I hadn't missed.

My dad did Army. I just think I might be so overly immersed with them....deployed longer more often. It would be cool, but I just think Army is not my personality. I thought Air Force would be....but I am thinking Navy fits me better.

If I get into Puerto Rico...looks like I will go there....and sign a Navy HPSP if given the opportunity.


Thanks for your help.


Neither, pretty much the only way to get to Tripler is to go Army. Also the Navy only rarely allows people to do combined residencies.

Yes

You get nothing more than a nice handshake on the way out the door. Well you could roll over your non-matching IRA... and no difference between services

No difference between services

No

Yes slightly, but much less than in the civilian world


Overall, you have alot of investigating to do before you sign up for anything. If you are on the fast path to signing paperwork I highly suggest you take a step back for a bit and research everything. You had some "basic" questions that should be well answered before you sign anywhere.
 

BOHICA-FIGMO

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To the OP: Best user name ever! In fact, we joke about this all the time:

"You are not really sick."
--"I don't feel that sick."

"I think you are much better."
-- "I'm feeling much better."

"You don't really want to be admitted."
--"I don't think I need to be admitted."

"These aren't the droids you're looking for."
--"These aren't the droids we're looking for."
 
May 16, 2009
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Any reason you've ruled out Army?

The happiest military docs I've met have been Army. You have the widest range of training opportunities. You have the best chance of straight through training (and if you'll be pushing 40 by residency, straight through is a biggie). You have Tripler.

And if it's the fear that the Army is too "military," I was surprised on rotations to find that the Air Force seemed to have more military BS going on than the Army. Not sure about the Navy.

My dad did the army, I think he was reserve during Vietnam. I really want to do something different. I agree with you on the Air Force BS. The problem I think with the AF is the lack of clinical training sites/options from which you can choose from and since they do not have alot of docs, deferrment I'm thinking is not as possible. Getting what I want to do through the Air Force just seems like there would be no chance.

But the Navy there is hope.
The Navy seems to work with you a little more. I would enjoy being an IM primary care doc and psychiatrist working for them to help the marines out. They have a huge need for it so I think both the Navy and I can be mutually happy. If the Navy can not negotiate with the Army for a IM psych slot at Tripler or Walter Reed (the navy has a need for this program but have not yet developed it yet and thus they can use the Army for this training), I can defer out and plead my case to justify it. That will be my plan.
I'd do
1. Tripler
2. Deferment (the most prestigious programs are Duke, Emory and Tulane)
3. Walter Reed
 
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My dad did the army, I think he was reserve during Vietnam. I really want to do something different. I agree with you on the Air Force BS. The problem I think with the AF is the lack of clinical training sites/options from which you can choose from and since they do not have alot of docs, deferrment I'm thinking is not as possible. Getting what I want to do through the Air Force just seems like there would be no chance.

But the Navy there is hope.
The Navy seems to work with you a little more. I would enjoy being an IM primary care doc and psychiatrist working for them to help the marines out. They have a huge need for it so I think both the Navy and I can be mutually happy. If the Navy can not negotiate with the Army for a IM psych slot at Tripler or Walter Reed (the navy has a need for this program but have not yet developed it yet and thus they can use the Army for this training), I can defer out and plead my case to justify it. That will be my plan.
I'd do
1. Tripler
2. Deferment (the most prestigious programs are Duke, Emory and Tulane)
3. Walter Reed
Just want to comment that you're starting to sound ridiculous. You're not going to get a deferment. You cannot predict the needs and/or training opportunities of the Navy in 4 years. Your reasons for choosing one branch over another are not well founded.
 

Jet915

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I agree, I would not plan that far out ahead, you will only get disappointed. It is highly unlikely the Navy would let you do IM/Psych at Tripler (not impossible). When you join in the military, you give up alot of freedom about where you can go. If you join thinking you are only gonna do certain things, you will regret it.
 

notdeadyet

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That would be my plan.

I'd do
Plan on doing a navy IM residency or a navy Psych residency, with the slight but real possibility of a two year GMO tour interrupting your training. If you wouldn't be happy with that, signing up would be extremely foolish.

Anything better beyond that (Army residencies or civilian deferment) should be viewed as is very unlikely to happen and something you can happily live without.
 

notdeadyet

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I just noticed that you haven't started medical school yet.

Almost everyone that becomes interested in Psychiatry starts with a big reluctance to Hang Up the Stethoscope and specialize. So lots of folks console themselves with the idea of doing a combined residency in Psych/FP or Psych/IM.

Then they progress further into their training and one of two things happen: either they realize that Psych isn't really for them and they do something else, or they realize that Psychiatry really is for them. If they decide to go with Psych, they realize that the problem with the combined programs is that you do not get near the depth of Psychiatry training you do in your average Psych program.

Psych is four years. Mediicne is three years. A combined program is five years. That means you have very, very little elective time, since you're cramming in the core requirements of both programs. You get less Psychiatry training in the combined program.

Give it time. Deciding on a specialty is tough to do in your first two years of medical school and purse speculation before starting. If your interest in psychiatry continues, I think you'll find that everyone has a reluctance to give up some of the other skills they work so hard to build in medical school, but you do that regardless of what specialty you go into. By my guess, about a third or half of the people who end up going into Psych start out thinking they'll do a combined program but drop it as they get further along and commit to the specialty.

Not saying that'll be you, but definitely do not join a service (or any service) based on your specialty. Those who end up going into the residencye they had planned on before starting medical school are definitely in the minority.
 
May 16, 2009
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I just noticed that you haven't started medical school yet.

Almost everyone that becomes interested in Psychiatry starts with a big reluctance to Hang Up the Stethoscope and specialize. So lots of folks console themselves with the idea of doing a combined residency in Psych/FP or Psych/IM.

Then they progress further into their training and one of two things happen: either they realize that Psych isn't really for them and they do something else, or they realize that Psychiatry really is for them. If they decide to go with Psych, they realize that the problem with the combined programs is that you do not get near the depth of Psychiatry training you do in your average Psych program.

Psych is four years. Mediicne is three years. A combined program is five years. That means you have very, very little elective time, since you're cramming in the core requirements of both programs. You get less Psychiatry training in the combined program.

Give it time. Deciding on a specialty is tough to do in your first two years of medical school and purse speculation before starting. If your interest in psychiatry continues, I think you'll find that everyone has a reluctance to give up some of the other skills they work so hard to build in medical school, but you do that regardless of what specialty you go into. By my guess, about a third or half of the people who end up going into Psych start out thinking they'll do a combined program but drop it as they get further along and commit to the specialty.

Not saying that'll be you, but definitely do not join a service (or any service) based on your specialty. Those who end up going into the residencye they had planned on before starting medical school are definitely in the minority.

Thanks, for your comments and everyone elses comments. So I fleshed out some answers with my dumb statement. :laugh: Good.

My question was if there was a better chance Navy versus AF of getting the residency/specialty I wanted?

I'm still leaning towards Navy.