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bocc54

Interested in becoming a PA in the Navy or Air Force

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Hey Guys, 

 

I apologize if this has been asked before, but I did a lot of searching and couldn't really find any solid concrete answers to all of my questions or some of the answers have been dated a while back and things may have changed between now and then. Basically I am all set to start PA school and have already applied through CASPA this cycle. My second career choice was to go into the military and am now considering becoming a PA in the Navy or Air Force once I come out of school. My primary interest right now is emergency medicine and surgery, but this can obviously change during school. I notice most people asking questions about becoming a military PA have previous military experience. I, on the other hand, do not. 

 

-Having no prior military experience, is this even a possibility and if so how do I go about doing it?

-Going in, what will my initial rank be and how do I move up over time?

-If you have served before, what was your experience like?

-If I were to join the Navy or Air Force, do they have a program that will help me repay my loans?

-What can I expect to make starting out salary wise and how will this increase over the years?

-Am I required to serve X amount of years with them if I decide I want to become a civilian PA later in life?

-Are there any other branches I should possibly consider?

 

I absolutely love this country and have the most utmost respect for our military and would love to be one of the heroes that I so admire. I am not so concerned about the pay and the loan repayment as I want to do this because I genuinely want to join the military and support my country, but they are also questions that I would like to know a little bit about. I am unfortunately not too educated in regards to being a PA in the military, however, and that is why I came here for advice. I also know that it can be very hard work and being in the military is sometimes not all as it is cracked up to be. I completely understand that and am willing to deal with that. I know a lot of people are telling me to go talk to a recruiter, but I also hear that recruiters will just tell you a bunch of BS that isn't true just to get you to join (Not sure if this is true or not, just what I've heard.) so I am not sure what to believe and what not to believe. Any advice or guidance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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Hey Guys,

 

I apologize if this has been asked before, but I did a lot of searching and couldn't really find any solid concrete answers to all of my questions or some of the answers have been dated a while back and things may have changed between now and then. Basically I am all set to start PA school and have already applied through CASPA this cycle. My second career choice was to go into the military and am now considering becoming a PA in the Navy or Air Force once I come out of school. My primary interest right now is emergency medicine and surgery, but this can obviously change during school. I notice most people asking questions about becoming a military PA have previous military experience. I, on the other hand, do not.

 

-Having no prior military experience, is this even a possibility and if so how do I go about doing it?

-Going in, what will my initial rank be and how do I move up over time?

-If you have served before, what was your experience like?

-If I were to join the Navy or Air Force, do they have a program that will help me repay my loans?

-What can I expect to make starting out salary wise and how will this increase over the years?

-Am I required to serve X amount of years with them if I decide I want to become a civilian PA later in life?

-Are there any other branches I should possibly consider?

 

I absolutely love this country and have the most utmost respect for our military and would love to be one of the heroes that I so admire. I am not so concerned about the pay and the loan repayment as I want to do this because I genuinely want to join the military and support my country, but they are also questions that I would like to know a little bit about. I am unfortunately not too educated in regards to being a PA in the military, however, and that is why I came here for advice. I also know that it can be very hard work and being in the military is sometimes not all as it is cracked up to be. I completely understand that and am willing to deal with that. I know a lot of people are telling me to go talk to a recruiter, but I also hear that recruiters will just tell you a bunch of BS that isn't true just to get you to join (Not sure if this is true or not, just what I've heard.) so I am not sure what to believe and what not to believe. Any advice or guidance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Yes you can do it without prior service. Most PAs I work with do not.

 

You come in as an O2. Promotion to O3 is automatic after 2 years. You cannot do it faster even if you save the navy millions and pulled a man from a burning tank. A period on time after that, depending on how you came in, you separate as an O3 or stay in to compete for rank. How long to O4 will depend on promotion boards, so time line is variable. It will not be based on how good of a clinician you are, but financial/ admin / officer metrics.

 

Base salary is the same for every rank regardless of job, but there are bonuses that mix things up. You'll start out around 70k including your bonuses. It will vary depending on BAH, which is dependent on where you live. You'll probably make around 80-85 or so at 3 years depending on BAH, bonuses available, and the yearly inflation adjustment.

 

If you get the HSCP from Navy or HPSP from AF, your active duty obligation is 3 years. If you are a direct commission after you graduate, it may be longer depending on if you take sign on bonuses. You have a statistically better chance of you apply for the HSCP. The army has scholarship program for PAs as they get all they need from IPAP.

 

Join whatever branch you want. I can't tell you much about how life is different in the 3. I just know about Navy.

 

Know t is not like the movies. You will rarely, if ever, be doing high speed, tacti-cool procedures in the dirt of some battlefield. Good luck!

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I have a question about  military PA life. Is there any choice in the where? For example, My wife is from Italy and there is an Air-Force base very close to where her family lives. Would it be a 1 in 1,000,000 kind of situation to get over there? If there was a need and I happened to get struck by lightning kind of lucky? I believe there is a Naval base in Naples too. 

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Getting the place of your choice, especially on a smaller base in a nice country like Italy, is pretty low. There is some say, but it's usually "these are your 4 choices. Pick from them." I'm not going to say it never happens, because it does and I've seen it, but going in thinking it would happen is a set up for failure and disappointment.

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I recently separated from the Air Force after 4 years and can only give you advice based on that branch. Answers below are bolded.

 

Hey Guys, 

 

I apologize if this has been asked before, but I did a lot of searching and couldn't really find any solid concrete answers to all of my questions or some of the answers have been dated a while back and things may have changed between now and then. Basically I am all set to start PA school and have already applied through CASPA this cycle. My second career choice was to go into the military and am now considering becoming a PA in the Navy or Air Force once I come out of school. My primary interest right now is emergency medicine and surgery, but this can obviously change during school. I notice most people asking questions about becoming a military PA have previous military experience. I, on the other hand, do not. 

 

You will be placed in family medicine to start off. In the AF, EM and surgery require residencies. One of the benefits to the EM residency is that you will get a clinical doctorate at the end of it. The downside is that, like many things in the military, it is competitive and political.

 

-Having no prior military experience, is this even a possibility and if so how do I go about doing it? HPSP is apparently back, based on what I've heard from some forum members. That would be the best way to get in (and also have your school paid for).

-Going in, what will my initial rank be and how do I move up over time? If you do HPSP, you will be commissioned as a second lieutenant and will be placed in the individual ready reserve. Upon graduation of PA school, you will be promoted to first lieutenant. You will become captain automatically at the 2 year mark of the beginning of your active duty commitment. Major in 4 (but you won't put on the rank until a year after you are promoted).

-If you have served before, what was your experience like? Good doctors that love to teach. Terrible leadership and toxic work environment (at least at my base...from what I heard from others, YMMV). That's the downside of the military: You don't get to choose where you go and if you end up with bad bosses, you're stuck with them.

 

To give you an example of the kind of doctors that mentored me there: my primary mentor separated from service less than a year ago. She was a former chief resident. Upon separation, she was hired by a major medical center in a large metro area. She has already been made medical director and is in the process of becoming the director of their residency program.

 

I would say that I had top-of-the-line mentorship at my base.

 

-If I were to join the Navy or Air Force, do they have a program that will help me repay my loans? Yes. Google HPSP and HSCP.

-What can I expect to make starting out salary wise and how will this increase over the years? The pay is a bit complicated. You will get base pay (which you can google) plus non-taxed food and housing stipends. Food stipend is fixed, but housing stipend

-Am I required to serve X amount of years with them if I decide I want to become a civilian PA later in life? 3 years

-Are there any other branches I should possibly consider? Army is in an option.

 

I absolutely love this country and have the most utmost respect for our military and would love to be one of the heroes that I so admire. I am not so concerned about the pay and the loan repayment as I want to do this because I genuinely want to join the military and support my country, but they are also questions that I would like to know a little bit about. I am unfortunately not too educated in regards to being a PA in the military, however, and that is why I came here for advice. I also know that it can be very hard work and being in the military is sometimes not all as it is cracked up to be. I completely understand that and am willing to deal with that. I know a lot of people are telling me to go talk to a recruiter, but I also hear that recruiters will just tell you a bunch of BS that isn't true just to get you to join (Not sure if this is true or not, just what I've heard.) so I am not sure what to believe and what not to believe. Any advice or guidance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

 

Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions.

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I have a question about  military PA life. Is there any choice in the where? For example, My wife is from Italy and there is an Air-Force base very close to where her family lives. Would it be a 1 in 1,000,000 kind of situation to get over there? If there was a need and I happened to get struck by lightning kind of lucky? I believe there is a Naval base in Naples too. 

 

In the AF at least, this won't happen on your first assignment. New PAs are required to remain stateside for their first assignment. You may have a shot after about 3-4 years though.

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You guys have been more than helpful with regards to answering all of my questions. Thank you so much!!

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