Jump to content

CPT that exceeds 8 years TIS wants to go to IPAP

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

I wanted to see if anyone had any advice or words of wisdom with my situation.

I am an active duty Army CPT and I am about to reach my 8th year in the Army. I really want to apply for the Army IPAP program next year, and I will only need to take a few classes to have all the necessary pre-reqs to attend. My main issue is that according to the most recent MILPER you cannot have over 8 years of active commissioned service. By next year I will have 9.

I am tempted to put together a packet anyway and just see what happens, but I am not sure if I will even be considered.

My last and only other option will be to get out and join the Reserves and apply as a Reservist and be accept a Reserve appointment. This option is much riskier, as I would be assuming a considerable amount of risk if this did not work out.

Lastly, this is something that I really want to do. I do not care about promotions or anything like that, I just want to get in!

If anyone has any help on this it will be greatly appreciated.





Link to comment
Share on other sites



First off, best of luck to you. I'd contact the IPAP Program Manager to explain your situation. There is a TIS waiver (link doesn't work) but I'm sure they could email you a copy or you could construct one based off any of the other waiver examples that have working links. (IPAP contact link below)

I can tell you that on the guard/reserve side, you have to be an active drilling member for a min of 1 year before applying and it is risky. The slots are limited and you would still require a TIS waiver. The guard DOES need PAs (probably the reserves too) but I don't think the grass is any more green/less competitive. 

I left active duty with 10 years TIS because I wanted/want to become a PA. When I attempted to apply on AD at 9yrs, there was no TIS waiver and I was simply told I had no chance. Once out, I looked into the guard and the recommendation from the AMEDD Personnel Program Manager was not encouraging in any way. Fast forward 1 year, I'm now applying to civilian PA programs and intent to join the guard after I complete a program. 

Getting out is an option but not a decision to take lightly. Two PROS are that you have the time to focus on finishing prereqs and building your healthcare experience, assuming you don't have any. The biggest CON is that you lose your paycheck so you have to be financially prepared. The GI Bill will only carry you so far but it is a big help. The other big CON is that transitioning can (not always) be a difficult process, especially when you are going from a role where the responsibility and risk is high to a life with almost no risk/responsibility as a undergrad student. This has been my experience but doesn't represent everyone else - you may be different. 

Now that I've crushed your hopes and dreams, I'd say don't let anyone stop you. If they say no, find another route. Remember that knowing the right people DOES help so use the military network you have now. If you've exhausted all resources for getting into IPAP via active duty then consider another option. 

Good luck brother!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks a lot for the message. I was really excited because after Company Command and multiple deployments I thought I finally found what I wanted to do with my life. I need to move forward with this. It would be great to do it through the military and not have to take out loans.. but you have to fight for what you want. I spoke with the program director. It looks like it is not possible at least on the AD side. But it looks like a rewarding career. Haven't met an unhappy PA. Thanks for the help. Best of luck with your application. Hope you get in.


Last question. Other than this forum are you aware of any PA Veteran Organizations that could offer some mentorship on applying to civilian schools?  


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

It's been a while since i've been active duty , so the rules may be different now but the PA that was assigned to my company was an Infantry Officer (O-3/CPT) before going to IPAP. He told me he had to drop rank down to O-2 (im sure someone else can explain this process, but it's not the first time i've heard of soldiers dropping rank to attend a certain school)  to attend and then when he finished he was promoted back to CPT. It's funny, when talking to him on why he wanted to become a PA it was exactly like your answer. He told me, " When I got back from Iraq, I looked around and all the PAs looked happy."

After I got out, I'm now doing it for the same reason. I'm currently in my didactic year of PA school.

Wishing you the best of luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

AFCS is divided in half at completion of PA school. TIS, BASD etc is not affected. This is why the change in rank does not effect eligibility. There have been several ideas tossed around the Army PA community as to why this change was made. 

For instance - I was accepted and started IPAP April 2011. Completed October 2013. Retiring Jan 2020. The Army got 6ish years out of putting me through school. I had 14 years AFS when I graduated. My selection year was the largest in the history of IPAP for the Army and we are down to 37 remaining on AD for the O4 board next year. 

What the Army wants is a Soldier to finish PA school between 8-12 years AFS. Why? The service obligation is 4.5 years. This puts graduates in the position of leaving the Army at 12-16 years AFS or staying 6-10 more years after the ADSO. Many would choose to stay for retirement. It is cheaper to retain than train a new PA. 


Apologies for all the acronyms but it seemed the OP was military and should understand them. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

Welcome to the Physician Assistant Forum! This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn More