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Salary of a military physician

Discussion in 'Medical Students - DO' started by jefftzeng, Dec 9, 2000.

  1. jefftzeng

    jefftzeng Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 11, 2000
    This may seem like an obvious answer to some, but it's not so obvious to me. Are military physicians paid by their rank, or is there another factor? I'm not so well educated in the ways of the military. [​IMG]

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  3. BoonDoc

    BoonDoc Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    To my knowledge they are paid at the rank they hold. Some branches of the military also give them a medical bonus. Sometimes $40g+
    They do this to keep the doctors in the army after their required payback time.
    There is a recruiter wondering around here called dochunter9.

    Walking is man's best medicine.
  4. Akron Ohio

    Akron Ohio Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 28, 2000
    As of yesterday I was accepted to the HPSP Military Medical Scholarship Program as a second leut. in the U.S. Army. The reason for the move was the great benefits you gain in being apart of it. One of the biggest is the money. First off they pay your whole medical school education (about $160,000 or more), and then they give you $1000.00 per month while you are attending medical school for housing or whatever else. They also pay for all of your books and any medical instruments you will need for your education. After you graduate from medical school you are promoted to captain and then you can do an internship within the military in your specialty of choice making about $40.000 for the year. When you then go to your residency The average pay for a captain in the medical ranks is about $50.000. Thats's about $20.000 over the national average for residency. When you finish your residency you have a 4 year commitment to active duty and the pay is partially based on rank, but like the other person stated there are huge bonuses which will compensate for the differencefrom civilian and military doctors. The stat I was shown from recent pay charts is that a family physician in the army will make on the average about $118.000 a year. This includes housing, food allowences ect. If you decide to go into surgery will make similar monies that civilians make too. On the average surgeons get about a $30.000+ a year bonus per year just for staying in. Plus hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary. In short I felt the militay was a wonderful way to go through medical school. No debt and a lot of extras. If you have question I'll try to answer them for you. Sorry this is so long but i'm really excited being I just found out yesterday that I made the cut to get the scholarship. Good Luck!!!!
  5. adismo

    adismo covered in moon dust 10+ Year Member

    Jan 11, 2000

    i would like to know what gamit of things one needs to run thrught to receive the army scholarship as you have. i am also interested in going this route, army or navy.
  6. ryanpj

    ryanpj Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 29, 1999
    Evansville, IN. U.S.
    You get to chose you specialty that you go in to huh? I think you should have spoke to a wider variety of people. You have little choice you are not a human with rights, you are an animal which sole purpose is to serve in whatever way is deemed most appropriate at that time. aND YOU DO NOT ARGUE.
  7. TNT

    TNT Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Sep 3, 2000
    True, you do not pick the residency you want. You must compete for it just like the regular match. I am having second thoughts about it because if you want to specialize in something like cardiology, etc which requires a fellowship after your internal med residency, you will spend a good 13-14 years in the military. The fellowship is considered training, so for each year of fellowship, you must add on active duty time.

    EX: 3yrs IM residency + 3yrs Cardiology fellowship + 4 years pay back + 3 years payback for your fellowship= total is 13 years. By that time, you think to yourself....if i stay just 7 more years, I can retire with benefits and pension. Do you really want to stay that long??

    Obviously, if you're interested in Fam Med, it would be worth it. To supplement your income, you can moonlight at local hospitals. If you are completely positive you are going into primary care, go HPSP. if you want to go into a specialty that requires extra training, think long and hard as I am doing now. GOOD LUCK.
  8. Akron Ohio

    Akron Ohio Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 28, 2000
    Here is some clarification for the past comments:
    First adismo you have to contact a medical recruiter in the service you are interested in (Army or Navy or Airforce). Then you will have to go through an interview with an officer of that branch of the military. Following that you will fill out alot of paperwork and then get a physical. The whole pre-process takes about a month. Then your information will be forwarded to a national board in Washington D.C. It is very competitive so MCAT and grades play a big part. You will need at least 3 recommendations from professors and 1 recommendation from a peer. Once you get the scholarship you take your oath. You will not be on active duty untill you graduate medical school. You will be in the reserves. You have no commitment at all while you are in medical school. No 1 weekend a month or anything. They just tell you that if you have time on your breaks from school you can work in a military hospital for experience, but no true commitment. That was a big one for me personally since I want to focus strongly on my academics.
    Now in terms of your residency I want to clear somethings up. First you can take a non-military residency if you are not given the military one you want. The only time you are obligated to take the military one is if you are granted the one you want. So if you want a general surgery residency and the military only offers you an ER residency you can turn it down. Then when you finish your civilian residency you just owe the military 4 years of active duty. So you do get to choose which specialty you want to go into. The military has every residency you could ever want. From Neurosurgery to peds. Some are more competitive than others but that is how it is everywhere. The stats say that on average 85% of military personal are granted their 1st choice for residency. So you will be very likely to get what you want.
  9. TNT

    TNT Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Sep 3, 2000
    Heres my take on the residency situation. You must apply to five military residency programs. If your top three are surgery and your 4th and 5th is a ER residency and you get turned down for the surgeries, you MUST take the ER residency if they offer ER to you. If you match for any of your top five choices, you must take it. Clarify this with your recruiter.

    On the other hand, if you list your top five as surgery, and get picked for non of them, you can defer and do a civilian residency. In this situation, it makes the civilian residencies wonder why you couldn't get into your top five choices. If i'm wrong on this, let me know.
  10. Akron Ohio

    Akron Ohio Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 28, 2000
    I am pretty sure you can still turn down your later choices if you do not get your first, but I will clarify this with my recruiter monday and let you know.
  11. Liljoe2002

    Liljoe2002 Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 4, 1999

    In the Navy payback for residency is as follows:

    Ex. I do a 4 year HPSP scholarship, I owe four years of payback. I do my internship I still owe four years of payback because internship is deadtime. Let's say I do an internal medicine residency after my internship year-since IM res. is 3 years I still owe 4 years-they look at whatever is longer your school years or your res. program. So if I did a gen. surg. residency which is 5 years than I would owe 5 years of payback since it is longer than the scholarship(4 years)...kind of confusing.

    Let's say I do a fellowship after my IM res. than I would start to owe time. So I do a 3 year fellowship I now owe 6 years. 3 years of res.+3 years of fellowship- is longer than my 4 years from scholarship.

    You can do a GMO tour after your intership year which accounts for payback time. So I do a 2 year tour that takes 2 years off of my 4 years so I only owe 2 years. Hope this clarifies things.
  12. Akron Ohio

    Akron Ohio Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 28, 2000
    Here is the right answer on the military residency issue:

    I talked with my recruiter today and he said that if you do not get your first choice for military residency you can decline other military residencies and go to a civilian residency. You are not obligated. You are just obligated for the 4 year commitment after you are a board certified physician. Now this is how the Army is. The Navy may be different. You can't beat this scholarship. You know people constantly say your life is controlled completely by the military when you join, but that is not the case for doctors. Doctors are wanted by the military so they will make you happy. I know 2 others who went through the HPSP route and not one of them has any problem with it. They love it and say they were happy with their decision. If you think about it you are obligated to serve 4 years on HPSP, but if you don't take this route you will be obligated to $200.000 of debt after medical school which will take on average 10 years to pay off. What's the better deal?
  13. doatc

    doatc Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 25, 1999
    Lake Bluff, IL, USA
    I am currently a MS2, and I am an Army HPSP holder. Here is some more info. When it comes to fellowship your payback can be 2 for one. For example: 3yr fellowship=6 yrs of payback. I found this out last summer while doing radiology at Brooke Army Medical Center from actual Army physicians.

    In the beginning of your fourth year you will apply for FYGME (first year graduate medical education) and will choose 5 areas of interest. The selection board meets in November and will try and match you to one of those 5 choices. If you do not match, then you will be deferred to civilian residency. It does not make a difference if you don't get your first choice. When you pick your five choices, you are obligated if you match to one of them. Just like the civilian match.
    If the Army does not have five programs in one area, then you will have to fill the remaining slots with another speciality. Don't be shocked if you get your second speciality over your first.
    Beware, some residencies still follow a pyramid selection process. This means that they will select more intern positions, in say ortho, then they have PGY2 slots. Therefore, if you are not selected for a PGY 2 slot then you will be deferred to a GMO (general medical office) tour. These tours last 1-2+ yrs. One year if you do a hardship tour overseas.
    The Army is trying to phase out the GMO for their young docs and putting more experienced ones in their place. Most specialties are a direct track and you do not have to worry about the pyramid. Competitive specialties like Ortho, Surgery, etc, still take more PGY1's then they have room for at the PGY2 level. Hope this helps. Questions about the Army program can be directed to me at my e-mail address.

    MS3 CCOM
  14. TNT

    TNT Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Sep 3, 2000
    Good responses. I have a few questions for you guys.

    1)How is Officer basic training and what types of physical exams do you need to take/pass?
    2)Do you do Officer basic training with the dental, nursing, and optometry students also, or is it just MED?
    3)Are you able to live off of the $1000 stipend, or do you need to take out additional loans?

    I was so happy when i passed the Physical because i heard that eliminates many applicants. I am sending in my paper work soon and have a lunch scheduled with my recruiter on MON, and I let you know if i get any new info.

    [This message has been edited by TNT (edited 12-12-2000).]
  15. Terry

    Terry Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 27, 2000
    Little Rock
    What is the age cut-off for the program?
  16. nostromo

    nostromo Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 14, 2000
    New Brunswick, New Jersey
    In answer to the first post, yes, military physican salary is based on rank/number of years in service and multiple other factors.

    Let's take me for example. I grossed about $52,000 last year. Roughly $37,000 as an LT/03 in for 3 years, GMO bonus: $15,000, Flight Pay: $125/month, plus housing, et al.

    I established Florida residency status while in flight school, a good move, as I am not required to pay state taxes.

    I also moonlight in rural E.R.'s and make about $60/hour on the side. I do this a few times a month, but the military is pretty liberal as far as this goes, as long as it's not during normal working hours, so you can moonlight as much or as little as you want to.

    Of course, once you've completed residency, you make specialty bonus pay, but that's another story.

    As I've said in other posts, join the military to serve your country and for the opportunity to experience things few civilian physicans can, not to strike it rich.

    By the way, I've managed to retain some semblance of my humanity, as well as proper grammatical skills, thank you very much...

    Lt. Michael E. Suls, D.O., MC, USNR
    Head Flight Surgeon
    Corpus Christi, TX

    [email protected]
  17. TNT

    TNT Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Sep 3, 2000
    Thanks for the good info Nostromo. Got any more for us thinking about HPSP?
  18. Homunculus

    Homunculus SDN Caveman Administrator Moderator Physician 10+ Year Member

    Jul 24, 2000
    As far as the $1000 goes, it depends on your budget. I went ahead and took out some subsidized loans so I could afford a little better location to live in.

    I'm not sure about the other students at OBC-- they could very well be all the HPSPers for the army.

    The physical standards there are pretty basic-- get an APFT scoring sheet from your recruiter, and find your age-- it will show how many push ups, sit ups, and what your 2 mile run time should be to score the minimum of 180 required to pass. If you don't pass, they don't kick you out-- you just have to do a little extra PT. Hope that helped a little.

    take it easy

  19. nostromo

    nostromo Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 14, 2000
    New Brunswick, New Jersey

    Well, TNT, I guess I could add only that:

    1. Military healthcare is slouching towards an HMO model, so forget about any dreams you may have had about autonomy.

    2. Your duty assignments, in reality, are luck of the draw. As I've stated before, the needs of the military outweigh the needs of a single service member. (Boy, I sound like Mr. Spock). Anyway, you go where you're needed. Don't count on anything unless you see it in writing. In which case, your orders can still be modified or pulled at the last minute. Sneaky, aren't they???

    3. If you go Navy, you'll most likely be a GMO for a tour or two. If you have no qualms about practicing medicine for a couple of years with only a PGY 1 year under your belt. Go for it!! Kinda scary if you happen to be assinged a branch clinic with a large volume of dependents and retirees with complex medical problems, and you're it!!! Boy, that pen feels mighty heavy at times.

    4. Last thing to consider. I make no political stance, as it is inappropriate and a UCMJ violation to do so. Just consider this: Eight years of our former administration have had some, well, effects on the economy, readiness and morale on today's military. And if you think that doesn't spill over onto the medical side, think again.

    I guess there's no right answer. Do what's in your heart. The surgeons say: all bleeding eventually stops. I say: so does all pain.

    Humans have an amazing ability to adapt to the most disadvantageous and unpleasant of situations. After all, I've lived in Corpus Christi for three years, and I'm still smiling!

    Good Luck

  20. pyoj

    pyoj Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    I posted a message about people's thoughts on the military scholarship before I found this discussion. So bear with me.

    I would love to speak to people who have gone through the application process for either the Air Force or Army scholarships.

    Air Force because there are an abundance of Air Force bases in California (I'll be attending COMP in the Fall).

    Army because my aunt is a Colonel in the Army and practices at Walter Reed Hospital.

    Thanks for the feedback, you can email me or reply to this post.

    thanks all!

    [This message has been edited by pyoj (edited 01-02-2001).]
  21. rdennisjr

    rdennisjr SDN Super Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Nov 26, 2000
    Omaha, NE
    Mojo, pyoj:

    If you look through the various threads online here, there are several that discuss in great detail the military scholorship programs. Several of the threads tend to devolve into bitter name-calling, but at least it is a start. While not in the program myself, I do have 12 years of military experience (guard-time along with to combat zone deployments) so I do have some insight into the military life and mind-set.

    KEY POINT: TISNTASFL. There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

    While the money is really quite excellent, please do not go looking at these programs as if they are a free-route to med school. They aren't. You get the cash and lack of debt - but in return, you owe the military a good chunk of time. Is it fair? Yes. Is it worth it to you? Up to you to decide. I'll be starting the military's physician assistant school this fall. Two years of training, mid-30's salary, living expenses, no tuition, fees, books, etc. All Free! Oh - I do owe them 6 years of guard-time when I'm done. Is it worth it to me - you betcha! Not only do I get a great education, but I can continue to do what I enjoy. Only in the military would I get to have gone to at least two countries I would have never picked myself - good and bad to that I guess.

    Anyhow - one of you asked - will you go to war. Answer - who knows. However, if your unit is tasked with a deployment you will go where the boss sends you - part of being in the military. Is that bad - not necessarily.

    SECOND KEY POINT: Don't just listen to myself or anyone else here. Listen to lots of people. Contact current doc's in the military. DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH. MAKE A DECISION BASED ON YOUR OWN DESIRES, NEEDS, AND GOALS!

    And Good luck!

    --Oops. Hmm, interesting--
  22. akron

    akron Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 27, 2000
    akron, OH,
    I have already recieved and committed to an Army HPSP scholarship.
    The application process took about 2 months to complete, it definately took alot of TIME and PATIENCE to go through.
    Even if you are unsure about the scholarship you should start the application process, you can always turn it down once you get it, but there are only a limited number of schoarships for each branch and I know that in december when I applied there was about 50 applicates going to the december boards. They accepted about 20 people, they meet every month until all the scholarships are gone, which is usually mid-spring.
    Be sure you want to be in the military if you accept the scholarship, cause you will be in it for a while and make sure you know everything about what the military requires from you during that time and what the military owes you. This requires alot of work on your own, ask alot of questions and make alot of phone calls, I've heard to many people complaining that they did'nt find out alot of the details until they graduated from med-school and quite frankly I think that it would be stupid to sign you future away without knowing all the details and then complaining aftewards.
  23. gmo

    gmo Junior Member

    Dec 7, 1999
    I am a current Army FP who is getting out next year (completion of my obligation). I know a lot of docs who have gotten out. I agree with the statement about the past 8 years in the military, I too will remain politically correct, read between the lines. I personally feel that the military has strayed away from "making Doctors happy" as recruiters and some of the older doctors will tell you about the old military. Little things like last minute deployments, HMO style setup, and if you try to make positive changes to some of the problems....reaching roadblocks. I am not bitter, just ready to try something else. I think this translates to I believe I can do better. The clinic in which I work does not have enough ancillary staff and I am often having to work harder to get the patients through the clinic. Something simple as having to go out to the waiting room and call the patient back gets annoying after a few hundred times. Hopefully, the next 4 years will start to show an improvement in the military. There is a reason that News Headlines have been reporting about the morale in the military.

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