How Becoming a Doctor in the Army Works

Tips for Becoming a Doctor in the Army

Your first step will be to contact an Army recruiter. That person can give you a clear picture of your options.

If you decide to become an Army doctor, you will begin with same medical training as any physician. You'll attend either a civilian medical school or the special Uniformed Services University, a federal medical school that trains doctors for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Public Health Service. When you complete your education, which may include specialized training in combat medical skills, you'll enter the military with a captain's rank. Army doctors do not have to go through basic training. Instead, they attend a six-week Officer Basic Leadership Course, which teaches about military life and the role of a leader [source: U.S. Army].

Keep in mind that the Army requires the same high academic qualifications as any medical school. That means you need a solid grade point average and a good score on the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). You'll also need to have recommendations from professors [source: Darves].

The Army has additional qualifications that don't apply to civilian medical students. You need to be physically fit and must pass height and weight standards. You'll have to receive a security clearance [source: Darves].

The financial assistance opportunities are many. Here are some of the ways the Army can help with the cost of your medical education [sources: U.S. Army; USU; Directorate of Medical Education]:

  • The Health Professions Scholarship Program pays all your tuition and fees for four years of medical school and gives you a monthly stipend of more than $2,000. After you graduate, you'll serve one year in the Army for each year you received the scholarship.
  • The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences is tuition-free. Graduates must complete seven years active duty and six years as a reservist [source: Frager].
  • The Financial Assistance Program is designed for medical school graduates wishing to go for specialized training. On completion, they become active duty officers for at least two years. .
  • The Specialized Training Assistance Program is designed for physicians currently enrolled in residency programs. You receive a monthly stipend of more than $2,000 and become part of the Army Reserves when you finish.

Probably the best tip is: Don't become an Army doctor just for the money. Financial help with your education is great. But joining the military an important decision that will change the direction of your life. You need to be motivated by more than dollars.

The next section will give you more valuable information about becoming an Army doctor.

Related Articles


  • Darves, Bonnie. "Exploring Military Physician Careers," NEJM Career Center, September 2002. (accessed March 31, 2011)
  • Directorate of Medical Education. "Student Management Office." (accessed March 31, 2011)
  • Frager, Ken. Public Affairs Officer, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Personal Interview. April 5, 2011.
  • "Salary for People with Jobs as Physicians / Doctors," April 4, 2011. (accessed April 5, 2011).
  • Rolan, Troy. Media Relations Division, Army Public Affairs. Personal interview. April 5, 2011.
  • U.S. Army. "Corps Benefits." (accessed March 31, 2011)
  • U.S. Army. "Education Opportunities." (accessed March 31, 2011)
  • U.S. Army. "Fact Sheets: Health Professions Scholarship Program." (accessed March 31, 2011)
  • U.S. Army. "Medical Corps Officer." (accessed March 31, 2011)
  • USU. "School of Medicine." (accessed March 31, 2011)