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I just received the 4 year Army HPSP scholarship but am unsure how the service requirement works if I were potentially interested in specializing. Would I be forced into doing a specialty in the military or could I do a civilian specialty right after dental school and then serve my 4 years in the military? Basically, do I need to the 4 years immediately after? Or could I pursue a civilian specialty before serving?
 

Tooth Ferry

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I just received the 4 year Army HPSP scholarship but am unsure how the service requirement works if I were potentially interested in specializing. Would I be forced into doing a specialty in the military or could I do a civilian specialty right after dental school and then serve my 4 years in the military? Basically, do I need to the 4 years immediately after? Or could I pursue a civilian specialty before serving?
Congratulations on being awarded the scholarship!

No one is going to force you to do anything. The only requirement (currently) is to apply to an AEGD. At this time, you are not required to actually do the AEGD but that is obviously subject to change (like anything in the military).

Currently, no one in the Army is allowed to do a civilian program with the exception of pediatric dentistry. In the past, they have authorized 1 or 2 people to do a 6-year OMFS program but that hasn't occurred for several years. The Army will not allow you to apply for a civilian program on your own, though. The Navy occasionally allows OMFS to do that.

You are able to apply to most specialities as a 4th year dental student excluding ortho and pediatric.
 

FutureDent020

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You will be serving immediately the summer after you graduate. And like Tooth Ferry said, you will be applying to specialty programs through the army, it’s them that could give you permission to a civilian residency program, and that is very unlikely. It’s unlikely to do any specialty through the military right out of Dental School. In the Navy, OMFS took the most candidates directly out of school. Just keep your grades up for now. Revisit this after your second year in DS.
 
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D1Bound

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You will be serving immediately the summer after you graduate. And like Tooth Ferry said, you will be applying to specialty programs through the army, it’s them that could give you permission to a civilian residency program, and that is very unlikely. It’s unlikely to do any specialty through the military right out of Dental School. In the Navy, OMFS took the most candidates directly out of school. Just keep your grades up for now. Revisit this after your second year in DS.
I have personally asked an oral surgery program director about this. All I got was "It's possible, unlikely, but possible." With my very limited experience being around army dentists and the army just in general, one things holds true. If you hustle, network, and show motivation for something, sometimes you can somewhat carve your own path. To specialize in a civilian program you would have to be an exceptionally strong candidate and have killer recommendations and have a good reason as to why you wanted to do it.
 
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Recip

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I have personally asked an oral surgery program director about this. All I got was "It's possible, unlikely, but possible." With my very limited experience being around army dentists and the army just in general, one things holds true. If you hustle, network, and show motivation for something, sometimes you can somewhat carve your own path. To specialize in a civilian program you would have to be an exceptionally strong candidate and have killer recommendations and have a good reason as to why you wanted to do it.
You have a view that is overly optimistic of the Army and will only be disappointed with that line of thinking. If the Army is understrength in OMS and needs to train more OMS, they could potential do this by opening up a couple civilian spots. I have not seen it in my time, so don't expect it. The path they are going down now is just increasing retention bonuses to make incentive for current OMSs to stay.
 
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Tooth Ferry

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You have a view that is overly optimistic of the Army and will only be disappointed with that line of thinking. If the Army is understrength in OMS and needs to train more OMS, they could potential do this by opening up a couple civilian spots. I have not seen it in my time, so don't expect it. The path they are going down now is just increasing retention bonuses to make incentive for current OMSs to stay.
They took 3 alternates for OMS this year.
 
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