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Undergrad -> Military Officer -> PA School?

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Hi! So post grad life has changed my career plans from being a Doctor to a PA and honestly it's such a liberating feeling of not having to deal with the MCAT and residency. On the other hand, I don't know what my next steps should be since I made this decision very recently.

Is there a specific program in the military (AF/Navy/Reserves?) where I can enter as an officer (I have a bachelor's in psychology and minor in sociology), get experience working in the hospital (in the pediatric ward if possible), then apply to PA school using those accrued hours as direct patient contact? And the number of X years I have to do in order to be able to get out of the military to pursue PA training?

I would apply to PA school except I'm short on my PA pre-reqs since I've been doing pre-med pre-reqs all of undergrad, plus I didn't really get out there to work in a paid position that involves direct patient contact....and I haven't taken the GRE to boot. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but will my PA schooling, housing, etc be paid only if I get into a PA program prior to starting? Or is that a whole different program entirely dedicated for med and dental students?

I know there's a lot to unpack here but if anyone could help me on how I should go about this, I would really appreciate it. Thanks in advance!

Edited by avanilla10

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You need a professional degree that would allow you to work in healthcare for the military to commission you as an officer. So, no. But you could always enlist and be a corpsmen or medic. With a bachelors you would attain rank quickly to a point.

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I would advice you get PCE hours via more traditional ways, ER Tech, MA, Scribe, EMT, CNA over trying to enlist. Applying to civilian PA school directly and then applying for military scholarship  (HPSP/HSCP) would be a faster way to become a PA and enter military service as an officer. 

The whole, joining the military just to get healthcare experience then in hopes to go to military PA school (IPAP) seems to me, a very round about way to do things. Specially, if you already have an undergrad degree.

If you do join the military, you have better chance of enlisting as medic or corpsman rather than officer to gain healthcare experience. To be a corpsman you sign up for at least 5 years. Yes, you will gain experience but then applying to IPAP and getting selected is just as competitive as applying to any other PA school. This route I foresee you getting to PA school no earlier than 4 years vs going about the civilian route, you possibly can get accepted into PA school in 2 years, if you can rack up the PCE hours by the traditional methods I mentioned at the beginning. 

HPSP if for Navy, AF, Army however I believe Army has the highest quota for PAs with this scholarship. Navy seems to fluctuate but generally lower. This pays for tuition and gives you small stipends to live of off. Years in school does not count towards retirement years. Good for those who don't plan to make military their career. 

HSCP is Navy specific scholarship. Pays you Active Duty E6 pay but no tuition. Years in school counts towards your retirement years. Use this if you plan to stay in long enough to retire. You will end up taking out loans for tuition if your program cost of attendance is high. 

Join the military if that is what you really want to do. Just my honest thought. If you have any other question please feel free to ask. 

Edited by moleashish

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