USAF Physician

Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by futureAFA, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. futureAFA

    futureAFA Member

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    I am hoping to go to USAFA, suppose I got my appointment, then I graduated. Recently I’ve been thinking what my “plan B” would be, since my number one option would be as a Combat Rescue Officer. Obviously not easy to become, not that I doubt my ability, more so that if I got injured, or disqualified for any reason, I would need a backup. One career path I saw that interested me was a Physician in the USAF. Does anybody know any information on this? Or the path to become an Air Force Physician? Any information really would help. Thanks!:thumb:
     
  2. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Short, short, SHORT answer here...there's a LOT more to it.

    You would need to let your academic advisor know early on that you were interested in medical school. Then you would need to gear your academic major toward a "pre med" curriculum.

    THEN you would need a VERY good GPA, pass the MCAT's, have all the AF recommendations lined up, apply to a medical school, be accepted...

    THEN the AF would have to "release you" to attend medical school. What that means is they would send you.

    There is a regular poster/moderator here that did something like this from another SA...and for some reason I am totally going blank here...but he can explain it in much better detail than I can.

    FYI...from USAFA, we "typically" don't fill the slots that we are willing to give...it is NOT easy to do!!

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  3. futureAFA

    futureAFA Member

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    I believe Laxfan did a really long and great post, but it was about USMA. We all know each academy does things a little different so I was just trying just to get a little more information. Thanks for the information.
     
  4. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    The OP might want to post his/her question on the USAFA forum. Each SA IS a bit different in terms of whether they encourage or discourage people from going into medicine and how the process works.
     
  5. futureAFA

    futureAFA Member

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    Ok, I’ll do that.
     
  6. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Well, I went through the whole process, ended up choosing a PhD program instead but here are the key points minus the extreme details (you really just need the main points at this time I think)

    -regardless of your major, you will need to expand your "core" to cover med school requirements. This involves adding, at a minimum, two semesters organic chem, 1 semester organic chem lab, 2 semesters biology, and math to calc 3. Some schools will require more than this.

    -GPA requirements: 3.0 with waiver, 3.25 minimum, 3.5+ to be competitive.
    -MCAT: 27 minimum (schools mainly), 30+ to be competitive.
    -Lower scores/GPA would likely mean your best shot would be applying to a DO school rather than an MD school.

    - Be recommended by the USAFA health professions board to the Supt.
    - They will do the AF request to release for you.

    -a good contact is Helen Pigage in the bio dept (if she isnt on sabatical right now) as she guided us through the process.

    -Big hurdle! MUST BE ACCEPTED TO MED SCHOOLS! This usually takes 10+ applications at more than $1000 cost to you. Keep that in mind. That doesn't include the costs of MCAT studying/test taking.

    Good luck. I have about 10 or so friends in my class that are at med school. Was just on the phone with one of them. :)
     
  7. futureAFA

    futureAFA Member

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    Sounds simple, and easy enough:yllol: Just kidding.
    Although It definitely isn’t impossible, or unrealistic. If I really try and push myself, which I will regardless of what career path I end up taking, the chances of succeeding don’t seem too low.

    Thanks.
    Also out of general curiosity, what percent of people get accepted to med school who apply out of the academy?
     
  8. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Hard to put a representative percentage. Like Steve said, we usually don't fill our max quoto allowed because so many get cut along the way (Organic being the prime reason). Of those allowed to apply....probably >90% get in if I had to take a guess based on what I know from 09 and 10. A lot of people have USUHS as a back-up which likes taking Academy grads.
     
  9. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Hornet (having been there, done that) is precisely on target: we don't fill our "number" because folks just don't make the cut.

    What folks forget is this: it's very difficult to go to medical school from ANY college. NOW...toss in the added issues from ANY SA of: military training, athletic, academic, other training, etc....etc....and the load is frighteningly difficult!

    Of the folks that DO make the cut? I'd bet close to 100% will be selected/admitted someplace...because frankly, they're going to stand out in the overall candidate pools!

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  10. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    lol, in my year, of the 2010ers that were endorsed by the board, all but two went to med school, IIRC. The two that didn't: a girl that got booted firstie year, and me. Though I'll be a different type of doctor lol. Ironically, we were both in the same squad.
     
  11. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Hornet, You know I adore you, but you need to be honest and no sugar coating...you are no longer a cadet, but an OFFICER who is an AFA ring knocker.
    Don't (doesn't) seem too low?

    Fess up, and give the straight skinny.

    3.0 gpa at the AFA and you basically have a snowballs chance in Hades to get accepted, UNLESS you have a hook!

    3.5 gpa makes you competitive, but now what is that breakdown for the AFA?

    You know me, I prefer to be calling it like it is. For a candidate to state after you just gave the criteria that he thinks his chances are high, means he doesn't get what you just said. I don't know if he didn't do the math to realize that it would be 10K to apply for Med school. I don't know if he thinks MCATS are like SATs. I don't know if he thinks that because he may be the Valedicatorian at his HS that he will be in the minority. (no offense future, I just don't know your academic record or your mindset)

    I also adore Flieger, but I think his one statement got lost in the mix
    That would be why 25% of any SA that arrives on I-DAY is not commissioned 4 yrs later at the AFA.

    EVERY SA is like an IVY. It is not a cake walk, and what needs to be realized is you are no longer the best of the best at your school, you are starting with a brand new slate against everyone that was the best of the best at their HS.

    I also think Hornet is a better example of someone who was FUTURE 5 yrs ago. He went in thinking this is my path, but he allowed the AFA to show him the unlimited opportunities and when he was a C1C he actually had to think about the options that were offered to him. I bet if you ask him when he showed up for I DAY in 2006 he never saw his career path taking this route.

    Future,

    I really do wish you the very best and I hope you get into the AFA, HOWEVER, don't put the cart before the horse. Have your dreams and goals, but be open to other things. You are 17, you'll be amazed that in 14 months when you come home for winter break and re-read your posts on this site how much your mind thought will have changed.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2010
  12. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    lol love ya too Pima. :) Let Bullet know I need a WSO to fly with me! :)

    Now, I wouldn't say I sugar-coated it. Just gave the facts. No need to pop any bubbles yet. Sure the getting in and then surviving 4 dig year is more important at this point, but seeing beyond the horizon and having some goals going it helps. I wanted to go to med school when I got to USAFA. Reaching for that goal helped make the other things (like RAND) possible.

    Now, we can be the rainclouds as I know you like to be! ;) BUT, USAFA itself is a good wake-up call. 4 dig year will be the first hit, then classes like organic chem, if he chooses to follow those goals, will be the next one. First semester O-chem had a 50% pass rate. Yes, 50%. A third failed, and the other sixth received a D. Some people re-took the course, replace the original grade with an A or B and still were able to get into med school. But, that rocks anyone's schedule, as tight as they already are.

    Our phone conversations last year when I had to decide were great. Provided another great viewpoint. I'm happy with the choice I have made, very happy! (Who else is flying around every weekend over soCal for the fun of it while being paid!). :) He'll have his moments soon enough if/when he gets in.

    There are those that go in having been top dog who fail out. There are those who were mediocre before and rocked USAFA. There are those who were top dog and still stayed top dog at USAFA. If you get in, Future, you'll figure it out. Go in like you are with high goals and motivation. USAFA will test those goals more than you can imagine. Trust me. BUT, better to try your hardest and not make it than not try hard at all. Hard to have any regrets it you play it that way.

    Good luck. Pima is Jane raincloud and does it well! ;) Take all our thoughts, facts, advice, and worries as you will. Make your choice and stick to it, even if you don't reach your goals as you hoped. All the same if you do!
     
  13. futureAFA

    futureAFA Member

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    I didn’t intend to come off as “Oh, it’ll be my fallback plan, so I have something easy in the event I can’t become a CRO”. No, not at all. It’s closer to suppose I get hurt and am medically disqualified for Combat Rescue, or I just decide I don’t want to do that (as stated a LOT changes). I’m not trying to seem like I am “that kid" who thinks he’s going to be top of the class in AFA, without struggle, captain of the baseball(in my case), etc. The reason I am on this site is because I know if I am to successfully get an appointment, then become whatever I decide on I will need all the help I can get. I know it’s a long and hard road, but I am trying not to look at it a s impossible. I also meant something closer to “it’s not impossible” when I said, “my chances aren’t too low”. I am trying to stay positive about things regardless of how difficult they may get.

    I appreciate all of the information you all gave me a ton. And I respect everything you have said, I am just trying to make sure you all don’t misinterpret what I have said.
     
  14. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Here is something to think about...

    We like to play the "numbers game." "What are my chances?" "How many are accepted?" "What percent graduate?"...and it goes on. What is it we are forgetting? WE ARE NOT AVERAGE. Sure, the numbers may indicate how difficult a goal may be, but they do not define your future. If you were average, you wouldn't be here.

    Are the numbers low? If they are, make sure you have a back-up. Then, go for the gold.
     
  15. Mongo

    Mongo Banned

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    Something else to think about-

    A huge part of any SA experience is learning to make choices and living with the results of those choices. At any SA, there are three major areas where this attribute can be tested and honed. They are Academics, Professionalism, and Extra Curricular Activities. What the nay sayers and gloom and doomers who have never experienced this environment don't realize is that to meet the bare minimums of each of the above three categories is not all that difficult. However, to excel in all three is almost impossible. I always say that there is a two year leave of absence in Great Britain for those few who are capable of this. Yes, there are a few whose outstanding attributes on which they are selected are other than academics but by in large, everyone who goes to a SA is capable of exceling in academics. IF HE CHOOSES TO DO SO. Yes, Professionalism may suffer. Yes, they may have to forego the baseball team. They have a choice among the three. And so long as they meet the minimums, pick one in which to excel, and don't spend all their spare time playing video games, they will probably be allowed to do so.

    Yes, seeing beyond the horizon, having goals, and making choices in order to achieve those goals, is all a part ot the overall SA education process.
     
  16. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Great words of advice. Key point here for you (Future) to realize is that you must prioritize. Few are able to have the time and faculties to be the best in all three areas. Something good he touched on and I've seen - IC athletics make excelling in academics quite difficult. I know those that did it very well. One of my Chem buddies is doing a year of diversity recruiting as a 2d LT since she didn't get into med school this year. She is trying again the year after next while at Vandenberg and will probably get in if I had to take bets. She was the captain of the women's tennis team. I'd say she had more time than most IC teams, but her academics suffered none-the-less. Very common for IC athletes to be very 2.0 and go oriented not because they are lazy, but because they have to choose one or the other.

    Getting on a tangent with some generalities, but basically I'll concur with Mongo - prioritize based on your goals. With CRO as primary and Med School as secondary, they have some pretty divergent needs for preparation (Physical vs. Academic). Not impossible, but you will have to think hard about how to balance correctly. What that might mean is being less than the best in each area and gambling to get one while you might be better off choosing one and pursuing that 100%. It is a balance and path you will decide when you get to USAFA, I would not advise making that particular decision now.
     
  17. futureAFA

    futureAFA Member

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    Yeah, that is one thing I will definitely not need to worry about until the Academy. I currently have enough time to try my hardest in school, sports, and Civil Air Patrol. Also baseball is a spring sport so I have a fairly long time to get used the Academy. Not something I need to worry about yet.
     

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