50+ Medical Fields In United States Military

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Did you know that there are already hundreds of medical fields in the military of any country that you can join? If you are a pre-medical student you can join the army after high school. There are a lot of opportunities in the army and this article aims

  •  To educate you about medical fields in the military.
  • To give you an overview of a career as a military doctor
  • To acknowledge you about benefits of joining the military
  • To give you guidance about how to become a military doctor in the U.S.

So take out your notebooks because we will discuss some best medical jobs in the military that you can join. 

How does it seem to be a medical doctor in the military?

The medical profession is considered one of the topmost noble and decent professions in the world. But what if it is combined with the military ?. It seems like two life-saving professions combine to give the most demanded and respectable career-oriented job that can be the dream and desire of anyone. Well, medical and military fields are very stressful and challenging but hard work pays off.

Why to step in the military after being a doctor?

Wearing a uniform doesn’t mean surrendering to your personal life. Entering the Military is a massive commitment, but you will make more friends, contacts, and opportunities than you can imagine. 

Along with the benefits, facilities, and opportunities of the military, we cannot skip the hardship and struggles that run parallel with this job. The charm and discipline of the field are highly addictive and once it becomes a passion, it’s so hard to give up on it. Benefits of the military in nutshell can be mentioned as follows:

  • Medical doctors in the military get 2.5 days of paid vacations per month served on active duty, whereas in the civilian sector, sick day leave do not count as vacation 
  • Medical doctors in the military have travel opportunities and have a chance to see the world.
  • Military doctors are also offered numerous other benefits officially by the government. They can enjoy movie theatres, golf clubs, and unofficial military discounts along with the family.
medical fields in the military

Salary of a Military Doctor

Following the statistics reported by  Payscale.com, an army physician’s income is expressed for those working in the military with a Doctor of Medicine position, getting between $100,000 and $275,000 as of January 2020. 

 List of Medical fields In The Military

  1. Flight surgeon
  2. Immunology/allergist
  3. Anesthesiology
  4. Cardiology
  5. Child psychiatry
  6. Child neurology
  7. Dermatology
  8. Critical care
  9. Diagnostic radiology
  10. Emergency medicine
  11. Endocrinology
  12. Family medicine
  13. Fleet Marine corps medicine
  14. Gastroenterology
  15. General surgery
  16. Genetics
  17. Geriatrics
  18. Hematology
  19. Infectious disease
  20. Internal medicine
  21. Interventional radiology
  22. Neonatology
  23. Nephrology
  24. Neurology
  25. Neurosurgery
  26. Nuclear medicine
  27. Gynaecology
  28. Occupational medicine
  29. Oncology
  30. Ophthalmology
  31. Orthopaedic surgery
  32. Osteopathic medicine
  33. Otolaryngology
  34. Pain management
  35. Pathology
  36. Paediatrics
  37. Peripheral vascular surgery
  38. Physical medicine
  39. Plastic and reconstructive surgery
  40. Preventive medicine
  41. Psychiatry
  42. Pulmonary medicine
  43. Rheumatology
  44. Sports medicine
  45. Surface medicine
  46. Therapeutic radiology
  47. Thoracic surgery
  48. Transfusion medicine
  49. Tropical medicine
  50. Diving/Undersea medicine
  51. Urology

Military Medical Training

Military medical training aims to train an individual having a  medical background with military discipline. Now here you are not only trained to be a doctor or physician but also a military man. 

Officially you join the military as a military officer so definitely you will get engaged to study the leadership skills as the topmost demand of being an officer. Military medical training will immerse you in military culture and you have to participate in physical officer training as well. 

1. Joining the military as an officer

Being an officer in the military will transform you into a leader. As an office, you are supposed to manage, support, and inspire other service members during military medical training. The discipline and communication skills that you learn at this position will apply to not only the military but also to the civilian career.

Commissioning + Rank

Commissioning and rank in the military depend on the status of your medical education whether you join the military during medical school or after completion of graduation or as a licensed physician. In general,  on joining the military, you will be commissioned as an officer.

2. Joining the military during medical school

In case of joining the military during medical school either through dental and medical students stipend program,  health service scholarship program, or uniformed services university of the health sciences, you will step into the military as the second lieutenant in the army, or the air force or as an officer in the navy.

3. Joining the military after completion of graduation

You will be promoted to the rank of captain in the army or airforce or lieutenant in the Navy, after the completion of graduation. In case of joining the military through the Financial assistance program, you will be employed at the rank of at least captain ( army/air force) or lieutenant in the Navy. 

4. Joining the military as a licensed physician

When you enter the military as a licensed physician, your rank will typically start at captain or major in the Army/Air force or lieutenant or lieutenant commander in the Navy. Your rank in the military may be higher. It is based on where you stand in your career.

When you apply in the military, an expert evaluation board will assess your work experience and previous service, if any. Once your rank or position is determined, it must be recognized by Congress or the Secretary of Defense. This process may be lengthy and may take several months.

What to expect from your military medical training?

Military medical training for physicians is not similar to the basic training required for enlisted service members but physicians must part participate in officers’ physical training. You may not need to attend officer training if you have prior commission service in the branch to which you are applying.

The military medical training may take two to ten weeks but it is suggested to complete officer training as soon as possible otherwise it will interrupt medical studies or career.  The duration and location of officer training are entitled differently according to the services. It can be summarized in the following table

Position in military Title of Physical training Duration of training Location of training
Army Army ReserveArmy National GuardBasic Officer Leaders Course (BOLC)10–14 weeks for Active DutyTwo weeks for Reserve Fort Sam Houston, Texas
NavyOfficer Development School (ODS)Five weeksNaval Station Newport, R.I
Navy ReserveDirect Commission Officer (DCO) School12 daysOfficer Training Command, Newport, R.I
Air ForceAir Force Reserve Air National GuardCommissioned Officer Training (COT)Five and a half weeksMaxwell Air Force Base, Ala.

How to become a Military Doctor in the U.S.

A military doctor gives health care services to military personnel and their families. Medical careers in the army can be highly functional, productive, and appealing. including hospital ships and foreign therapeutic centers. Doctors who served in the military might take part in international assistance efforts by giving care to martyrs and victims of natural hazards. 

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Before starting the stepwise guide, here is a summarized  view of the mandatory requirements for being a military doctor

DegreeDoctor of Medicine ( fulfilling of an undergraduate degree, medical school, and residency)
Certification/licenseHaving a license to practice medicine in the U.S
Basic skillsThe candidate must fulfill the physical requirements and pass the security clearance to contact the military branch of choice. Key skills include self-discipline, critical thinking, ability to handle stress and pressure, and decision-making power
Annual pay (payscale.com)$100,000 – $275,000

Step 1: Get a bachelor degree

The initial step of becoming a medical doctor is to get a bachelor’s degree. Which is mandatory to step into medical school. Premedical students build their academic backgrounds based on biology and chemistry. Students who want to pursue their careers by studying medicine must engage themselves as a volunteer in medical centers. This will help the students to gain work experience and strengthen their candidacy.

Step 2: Get a medical degree

Candidates stepping into the military as medical officers must have a medical degree from an approved medical college or they may enroll themselves in military medical school. It is up to your choice and no such restriction to have a degree from a military-affiliated medical school to become a military doctor.

There is an opportunity for students to get benefited from military financial aid to support them financially during medical school with a documented commitment that they will join the military as commission officers after completion of the degree.

Two main career paths are most preferable for students who want to become a military doctor that is 

  •  Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP)
  • Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS).

Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP)

It is somehow similar to civilian medical training with a difference that here students get some basic military training and are allowed to become “ active duty. They have their clinical rotations and ward rounds at a local military hospital. Advantages of this program are

  • Students may enroll themselves in any medical college in the U.S.
  • A monthly stipend for living expenses is provided and the tuition is entirely paid for.

Few disadvantages associated with this program are also important to highlight

  • These programs don’t allow students to have wide exposure to military training due to some valid reasons
  • A student must pay back the years of tuition by working as a military doctor for the exact period it took to get a medical degree i.e 1 to 1 payback program.

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS)

This program is directly associated with military medical school. This career path has some advantages and disadvantages that depend upon personal preferences. Advantages associated with these programs are as follows 

  • This program provides full engagements with military training and practice
  • Students are completely engaged with military culture and having an opportunity of rotating across the U.S. or internationally.
  • Tuition is entirely free
  • Students also get a salary of $40,000/year. Moreover, they are provided with an additional $20,000 non-taxable income to be utilized for housing

On the other hand, this program also possesses some disadvantages that need to be mentioned along with benefits

  • There is no variety of location and students must attend the USUHS, which is situated in Bethesda, Maryland
  • To compensate for the free tuition fee of USUHS, students must owe 7 years of active military service.

Step 3: Join the military

The accurate admission requirements for joining the military will differ between various divisions of the military; however, all candidates require to satisfy health, personality, and age requirements. In extension, a security clearance might be needed. Doctors might need to have a present state medical certificate or license and currently work in the United States. Typically all military representatives endorse a contract that adds a minimal amount of service time.


Well, medical and military fields are very stressful and challenging but hard work and struggle never go in vain. The medical profession in association with the military becomes more appealing and worthy concerning its nobility and payscale. Facilities and opportunities associated with the military are yet another favorable aspects for career-oriented candidates. 

However basic skills of self-discipline and the ability to handle stress and pressure are key to step into the military for a successful career and life.