DDS1st

10+ Year Member
Jul 2, 2007
17
0
Status
Dentist
I was ask if I wouldn't mind helping to help monitor SDN for questions people may have about career opportunities as a dentist within the United States Public Health Service (USPHS).

There is a forum that was posted about a year ago that has a lot of great information and questions. "Ask a USPHS Dentist"

If you have any questions, please ask!


Background from my colleague's original post "Ask a USPHS Dentist" that has not changed since that forum:

USPHS is one of the seven uniformed services. We have the same rank structure as the Navy and NOAA (another uniformed service) and all wear almost identical uniforms. We have the same payscale as the military, the same great benefits, and similar bonuses. The PHS is made up of officers only, there are no enlisted. As a new dentist you come in as an O3 (Lieutenant) and get promoted to O4 (Lieutenant Commander) after 4 years, which is similar to the other uniformed services. If you have some experience as a dentist already you can come in at a higher rank than O3. For dental and medical officers there is no promotion board from O3 t0 O4, it is non-competitive (ie. if you meet the very easy requirements you are promoted).

Becoming an officer in the PHS is a little different than the military. You need to 1) get commissioned as an officer and 2) choose a job with one of the government agencies that employs PHS dentists. You can do both concurrently, and you probably should in order to speed up the process.

The PHS dental category is a lot smaller than the other uniformed services' dental corps, currently there are only about 225 dentists working at various government agencies. Right now about half of the dentists in the PHS are in the Indian Health Service (IHS). The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and the US Coast Guard (USCG) come next with about 50 or so each, and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Health Service Corps has about 12. There are also a few positions with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Office of the Secretary (OS) of the Dept of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The full breakdown can be found at http://dcp.psc.gov/ccmis/statuscharts/REPORT_Public_Pivot.aspx by selecting Agency vs. Category. This table shows only how many dentists are in the PHS right now and doesn't include any vacant positions.
 

HotDogzNMilk

7+ Year Member
Dec 3, 2012
5
0
Status
Pre-Dental
Thanks for starting this thread! I'm an AF dentist currently in my AEGD-1 residency. 3-year HPSP, 4 years payback total. I really enjoy the Air Force so far but I've been thinking about my options following my payback just to keep myself aware of the possibilities. I hadn't really thought much about PHS dentistry until I stumbled upon the Ask a USPHS Dentist thread from last year. Seems like the PHS offers some great opportunities and a rewarding path this is a bit different from military dentistry.

I'm wondering how the transition would work from prior military service. Do military dentists have an advantage over civilian dentists wanting to join the PHS?
Also, I noticed from the old thread that the PHS apparently credits your time in dental school as years of service. Is that reflected in your pay, and do those years still count towards retirement if you transfer from the military? I find it hard to believe I would jump from 4 years service to 8 years of service if I transitioned to the PHS.
 
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DDS1st

DDS1st

10+ Year Member
Jul 2, 2007
17
0
Status
Dentist
Thanks for starting this thread! I'm an AF dentist currently in my AEGD-1 residency. 3-year HPSP, 4 years payback total. I really enjoy the Air Force so far but I've been thinking about my options following my payback just to keep myself aware of the possibilities. I hadn't really thought much about PHS dentistry until I stumbled upon the Ask a USPHS Dentist thread from last year. Seems like the PHS offers some great opportunities and a rewarding path this is a bit different from military dentistry.

I'm wondering how the transition would work from prior military service. Do military dentists have an advantage over civilian dentists wanting to join the PHS?
Also, I noticed from the old thread that the PHS apparently credits your time in dental school as years of service. Is that reflected in your pay, and do those years still count towards retirement if you transfer from the military? I find it hard to believe I would jump from 4 years service to 8 years of service if I transitioned to the PHS.
At this time there are a number of vacancies so military dentist don't have a particular advantage over civilian dentist. The application process is same and can take anywhere from 4-10 months depending on the individual.
Yes PHS credits your time in dental school as years of service once you reach you reach retirement eligibility which is a minimum of 20 years at this moment. That may change with the implication of BRS but it may take a few years to sort the specifics of that out. So you would only have 4 years of service if you were to transition.
 
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Batmansvoice

5+ Year Member
Sep 27, 2012
61
1
Status
Dental Student
Is the PHS in need of dentists at the moment? Or is it at capacity like the other military branches? I ask because it appears the dental corps is smaller for Usphs so it's more likely to fill up. What is generally the acceptance rate for dental applicants to the Usphs? What would get a dentist rejected? Thank you!
 
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DDS1st

DDS1st

10+ Year Member
Jul 2, 2007
17
0
Status
Dentist
Is the PHS in need of dentists at the moment? Or is it at capacity like the other military branches? I ask because it appears the dental corps is smaller for Usphs so it's more likely to fill up. What is generally the acceptance rate for dental applicants to the Usphs? What would get a dentist rejected? Thank you!
The Public Health Service has a number of vacancies for dentist throughout the country and is far from capacity. There are multiple steps in the process of becoming a Commissioned Officer with the Public Health Service and at any step it could be determined you are not a qualified candidate. Items that may disqualify someone include things pertaining medical conditions, dental competency and proficiency, legal infractions and other items along those line.
 
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