I’m looking for some feedback on residency training within the Armed Forces. I’m looking at several ways of funding my medical school education (pending an acceptance this year). Once accepted, I may consider applying for an Armed Forces Health Scholarship most likely through Air Force or Army if I get into an out of state med school. I understand most of the particulars as far as how the scholarship program works. But, I would also like to consider the Flight Surgeon route. In order to do this, would you simply complete an Air Force family practice residency and then go through an aerospace medicine (Flight Surg.) training or do you simply completed an aerospace res. training? If you only complete an aerospace res., then where does that leave you when you eventually leave the Air Force? I would think there would be some job constraints in the civilian world with aerospace training? I wouldn’t even consider this unless I could get the Fam. res. and be board ready or cert. when leaving the military. What are some pros and cons of doing something like this? I would appreciate any info that you all may have relating to this. I suppose I could pose these questions to a recruiter, but I want some unbiased answers. Thanks all!
Excellent! Just what I was looking for. I’ll make some posts there. Thanks!
I am attending med school on an Air Force scholarship as well as spent five years as an Army Officer prior to returning to school. Also, this summer I attended the Air Force’s Intro to Aerospace Medicine course as my ADT. I think I can help you out some. From what we learned, while most flight docs are family medicine, you can do your residency in whatever you want. With that being said, your specialty must release you to attend the AMP (flight doc primer course). Though I can’t foresee anesthesiology letting you go since they are a shortage specialty (a lot tend to get out for the big bucks of the civilian sector). I’m considering neurology and internal med. When I spoke with our course director, he told me that I shouldn’t have a problem being a flight doc out of those specialties.
You can do a tour or two as a flight doc or you can make it your career. Say I do my internal medicine residency and complete my payback. Then I can apply for the AMP course. After the AMP course, I will go be a flight doc in an operational unit. Now, say I fall in love with being a flight doc and decide that’s what I want to do for the rest of my career. Then I can apply for the residency in aerospace medicine (not a residency in the terms we are used to). You do a year getting your MPH, a year at a preventative med or occupational med residency, and a year learning flight medicine (I think that’s right from what I remember…that’s the right mix though).
Now say, I know all I want to be is a flight doc, then I can do just a transitional intern year, then go out as a GMO flight doc. Then later in my career (it can be at the end of my first tour), I can apply for the residency in aerospace medicine. You cannot do the residency in aerospace medicine right out of med school.
With either route, you can do a lot of things when you get out…international medicine, preventative med, consult work, practice in your other specialty (if you go that route).
The military is a great route and I’m looking forward to getting back into an environment with a high level of teamwork and esprit de corps.
Hope this helps. Let me know what questions you have and I’ll try to answer them the best I can.
Ok, so correct me if I’m wrong…so, upon completion of medschool, if I want to go straight from PGY-1 to a Flight Surg. tour and complete that (2yr minimum I’ve heard), then I would be able to follow that up with a Fam. Prac. residency? If yes, then do you still apply for mil. residency during 4th year via ERAS or do you do that after completion of FS tour? Could you also complete medschool, complete a Fam. prac. residency, and then start a FS tour? What reason(s) did you choose Army over the other branches? Thanks for the info!
Actually, I was in the Army (paying back my committment for undergrad) and decided to go Air Force for med school. My husband and I (who is set to retire from the Army the year after I graduate) decided to go for a new adventure.
As for the Air Force residency application process…you apply through ERAS only for civilian schools because the AF has fewer residency slots than it has residents to train, so some portion of residencies are done at civilian schools. However, the main Air Force residency application is unique amongst the services. It much like a CV in which you list your accomplishments, etc. Then they take that along with your transcripts, Dean’s letter, rotation evals, etc and “rack and stack” the applications based on a points system-- essentially they rank order everyone applying for residency that year. You get to list (rank) several military locations and up to two specialties on your application. You can also ask for a deferment (those specialties for which there are deferments and the number of slots is listed on the specialty table that comes out in the summer). The top person gets his/her first choice…and so on down the line. Our match list come out in December so that if you are deferred to civilian residency, you will continue in the regular match. If you match into a military residency, then you withdraw from the civilian match. There are differences between the two as far as accumulating active duty time.
So say you want to be a flight doc right away. You would apply for a transitional year slot (1 yr internship), then you would go to the AMP class and out to an operational unit as a flight doc. Then after two years, you can apply for your residency (which again can be anything you want it to be).
Some people take this route not because they want to be career flight docs, but because they want to make themselves more competitive for the more competitive residencies (i.e. orthopedic surgery, derm). They will get more points because of their added military experience. This is also a feasible route for those who still don’t know what they want to be when they grow up.
Being a flight doc is a great field; one I hope to do at least a single tour in. They get to establish great relationships with their pilots and their families as well as deploy.
Hope this helps,
Thanks for the good info. I wish you and your husband the best of luck and heck, maybe we’ll cross paths in the AF someday…pending I get an acceptance to medschool this year and accepted to the AF scholar. program.