Army Medical Corps

Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by clamelken2, Dec 19, 2011.

  1. clamelken2

    clamelken2 Member

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    Greetings!

    I am interested in the Medical Corps branch, can anyone give me any feedback on the branch, what classes are required, and how competitive it is? Also does anyone have first-hand experience in this branch? What is it like??
     
  2. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    1. Apply for ED delay while in ROTC (not sure about USMA but I see that road as being almost impossible because that is not the academy's mission)
    2. Complete Pre-med courses (Bio, chem physics, calc etc) maintaining a 3.5 or better. Your school should have a list of classes required.
    3. Take MCAT Junior or early Senior year and strive to get a 30 or above.

    Note: You do not have to major in Biology, Chemistry etc to be Pre-Med.

    First hand experience? Its MC. You are a doctor, you should know enough about the profession before you even apply. It is very similar to the civilian career with rank and CoC/DoD thrown in the mix. ( I worked in a major army MEDCEN with doctors, nurses, PAs, NPs, medics, PTs etc.).

    Its med school so its competitive, you might have to shell out thousands for application fees and MCAT prep but its worth it. Good luck


    As for Medical Service Corps, that is entirely something different......more like admin with medical twist but it can encompass a host of other areas such as evac pilots, podiatry, social work etc...
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2011
  3. clamelken2

    clamelken2 Member

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    Ok, well I have high hopes of attending USMA, but from what I have researched, although it is not the academy's mission, there is still a way to get to the Medical Corps.
     
  4. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    USMA is in the business of producing officers of all US Army branches. In that regard Finance Corps is not much different than Medical Corps (of course, there are many differences and there are greater numbers going into combat arms than non-combat arm branches).

    If you're interested in Medical Corps, there are three ways to accomplish that goal:

    1. Do ROTC/USMA and get TOP grades and try to obtain a delay of service obligation (ED, like Aglahad indicated). This is a difficult route nowadays.

    2. Do ROTC/USMA, complete your service obligation in any branch, then attend med school and re-enter service again. Many think this is a waste of time, but what this really does is give you time to mature further before getting really serious about graduate school.

    3. Finally, you can decide not to waste time with military at all until AFTER med school and take a direct commission as a Captain (O-3). Nothing wrong with that.

    If you are interested in becoming a physician, you should do three things:

    1. Focus on near-perfect grades -- "good" grades won't cut it. Aglahad is correct that you don't need to be a certain major, but most schools require biochemistry and a certain number of base classes.

    2. While you are looking at schools, including USMA, spend at least an hour with the pre-med advisor at each school. You can see which schools are great and which are not. Also, don't be fooled by stats, because many schools boast of a "high acceptance" rate to med school but don't tell you that they only recommend 0.000001 percent of the class (this is a bit exaggerated for effect).

    3. I'll probably get flamed for this, but there are many who will tell you not to attend USMA if you plan to enroll in medical school. That's just old folklore in my book. USMA is a very fine educational institution in its own right and NOT just about teaching folks how to charge up a hill. But there are many excellent civilian colleges as well, so you'll have to weigh everything. If you do visit USMA, try to make an appointment with Col. Robert in the Dept. of Chemistry. He is truly top-notch and worth meeting and can explain this in a more-narrowly tailored way for you.

    Finally, you will find that there will be many who will shrug if you tell them you want to be a physician. This is because the statistics of actually making it that far are extremely low. Have the courage to not worry about the naysayers and just focus on your goal and work hard -- VERY HARD -- on getting good grades. If you have good grades, your options will become very clear.
     
  5. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    I am curious, they actually allow someone at USMA to focus pre-med and ED delay into Med Corps? I always thought the push was for engineering majors, foreign language then a PL slot etc. Not doubting, its just every army doctor I have met ( a lot) was either ROTC or DC. If I am wrong that's fine I just want to know what the policy is.

    Oh and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences is another great option.

    Patentesq- Good point about schools masking their admission rate, this happens A LOT.
     
  6. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    Here's a link to the USMA Department of Chemistry and Life Science Facebook Page. http://www.facebook.com/pages/West-Point-Department-of-Chemistry-and-Life-Science/385389195808

    Pretty impressive what they are doing in the life sciences arena.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2011
  7. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    By law up to 2% of the graduating class can go to medical school right after graduation (very competitive process) to become a doctor (i.e. medical corps). You end up incurring 13 years of service obligation (I am not 100% sure about this) - 5 years for West Point and 8 years for medical school.
     
  8. shoots1994

    shoots1994 Member

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    What about USAFA? Is the process the same to go to med school from USAFA? Also, is there a higher demand for healthcare professionals in the air force or army?
     
  9. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    Army.... more slots, more training programs, more medical centers. However, there is a lot of overlap within hospitals (i.e. I saw Navy, Army, and AF doctors all on one floor in an army hospital). AF does have the unique flight training program for doctors/nurses though. The army is just delving into flight nursing for helicopters through their trauma course.
     
  10. clamelken2

    clamelken2 Member

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    Thanks for the feedback!
     
  11. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    I've been meaning to comment on this for a couple days:

    1)Comments on the branch: your a physician in the military (Army specifically for your question). You will wear two hats: Physician and Officer which brings about a whole host of internal conflicts that at times can be difficult to resolve. In the medical corps you still have all the annual military requirements whether it be the PFT or don't ask/don't tell training, but you have to fit that stuff in while still seeing a full clinic of patients. You still deploy and PCS on a regular basis (yes, there are exceptions).

    2)What classes are required: you simply need to take the classes that will get you acceptance to medical school. As mentioned above medical school doesn't care what your major is, but due to other constraints at Service Academies there is usually only a few majors that will allow you to complete all those courses (eg Organic Chemistry, Biology, etc etc)

    3)How competitive is it? Varies. You need to be a solid candidate for medical school admission. If you meet that then you will likely be a solid candidate for one of the 'direct to med school' routes. (the 2% number is a bit misleading as not everybody in the class wants to go to med school)

    4)Is it different for USAFA? Nope, not really
    5)Who needs more doctors: overall I believe the Army Medical dept is the largest of the 3. I don't have solid numbers, but I would bet the Air Force is the smallest. Over the past decade the Air Force has been in a mode of trying to combine and do as little medicine as possible. They shut down Andrews and combined in San Antonio. All three services have strong flight medicine programs with the Navy being the most robust followed by Air Force and then Army.

    6)What routes are there:
    Service Academy --> Civilian med school via scholarship
    Service Academy --> USUHS (military medical school)
    Service Academy --> regular Army --> medical school (either HPSP or USUHS)
    ROTC to any of the above
    Civilian college -->civilian medical school -->direct commission
    Civilian college -->HPSP
    Civilian college -->USUHS
    Civilian college -->civilian medical school -->civilian specialty training -->direct commission

    They are really endless and the payback varies from 3 years to over 16. The longest: USMA-->USUHS-->neurosurgery training: you would have 19 years of service before your obligation would be over.
     
  12. clamelken2

    clamelken2 Member

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    Wow! Thank you. I recently viewed an article about a WP student going to Harvard for Medical, and he majored in Psychology and life sciences. Great information and thank you for your helpful insight!

    Here's the article: http://www.army.mil/article/58087/
     
  13. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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  14. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    There are two different scholarship programs with different obligations. There is
    USUHS (Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences) and HPSP (Health Professions Scholarship Program).

    USUHS is a military medical school where the students are under full benefits as commissioned officers. Not only is their medical education fully paid for, they are drawing full military benefits. It's a 4-yr medical school in Bethesda. The obligation incurred for attending this school is 7 years.

    HPSP is where the medical student attends a regular, civilian medical school. They are not under full military benefits and only received a stipend - around $2000/month. The tuition for medical school is covered by the military, however. The obligation incurred for this program is less - 4 years.

    But here's the kicker - time spent in medical school does not count toward any service obligations. Also, the additional obligation incurred for medical school runs successive (not concurrent) with the obligation from the service academy or ROTC program.

    Oh - and this does not even include residency.

    Basically, going Medical Corps out of a service academy is a career decision. Depending on the length of your residency, you could easily be in your 40's before you are eligible to leave the service.

    From the perspective of 20-yr-old cadet/midshipman - this seems more like a life decision than a career decision.

    Nonetheless, it is still a tremendous deal. Entering the civilian world in your early 40's with ZERO debt is a pretty good start. :smile:
     
  15. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    I can't speak for the other service academies, but for the Naval Academy they are sending less than 1% in the Medical Corps.

    For several years now - they have only been permitting 10 graduates to enter the Medical Corps. Graduating classes have been slightly over 1000. That's less than 1%!

    But here's the way to think about it:

    1. Typically, only Chemistry majors seek the Medical Corps. Nominally speaking, there are 40-50 Chemistry majors in a class. There are always a few from other majors who pursue this route (Mathematics majors seems to be somewhat common) - so we'll say 55 are even remotely thinking about going Medical Corps.

    2. Some of these are just majoring in Chemistry and have no intention of going Medical Corps. Let's say that 80% are thinking about Medical Corps. So, now we're down to about 45.

    3. Some of these will find out very quickly that they are not going to be competitive - maybe as soon as their Plebe year when they get a "C" in Chemistry. Some will find out that Organic Chemistry is too much for them. This is going to thin the field considerably. It's going to eliminate at least HALF of them. Let's say we have 25 left ... and this is being conservative. For instance, the Class of 2011 at the Naval Academy only had 10 people apply for the 10 slots.

    4. Some will simply change their mind because they've found the Marine Corps, Aviation, or Submarines to be a more attractive post-graduation option. 5 more bite the dust. Now we have only 20.

    5. It will dawn on some that this is a career decision. They are selling their souls to the military. 3 more bite the dust. Now we have 17.

    6. Some will realize that there is much more work involved than just getting good grades. They have to shadow doctors. They have to prepare for and take the MCAT. They have to apply to medical schools which costs a lot of money and takes up a lot of time. They're not up for it. 3 more bite the dust.

    7. Some will simply not do well enough on their MCAT. 3 more bite the dust.

    8. Somebody will get themselves into some "hot water" of some sort - with a poor military aptitude ranking, conduct violation, poor physical fitness, or maybe a brush with the Honor Board. He's gone!

    And you got TEN Medical Corps graduates! :smile:

    As you can see - it is actually a self-selecting process and it is mostly a "war" of attrition. The key is to simply "stay in the game".
     
  16. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Not really a big deal or rare. Not sure why they did an article. My friend who introduced me to my wife was USMA 05 and went to Yale Med. My roommate, USMA 04, went to Duke Med. We had another 04 guy (the valedictorian) go to Stanford for med school. Not unusual at all.
     

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