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Direct Commissioning After PA school.

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I’m starting PA school next May. My plan the entire time was to direct commission into the military when I graduated, but now I’m not so sure if it’s possible. (Commissioning after PA school, not with a scholarship such as the HCSP).

Every time I try to research it, I find so much conflicting information. Some people say that you can direct commission right out of PA school. Some people say you need 1-2 years of experience. Some people say they take a bunch of direct commissions every year. Some people say they only take 1-2 per year in certain branches. 

I’m mainly interested in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and the National Guard (not very interested in the coast guard). 

When I graduate PA school, I will be 23 years old (3+2 program right out of high school). When I was in high school, the PA job market was seemingly strong, but now it seems that New-grads are having a hard time finding jobs (with many taking over 6 months to find employment after graduation) and it seems that many are taking jobs with low salaries (~80k per year) and not so good benefits (little to no PTO). So I would definitely like to get experience in the military before entering the civilian job market if possible.  
 

If anyone could help me understand the process better it would be greatly appreciated. 

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I can only tell you based on my N of 2 in the Navy, colleagues that direct commissioned. They applied right after school, or maybe at the end, and both took about 6-12 months for whatever paperwork to be processed. Not sure if they were immediately accepted waiting on commissioning paperwork, or waiting for some acceptance process. They stated at the time that no one goes directly in because of this process and it’s variable how long you wait to start. Both had jobs prior to starting. They also noted, and my recruiter when I inquired, that only a handful are selected for direct commission. 
 

my understanding for the army is they also take very few since they graduate so many from IPAP, that’s less solid info though. I know this is why they don’t offer their own scholarship. 

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I am prior Navy HM, so my knowledge on your specifics is close to none. However, like @LT_Oneal_PAC said, I know how long the entrance process can be. So I would recommend talking to recruiters now and get that ball rolling if you haven't already. 

Best,
Emily 

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Hey! 

I just graduated from PA school last week and I am in the process of trying to direct commission for the Army. I'm currently submitting my packet, have MEPS soon, and have an Army panel interview in October. 

I talked to a Navy medical recruiter who told me I need 1 year of civilian PA job experience before I could join. However, the Army does not require experience prior to joining.

I would suggest getting in contact with a medical recruiter for each branch you're interested in. From my experience, non-medical recruiters don't know the full details for direct commission PAs. 

Feel free to message me if you have any questions!! 

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Any interest in the USPHS? I too was interested in the Navy right after PA school but back then they only accepted PAs who are in their own program. That’s when I learned about the USPHS. I know not many PAs knows about them and some have transferred over from the sister services. 

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My data is 7 years old.  The air force recruited heavily at my PA school.  I believe 3 of 39 classmates signed up. Also, the army national guard recruited heavily, though not so much.  I believe they only got 1. 

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Hey guys I graduated 2 weeks ago and just took the PANCE today. I have been working on my direct commissioning packet with my Army Medical Recruiter for about 5 months now. I have already attended MEPS, attended it during my last rotation when I had a weekend off, and now all that I am waiting on is for my results from the NCCPA to come back. Highly encourage you to reach out to Medical Recruiters specifically those who have helped PAs commision in the past. He has been a tremendous help and has streamlined the whole process. 

Anyway my recruiter gave me a rough timeline.

Graduate and take boards in August 

Finish and look over all officer packet material in September including letters of rec, background, family, marriage etc

Submit Packet in October when the Armys yearly cycle resets and thus the most amount of slots are available. 

Hopefully commision and ship out to Oklahoma for Direct Comissioning Course in November

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On 8/31/2020 at 9:14 PM, markshark2013 said:

Hey guys I graduated 2 weeks ago and just took the PANCE today. I have been working on my direct commissioning packet with my Army Medical Recruiter for about 5 months now. I have already attended MEPS, attended it during my last rotation when I had a weekend off, and now all that I am waiting on is for my results from the NCCPA to come back. Highly encourage you to reach out to Medical Recruiters specifically those who have helped PAs commision in the past. He has been a tremendous help and has streamlined the whole process. 

Anyway my recruiter gave me a rough timeline.

Graduate and take boards in August 

Finish and look over all officer packet material in September including letters of rec, background, family, marriage etc

Submit Packet in October when the Armys yearly cycle resets and thus the most amount of slots are available. 

Hopefully commision and ship out to Oklahoma for Direct Comissioning Course in November

How'd that timeline workout?

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Haha original timeline didnt work out but it is progressing I got approved by the army's medical board so I have my slot as a 1st Lt but I am still waiting on getting my "scroll" which is a document that basically needs secretary of defense approval signed before I can schedule my DCC in Oklahoma. Hopefully I wont be waiting too much longer but the army's unofficial moto is "hurry up and wait" so there's that. No matter what I'm still looking forward to serving!

 

Edited by markshark2013
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On 12/29/2020 at 8:53 PM, markshark2013 said:

My scroll finally came back and I will be officially commissioning into the army as a 1st Lt on January 16th! 

Congrats. 

As a recent grad myself, I've sent my info to army, navy, AF, and USCG... the only one who emailed me back was the AF to tell me my bachelors degree wasn't enough. 🙄

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