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utpa17

Air force PA- no military background

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Hey! I recently got into PA school and was interested in the HPSP program or joining the Air Force after I graduate & doing the five weeks training in Alabama. I have no military background, but everyone I have talked too thinks the AF is a great idea because of how much I'll learn and the opportunities I'll be given. However there are some negative things online (suicidal people, unhappy with their job etc). So I was just hoping someone could provide me an honest opinion on what it would be like being a PA in the air force. I have no problems with traveling, working long hours or deployment. I am aware of what I am getting into, but why is it that people choose to stay 100-200k in debt when they could just join the military and have their education or loans paid off? Is the military really that bad that people would choose 15 years of loan repayment instead? Basically I want to know why there are some people who just really dislike being a PA in the air force because once I sign my contract, I can't just get out of it. 

Thanks for the input!

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@utpa17

Bottom line, military is not for everyone. Doesn't matter what the perks or benefits are, if you don't have the personality and patience to be in the military it won't be worth it. It's like asking why become a PA if you can become a doctor. The perks, doctors get paid more, the status, the MD behind their name, its just few more years of school?

I have no experience with AF or not a PA yet, so I can't comment on AF PA life. But I was enlisted for 7 years in the Navy, and some days it sucked, and some days it was great. Now, for many, all their experiences may have been bad so no matter what you say or offer, they will never go back in. They would most likely chose the alternative. 

Edited by moleashish

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I was in the Air Force I went in at age 35. I know that every base is different, however, my work situation was a cushion job (FP and  ER). I liked it a lot and had some of my best friends while serving. The pay is better in real life than on paper.

The down side, for me, is that I color outside the lines. I'm not a conformists and I new that I would never make the rank I needed (I came in as a captain) to stay in as a career. For example I refused to give the base commander's wife antibiotics in the ER for her runny nose and I got into really big trouble.

I would do it all over again, if I could get the right assignments. My base closed and they tried to reassign me in an unaccompany status site and I had a wife and five kids. So I got out.

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On 11/16/2018 at 12:18 AM, utpa17 said:

Hey! I recently got into PA school and was interested in the HPSP program or joining the Air Force after I graduate & doing the five weeks training in Alabama. I have no military background, but everyone I have talked too thinks the AF is a great idea because of how much I'll learn and the opportunities I'll be given. However there are some negative things online (suicidal people, unhappy with their job etc). So I was just hoping someone could provide me an honest opinion on what it would be like being a PA in the air force. I have no problems with traveling, working long hours or deployment. I am aware of what I am getting into, but why is it that people choose to stay 100-200k in debt when they could just join the military and have their education or loans paid off? Is the military really that bad that people would choose 15 years of loan repayment instead? Basically I want to know why there are some people who just really dislike being a PA in the air force because once I sign my contract, I can't just get out of it. 

Thanks for the input!

Agree, military is not for everyone. I've been a Navy PA for 2 years and came in open minded with the possibility of making it a career. I will be separating at the completion of my service of 3 years. So far in 2 years I worked at a family practice clinic, ER fast track, and was tasked multiple times for deployments, got shuffled around, and now am currently deployed. I agree with jmj11, I am not a conformist either. There are definitely really unique aspects (deployment, generous autonomy, trauma training) that make it a fun job, but doing the things to make rank and at least from the Navy side, doing more admin roles as you promote is not my cup of tea. I would do it again in a heart beat for the scholarship purposes, but I would tap out at 3 years no matter what. In fact the Navy is now offering very generous bonuses for 6 year extensions and I haven't thought twice about turning it down to go CivDiv and explore civilian fellowships/opportunities. Just depends on your priorities. Some people don't mind being flexible their entire career and being told where to go every 3 years and what job to do. For me, I want more flexibility. 

Edited by ncsunavypac

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