Medical Careers and Education in the US MilitaryMarch 1, 2014
For those considering a career in medicine, there may be fewer better places to begin and build your medical career than with the United States military. With the cost of medical school approaching $200,000 for a private university medical education, the opportunity to defray some, if not all of the costs, can be a great inducement to follow a medical career track that includes serving as a medical officer in any branch of the US military. The military offers the opportunity for a rewarding medical career for those who are seeking experiences beyond the walls of a medical office or hospital. With excellent pay, benefits, and full retirement, consider the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines as a great way to achieve a medical career.
The Opportunity to Serve
For many young people, the opportunity to serve their country is enticement enough to consider a medical career through the military. The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) provides a prospective medical officer with the opportunity to serve his/her country and get paid to go to medical school. With a variety of medical assignments from which to choose, from flight surgeon to field medic, a medical officer never has to worry about his/her daily work routine becoming stagnant. The challenges of a medical career in the military are not for the faint of heart, as many medical situations are in close proximity to actual combat. Perks for pursuing this route to a medical career include tuition reimbursement, housing and rations allotments, travel, premier health benefits, and full retirement. For many people, a career as a military medical officer provides personal and professional satisfaction.
Pros and Cons of a Military Medical Career
The opportunity to see parts of the world that their civiliancounterparts will only see on vacation is enough motivation for many people to consider a career in the military. You’ll also have the opportunity to select from a variety of medical officer assignments, perhaps working as a flight surgeon in the Air Force, serving on board an aircraft carrier in the Navy, or caring for patients in a combat hospital in the Army or Marines. Clearly, there is never a dull moment in the military, but this work is not for the faint of heart.
As a member of the military, your job security is guaranteed by the federal government. The major drawback to a career in the military is that your life is not your own while you train and serve in the military. You may have preferences as to where you wish to serve, but ultimately, the military will choose where they need for you to serve. Civilian doctors do have greater economic opportunity, but there are usually years of student loans that they must pay back before they reap the financial benefits of a well-paid physician. The medical officer in the military carries little or no debt and can carry on a medical career where practicing medicine is the primary focus, not paying back student loans.
The life of service in the military is not for everyone. If your goal is to be a medical professional, and you are intrigued by the lifestyle of the military, you will find that this career path can free you from the burden of costly medical school debt and allow you to participate in a wide range of medical experiences. Considering these factors, a career as a physician in the Navy, Army, Air Force, or Marine Corps might be in your future. — Post by Madelaine Kingsbury.