potential career...


15+ Year Member
Feb 9, 2002
  1. Pre-Medical
    This one might be long, so here it goes. my current enlistment in the AF is up Apr06. I was pretty much set on getting out and using the GI bill to finish my BA and work part-time to help support the family. Well, I just learned of the AF Educ leave of absence program where I could stay on AD and go to school fulltime for up to 2 years straight. I'd only get base pay (approx. $2300 gross) and no allowances, but I'd keep all benefits and be eligible for promotions and all that good stuff. I'd have to re-enlist for another 4 yrs and go to school for 2 of those years. I would incur a 4 yr comitment for the 2 yrs of school on top of whatever I'd have left on my next enlistment. That = 6 yrs after graduating undergrad. If I graduate in May08, I could start Med school that year if I got AF HPSP. so, I could grad med school 2012. Residency for FP/IM = 3yrs. I'm not sure if I could use the residency time on AD to kill of half the previous comitment, but I'll assume it will for now until I get clarification. so, residency=3yrs, 4 yrs hpsp payback, then have 3 additional yrs to kill off the rest of the previous comitment. so that's 10 yrs after med school which would equal 18 total with my first enlisment of 6 yrs and 2 yrs of fulltime undergrad. Two more years after all that I could retire. That brings us to 2024, which would make me 43!!! My previous option was just using Grants/scholarships/GI Bill/part-time work to support my family and finish school, then $150-$250k in Med school debt. Obviously, wanting to do primary care, I won't mind the salary. That extreme amount of $$$ debt is scary. But the additional 10yrs to the military is also scary. Besides that, here's my list of Pro's and con's:

    getting paid and not having to work at all. = more time to study=higher GPA. More family time as well. All the AD benefits, Tricare (better than paying $6k/yr for the family not being military), dental, promotion eligible. Still accrue leave (60 days by the time I'm done). All school breaks are not chargeable leave. low income = grant/scholarship eligible. GI bill of $1200/month. Basically, living comfortably while finishing school and less stressful. Re-enlistment bonus for 4yrs= approx. $12k take home (for credit card debt). Only need 2 extra yrs to retire. NO MED SCHOOL DEBT.

    have to re-enlist to be eligible. after undergrad I'll owe 6 more yrs. if I don't get into med school, I'll have to stay in the AF doing a job I don't want to do anymore. If I do get into school, but don't get an HPSP... I'll have to stay in the AF doing a job I don't want to do anymore. If everything works out as shown above, I'll have 18yrs total AD service. And I'd be 43 when I'd retire.

    That's a long comitment!!!!!! Even longer than the normal USUHS grad. I was hoping to get some opinions on this potential situation. I don't mind the AF at all right now. The comittment that I'd incur is just huge, and that's what I'm concerned about right now. Who knows, by the time I'd be deployable after residency, there might now be anywhere to go (Iraq, been there, done that). I'd like to retire near the 60-65 range, so would getting into the civilian sector at 43 put me at a disadvantage? I think I would probably want to work in a group practice vs. a solo practice anyways. Any comments and opinions are welcome. It's a hard decision to make and my wife and I are really considering it right now. Thanks.
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