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Is it possible to serve active duty while going to PA school?


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No, I don't think so. I can't imagine being AD and going through full time schooling -- and you can't just pause PA school for a deployment, TDY, etc., etc., etc.. You can get a medical scholarship if you're currently AD, and *I think* be on some type of reserve status during school, and then go AD after. Or, after graduating from PA school, complete OTS and commission. However, I am NO expert on this, but I know there are a few military PAs on here! Hope they can help more definitively. 

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As far as I know, Active duty is pretty much out of the question unless you do like TomB said and did the IPAP. Active military is a fulltime job, and PA school is pretty much a full time job as well. Even reservists and national guard need to pull some stops with their home units in order to focus on school. Well, I mean you could stay active reserve while going to PA school, but it would really suck to have drill the weekend before midterms.

 

-ARNG Medic

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I can tell you from my experience...I was enlisted in the AF Reserves when I started PA school. I made it to one drill and then realized that there was no way that I was going to be able to continue to balance drill and school so I separated. 

 

I think its kind of funny how before you start school you have an idea that it is going to be difficult as I did. But it's not until you get into the meat of it that you really appreciate how difficult it really is. 

 

Armand

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Well, I'm in the DEP for the Air Force and I'm trying to switch over to the ANG. I tried to explain to my recruiter what I want to do. He tried taking me out of it. But I've decided that I'm going into the Guard. I'm trying to go to PA school. I will try to apply to military friendly schools. I hope I'm making the right decision.

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Wait - are you talking about trying to go to a civilian PA school while on Active Duty? Completely impossible - you simply can't be in two places at once. PA school (whether civilian or IPAP) is a 100%, full-time commitment. How could you possibly simultaneously serve on Active Duty in another capacity? If you're talking about going to IPAP, well then, yes, you would be on Active Duty while doing so - but it's a multi-year process to get to that point.

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Well, I'm in the DEP for the Air Force and I'm trying to switch over to the ANG. I tried to explain to my recruiter what I want to do. He tried taking me out of it. But I've decided that I'm going into the Guard. I'm trying to go to PA school. I will try to apply to military friendly schools. I hope I'm making the right decision.

 

you mean a recruiter tried to get you to do something that benefited him - amazing! (tongue in cheek)

 

 

As to the OP - No way to be AD and in PA school unless they are one in the same....

 

now NP school is likely doable...... 

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Wait - are you talking about trying to go to a civilian PA school while on Active Duty? Completely impossible - you simply can't be in two places at once. PA school (whether civilian or IPAP) is a 100%, full-time commitment. How could you possibly simultaneously serve on Active Duty in another capacity? If you're talking about going to IPAP, well then, yes, you would be on Active Duty while doing so - but it's a multi-year process to get to that point.

I figured it would be impossible to do PA school and active duty. DANG!!! What do you mean it's a multi-year process?

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  • 2 weeks later...

The only way I know of is if you get the Navy HSCP scholarship.  You are brought in as an E6 with all the pay + benefits of an E6.  You're only "job" is to go to school and possibly two week drill over the summers.  The drawback would be that tuition, books, ...school expenses are all on you.  It's a good program if you're going to an inexpensive school.  I guess you could also take out loans even if you get the scholarship...  There's no other way however to be active duty and go to PA school...besides actually getting accepted to a military PA program.

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I figured it would be impossible to do PA school and active duty. DANG!!! What do you mean it's a multi-year process?

 

 

I mean that you're not going to be able to enlist in the Navy (or any other branch) and immediately get accepted into PA school. You're going to have to do your initial entry training (boot camp and A-school, and possibly a C-school) and then get to your first duty station and complete appropriate qualifications before anyone takes your request to attend IPAP seriously. Not only that, but the Navy requires applicants to be E-5 or above, and that alone will take you several (at least 3, moving quickly) years. It's not a bad way to go (after all, it's what I did), but it takes time, and realistically is only really worth it IMO if you intend to do a full 20 years in the service. The plus side, of course, is zero college debt...

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  • 1 month later...

You cannot do AD and PA school at the same time unless you are attending IPAP (which is the military PA program). You can most definintely do the National Guard while doing PA school, and it would actually be a great decision. The NG offers a lot of educational benefits that are awesome if you are enlisted because you do not incur a service obligations (like us officers do), and you get to dip into both state and federal funding. There are also many incentives to those that are currently serving in the NG and choose a civ PA program to go to- depending on your states needs. For instance, the NG is currently offering a 20k student loan repayment option for each year of PA school, for every 3 years that you add to your contract. So basically, you get to use EDD (state tutition assistance), TA (federal tutition assistance), and if you ADSO you can get 40k repaid on your student loans. 

 

I mean, that sounds like a win to me. The NG also allows the "Flex Policy" which allows providers and students in medical programs ( Like PA or medical school) only drill once a quarter- so you only have to show up once every 3 months in order to remain in good standing with your unit. You are also non-deployable at that time. If you want more information, or would like me to put you in contact with your state's Medical Officer Recruiter, let me know. I prefer to give you more detailed information than to just say "No, its impossible..." or something like that from above... 

 

 

Good luck!

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I just looked up the numbers, so I'll give you a better picture of the financial benefit. 

 

20k ( in loan repayment) 

4,500 TA Cap

4000 EDD Cap 

---------------------------

28,500 per year 

x2

---------------------------

$57,000 total you WILL NOT pay out of pocket for PA school, just by joining the NG.  ($9500 of that will be paid every year, so you don't take out loans for that amount). 

 

PA schools are 60k-75k for the entire program, so it looks like a good financial decision= 3k - 18k (plus some interest...) for a PA degree (plus whatever you take out to live off of)! 

 

Also, many private civ schools offer discounted tuition to military- and many of them have PA programs as well. 

 

 

But above all, make sure you are joining the military for the right reasons. It is very rewarding, but does come with sacrifices! 

 

 

Good luck!

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