Medical School after Naval Academy

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by alexsouthmayd, Aug 14, 2008.

  1. alexsouthmayd

    alexsouthmayd Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am interested in attending the Naval Academy in 2011. I am also interested in being a physician in the Navy. Question: do I go directly to medical school once I graduate the Naval Academy, or do I serve my five years and then go to medical school?

    Thanks,

    Alex
     
  2. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2006
    Messages:
    2,952
    Likes Received:
    4
    First off, let's get something squared away right now...

    Do you want to be a doctor, or an officer? "Both" is not allowed. If you had to pick ONE, which would it be?

    If the answer is "Officer", then come on down and join the long line of honored graduates from USNA. :thumb:

    If the answer is "Doctor", then I recommend you look elsewhere. I say this for one reason: while getting into Medical School from USNA is POSSIBLE, it is EXCEEDINGLY DIFFICULT. If you have your heart set on being a Doctor (and I commend you if you do), then I recommend you do a regular civilian track and, if you still wish to be a NAVY doctor, then apply to come in as an officer, which all Navy Doctors are.

    There are many routes on can take, too. For example, I have a classmate and friend who was an enlisted Marine, got into USNA, went aviation, then managed (how I don't know) to get into Medical School and is now a Navy Doc saving lives in the Litter Box.

    So, it's all a matter of priorities. If you cannot live without a USNA diploma, then apply. If you can't live without the Doctorate, then either go civilian, or go USNA, understanding the challenges.

    Either way, good luck! :thumb:
     
  3. alexsouthmayd

    alexsouthmayd Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey, thanks for your quick reply.

    I'm definitely interested in going to the Academy, and I just thought that being an MD would be one of the tracks after I graduated. I'm still not quite clear on the various tracks one takes after they graduate the Academy.

    I'm currently at the top of my class at a top New England prep school, am a Varsity athlete, am involved in a ton of extracurriculars, and am a hard worker. Any guidance or suggestions you could give me would be appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Alex
     
  4. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,153
    Likes Received:
    113
    How did I know this would be the majority response to this question :biggrin:

    Okay, now some opinion from somebody who is a Navy physician. Everybody says it is "exceedingly difficult" to get to medical school out of any of the Academies. Guess what......it is "exceedingly difficult" to get into medical school out of any college. My opinion differs from most in the fact that I say if you are competitive for admission for medical school you will most likely meet the criteria that the academy puts out for being allowed to go. They let something like 2% of the graduating class go into the medical corps. Yes, that sounds very small, but it actually numbers around 20 each year. Even though 20 is small you have to remember that not everybody else there wants to be a doctor so that denominator gets alot smaller right away.

    Now if you will be happy being a Naval Officer for a couple of years if you don't get in right away then going to the Naval Academy is a fine choice. Being a graduate will put you ahead of the game when it comes to what medical school admissions committees are looking for.


    The most usual path: graduate from Naval Academy go straight to medical school.

    Other paths: graduate from USNA, serve as Naval Aviator for 10+ years, go to medical school (not me, but have seen it on more than one occasion)
     
  5. 2012mom?

    2012mom? Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2007
    Messages:
    642
    Likes Received:
    2
    Hi Alex,

    My daughter thought for a long while about MD versus naval officer while she was applying to various schools last year. Her BGO told her flat out almost exactly what Z just told you. According to a USNA chemistry prof I just met at PPW, it's not absolutely impossible to go to med school straight out of USNA, but there are only ~15 slots per year, with ~1000 grads, so about a 1.5% chance. Not impossible, but not good odds.

    Places you would be more likely to go as a new USNA grad: ~20% go to the Marine Corps "The Basic School" as 2nd Lts. Quite a few go into naval aviation either by going into pilot or naval flight officer training. Some go straight to a surface ship for a deployment before going to surface warfare officer school. Still others go to submariner school or nuclear power school, and a few go to Basic Underwater Demolition School (BUDS). I'm sure to have left off things, but someone will fill in what I've missed.

    The most important thing is that you should only go to USNA if you want to be a Navy or Marine Corps officer first and foremost.
     
  6. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2006
    Messages:
    2,952
    Likes Received:
    4
    Bah! WTF do you know? :yllol:
     
  7. alexsouthmayd

    alexsouthmayd Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey everybody, thanks for all your replies.

    I just have one more thing to clarify. So, let's say 100 Midshipmen apply to medical school, and 40 of them get accepted. Do all those 40 get to go, or does the Navy decide who out of the 40 go?

    Thanks,

    Alex
     
  8. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2006
    Messages:
    4,826
    Likes Received:
    2
    If you want to be a Military physician seriously consider USMA. USMA has a program in place where grads can go directly to medical school. It is much easier that straight from USNA. There is a great NEED for Army physicians.

    I think most Navy physicians were civilians until graduating from Med school - they then went to OCS.
    Another possibility is to go to USNA, serve 5 years, enter Med school at 27 (which I think is the average now) and then return to the Navy upon graduation. Of course, the Navy won't be paying for your med school like the Army does - that's the biggest drawback.
     
  9. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2006
    Messages:
    2,952
    Likes Received:
    4
    I do not have a definitive answer. HOWEVER, if the process follows the same track as everything else at USNA and USN, then the answer to your question is "it depends".

    If 100 Mids apply, and 40 are found to be qualified, but there are only 30 slots that year, then 10 otherwise qualified Mids are going to be disappointed, and those will be the bottom 10 out of the remaining 40.

    OTOH, if 100 apply, 40 are found qualified, and there are 50 slots, then all 40 will most likely go.

    It's the same as aviation, SEALS, etc. You may be qualified to go, but if the available billets run out before your Order of Merit ranking comes up, you're going to be SOL.
     
  10. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2006
    Messages:
    4,826
    Likes Received:
    2
    Alex - I seriously doubt that 100 midshipmen will apply to medical school. Many may have the goal as plebes but along the way the can't get the grades in chem, organic chem and physics or they lose interest. As the same in any civilian college - many kids just find they are sunk by Organic Chem and many others find there is more to live that being an MD.
    Okay I found some info -- Some of which may contradict my post above -

    The DOD allows up to 2% of each graduating class from USMA to matriculate directly to medical school - This may be the same for USNA and USAFA - something to check on. The exact number is dependent on the needs of the Army, the number of applicants and their acceptance into medical school.
    While 2% sounds like a small number it isn't really considering how many don't want to go. About 20 students sounds pretty good.
    USMA has a Life science major and at USNA and USAFA (I think) the pre-meds usually major in Chemistry.
    For med school you don't have to have a special major though - just the right courses.
    This is a summary of information from USMA - some or all may apply to USNA and USAFA- I am not sure what part is DOD and what is just Army.

    You can enroll in USUHS (kp2001's alma mater!) - you will draw O-1 pay and your tuition, books and equipment are paid for. The time spent in school does not count toward retirement but is credible for promotion purposes.
    Your obligation is increased and stacked on top of your academy obligation.
    USMA grads from USUHS incur and additional 10 year obligation (or 7 year AD and 6 yr reserve). You are basically looking at 13 year AD (plus reserve time) after med school graduation.

    Now - for the Army - they also have the Army Health Profession Scholarship Program which allows academy grads to attend a civilian medical school. Your tuition, books and equipment are paid for but instead of a salary you draw a stipend of about $12,000.
    You incur and additional AD service obligation of 4 years as well as a year of internship training.

    Upon graduation from medical school you will be promoted to O-3.

    Regardless of the route one takes or the branch of service - realize you will owe a lot of time - minimum of 10 years AD and often more.
     
  11. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2006
    Messages:
    2,952
    Likes Received:
    4

    Oh, yeah..... Big time. :eek:
     
  12. parkhurst89

    parkhurst89 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    Messages:
    141
    Likes Received:
    0
    USNA to MD

    Alex,

    Interesting thread and I can offer advice I give candidates in my Area.

    At the risk of sounding corny, nothing is impossible if you really want it. Echoing some of the advice, nothing is certain except death and taxes.

    However, the USNA curriculum designed to mentally develop Midshipmen into officers in the naval service. The quoted mission statement of the Naval Academy has changed over years, but the end-product of the four years has varied little. If you want to become an MD, there are colleges and universities with curriculum that are far better in preparing undergraduates medical school.

    You may want to consider this in your decision.
     
  13. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,153
    Likes Received:
    113
    I actually disagree with you here. What you learn in undergrad courses will be covered in about the first two weeks of medical school (I'm not exagerating here). The organic chemistry you learn is basically not needed. The physics is barely needed. The regular chemistry is not really needed. Any anatomy and physiology course you have had is like playing in the T-ball league.

    What undergrad does do in regards to medical school is prepare you for the rigors of it. The hours of studying, the "drinking from a firehose" method of learning material. The undergrad courses are basically "weed out" courses, especially organic chemistry. Yes, they lay a groundwork, but you will expand upon that knowledge base one hundred times over in medical school.

    This is where I think the Academies do an outstanding job of preparing people for medical school. Nowhere else do you have so many demands on your time. It is rare to find in other undergrad programs the credit hours required at the Academies. All of these things will help prepare you for medical school. Sitting at some school taking 12hr credit loads won't do it.

    But as zaphod put it:
    By the way Z, I'm adding that to my byline.
     
  14. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    4,509
    Likes Received:
    459
    My USNA roommate did the medical school thing -- she's now an MD and she is now still in the USN 23 yrs later, having recently picked up O-6.

    I don't have a lot to add on what others have said other than . . . the medical school program remains available at the needs of the Navy. In the 1970s it was discontinued for a time. Those who entered USNA planning to be MDs (and who were 2/C or 1/C) had to find other careers. So, understand that your option to go to med school from USNA could be withdrawn at any time w/o notice.

    Second, the Navy determines how many mids can go to med school directly from USNA and, guess what? It's based on needs of the Navy. So, no, the fact you apply and get accepted to med school doesn't mean you get to go.

    Third, it is a long commitment. And your choice of residency is also not guaranteed. Some get their first choice; others don't. That may also depend on, guess what? Needs of the Navy.

    Fourth, be careful about telling USNA and/or your BGO that you want to go to med school right after USNA. The mission of USNA is to produce line officers and they don't want to admit a bunch of mids who want to be doctors. Thus, it is viewed unfavorably. I'm NOT suggesting you lie. I am suggesting that you be FULLY prepared to go into an unrestricted line community.

    Fifth, here is a piece of advice the Chief Medical Officer at USNA gave the BGOs at our training a few years ago: You have the rest of your life to be a doctor. If you go to USNA, go into a line community. If, after a few years, you still want to be a doctor, do it then. His advice, not mine. However, as someone who attended law school and became an attorney after fulfilling my USN commitment, I can tell you it's more than possible.

    I do agree with Z that if your primary goal is to be an MD, you probably should consider other options (which include various scenarios in which the USN will pay for it).
     
  15. m015094

    m015094 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2008
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree with many of the above points, but I'll reiterate or clarify a few things. Yes, don't tell your BGO about the med school thing. For some reason they have a huge hangup about it. Bottom line, the Navy loves Academy doctors because they are more likely to stay in 25+ years (I'll post the link if I can find it).

    I disagree about the officer vs doctor mentally. Navy doctors ARE officers. They lead divisions and departments and commands just like line officers do. I expect all military officers to be role models, not just line officers. In fact, a Navy doctor is more likely to be on the ground in Iraq than a SWO or NUKE.

    Also, USNA has consistently had 15 spots for med school. Generally they come from chemistry majors, but as long as you take the med school pre-reqs (organic chem, biology - this may require summer school), you'll be fine as an economics or english major (due to the BS instead of BA degree).

    The applications and admissions to med school happens concurrently with service selection. The 15 candidates USNA picks for med corps usually are very qualified for med school (high GPA, MCAT, ECA's, LOR's), so the chances are pretty small that they won't get in. In the case where someone who gets a med school spot from USNA, and doesn't get accepted to med school, one of the other candidates will get a shot.

    Getting into med school from USNA is difficult! You'll be competing against (I'm guessing here), 50 mids at the start. Probably half will give up after general chem (first year). For some reason mids hate chemistry. The remaining 25 or so that will do well through organic and the rest of their courses are on the right track to be competitive. Now remember there are only 15 spots, so, like usna1985 said, be prepared to enter into different warfare community if things don't go your way. Or maybe better advice would be to be proactive and fix your shortcomings before you are out of contention.
     
  16. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    4,509
    Likes Received:
    459
    Here's my take as a BGO and USNA roommate of someone who did the med school thing.

    Z is right. The purpose of USNA is to prodiuce line officers, not physicians. That said KP is right in that a certain number of mids each year are permitted to attend med school directly from USNA.

    What you should know:

    (1) This program exists at the pleasure of the USN, meaning they can discontinue it at any time. They did this in the late 1970s. Prob won't happen, but if it does, nothing you can do about it.

    (2) The USN decides on the number of mids who can attend med school and the school you will attend (based on where you are accepted, of course). I've been told that two years ago, about 24 mids went to med school and last year the number was about 12. Not sure whether there was less interest or a drawdown. Still, the number of mids who can attend med school is based on the needs of the Navy. Thus, being accepted is not a guarantee that you'll get to go.

    (3) Telling your BGO and/or CGO that your main desire in life is to attend med school right after USNA is not going to help you. If that truly is your desire, as Z said, you probably should go NROTC. BTW, I am NOT suggesting that you lie about your intentions. Just saying that if your intention is to be an MD first, maybe USNA shouldn't be your first choice for college.

    (4) When I went to BGO training several years ago, the then-head of medicine at USNA (a grad, BTW), said that if you want to be a doctor, do something else first. His view was that you only have one shot to drive ships, fly planes, lead infantry. You can always be a doctor. He recommended strongly advising candidates who want to be an MD and want to attend USNA to go into the line for a few years and, then, if they still want to be an MD, go for it. Just his opinion, of course.
     
  17. kwill958

    kwill958 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2010
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    So is medical school payed for by the US? What are the service obligations for that? And after you've finished your service, if you get out of the Navy, you are still licensed to be a doctor in a civilian setting?
     
  18. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    4,509
    Likes Received:
    459
    IF you're selected for med school, the USN will pay your way. How much is paid for depends on whether you attend USUHS, the military med school, or a civilian med school.

    Service obligations are 7 yrs for USUSH + your 5 yrs from USNA. Residency doesn't count toward payback. I believe civilian med school incurs 4 yrs (b/c less is paid for) + the 5 from USNA.

    Yes, when you get out, you're a licensed MD. However, licensure is state-based. Thus, if you're licensed in CA, I'm not sure what you need to do in order to practice in, say, TX. I defer to KP on this one. As an attorney, you'd need to retake the bar in the relevant state . . . not sure how it works for MDs.
     
  19. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,153
    Likes Received:
    113
    Licensure

    Each state has its own licensure procedures. For working in a federal hospital any state will do.

    Once you get out you will need to get a license from the state you intend on working in. You will not be able to work until you do. Some states have various processes. TX in particular makes you take a jurisprudence exam. Some states have very strict rules about giving licenses to older docs because they don't want the market over saturated (eg Florida). Others are quite expensive >1,000 a year.

    Also, if you are working for the military and want to "moon light" (work at night/weekend at another hospital) you will need a license for that state. This can get expensive when you move pretty often and it usually looks bad to let any license expire or become void.

    Luckily, unlike lawyers, no testing to take except for Texas as far as I know. Medicine is medicine no matter what State, unlike law which has many variables based on State and local laws.
     
  20. riroka

    riroka Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Messages:
    128
    Likes Received:
    0
    The info my son got got was that only 2-3% of academy grads are chosen to on to med school. However, with ROTC that number is larger and son was told he could defer his ROTC commitment to attend med school. Don't know if he was given accurate info since everyone on these boards hears somthing different though!
     

Share This Page