I’m looking to change careers and would love to get your advice.
Briefly about me: I’m a 30 year old architect who’s looking to change careers. After years of debating, I decided to enlist in the Navy for special forces Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD), looking for a more interesting, physical challenge. I’ve earned my contract for the job and now I’m in a delayed entry program, which means I don’t plan to leave for a few months. I still had my doubts if I’m making the right choice (I can still back out if I want), so I met with a career counselor. My results came back with a 100% match for physician assistant and physical therapist. After my research, the flexibility, amount of education, lifestyle, and salary, PA seems like the better route.
Before going to PA school, I would need to go back and take my remaining science classes, which may take a while. I’ve considered night classes, but I would still like to use military to pay for education (I currently have zero debt and it’d be nice to keep it that way). I found out that Air Force has a program called Pararescue, which focuses a lot around EMT. I’m thinking that could expose me to the medical field, while paying for undergrad, giving me a leg-up when applying for jobs, and fulfilling my desire to do something adventurous and fulfilling.
Here's my idea:
Enlist into the Air Force and work my way into the Pararescue program.
After military training, I'm allowed to take college courses on my free time. Sign up to take the required remaining courses to become eligible for med-school. Serve my time in the special forces When completed, sign up for the officer program in military medical field, specializing in Physician Assistant. (I'm still finding out if having experience in Pararescue would qualify for substituting classes.) Receive a scholarship that will grant me 100% coverage of tuition, books, and a monthly $2,000 stipend. To my knowledge, military requires you to serve 1-year for every year of school you attend (or maybe it’s an additional year after 4?) Serve a few years in AF as a PA. Either stay in the AF for 20 years or leave after 2-3 years with no college debt. Work as a PA full-time, save responsibly, work for as long as I feel comfortable, and retire comfortably.
If anyone has some experience with a similar route or just has advice, I’d love to hear it.