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Old 11-15-2012, 04:55 PM   #1
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Military Healthcare Professional Decision

Hello there military men and women,

I've came to a crossroad in my life at a young age. I'm a pharmacist and I'm pretty much getting tired of the day after day routine of practicing retail pharmacy.

I know the military (Army in my case) has really good incentives to join and will help pay for most of my school debt. Part of me has always wanted to join the military and pharmacy has been a passion of mine.

So what do you guys think about this decision to join? Discuss.

Thank you
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Old 11-15-2012, 05:16 PM   #2
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If you can still do what you love and have someone else pay for it, I'd jump on it!

I'm assuming being a healthcare professional with as much schooling as youve had, you would probably get a gentleman's OCS and start out as a Capt or Major? At least thats how the Chair Force does it.

Look into the Air Force and Navy. They have similar programs for people like yourself. Good luck!
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Old 11-15-2012, 05:21 PM   #3
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Joining the U.S. Army

Hey Erik,

May I ask what you are hoping to accomplish if you join the U.S. Army? I specifically mean if you are looking to enlist or pursue a commission? Are you looking to deploy, or be stationed OCONUS (outside the continental United States)?

I assume from your post that you have already completed pharmacy school (and also have a bachelors degree), so you should be eligible for officer candidate school (OCS) if you desire that route. I'm not 100% if you can directly commission like doctors, or if OCS is required. On the officer side, you will be looking at a 67E MOS (Pharmacist). On the enlisted side, you could be a 68Q (Pharmacy Specialist)

As far as paying back your student loans, I think you will want to look into the Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP). I have utilized this program to pay back my student loans from my first degree (Emory University); it is a great deal and has allowed me to complete two degrees with zero college debt.

I think joining the military and serving the country is a great decision, but I am obviously biased. I have ran into far more people who have appreciated their service as opposed to regretted it. Some things to consider about your current lifestyle: Do you like to work out / are you in shape? You will have to pass the Army physical fitness test (APFT). If you really don't like running, this could be a barrier to entry as it will perceivably lower your quality of life. In reality (and my opinion) exercise is a good thing and will actually better a person, but if one really hates to run, maybe running three days per week is not worth it.

Just some things to think about. If you have any more questions, post them up and I'll do my best to answer them.

Hunter
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Old 11-15-2012, 06:32 PM   #4
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Thanks for the responses. I currently have my Doctor of Pharmacy degree (PharmD) so I dont know where that puts me.

As to the exercise part, I usually run a 6 mile loop everyday. My record is 42 miles in one day - so I don't think that is a problem. I am physically fit and regulary hit the gym.

My other question is about my girlfriend who I've been dating for 5 years. If we get married, will she be able to follow me around? She will graduate soon with her doctorate in physical thereapy. She doesnt want to necessarily join the military, but can she work for the military as a civilian doing physical therapy if she decides to do so?

I've also started talking with the recruiters and they have been helping out a lot.

Thanks again guys

Edit: Also I am looking to enlist full time and go all out (if that make sense)
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Old 11-15-2012, 06:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by especk View Post
Thanks for the responses. I currently have my Doctor of Pharmacy degree (PharmD) so I dont know where that puts me.

As to the exercise part, I usually run a 6 mile loop everyday. My record is 42 miles in one day - so I don't think that is a problem. I am physically fit and regulary hit the gym.

My other question is about my girlfriend who I've been dating for 5 years. If we get married, will she be able to follow me around? She will graduate soon with her doctorate in physical thereapy. She doesnt want to necessarily join the military, but can she work for the military as a civilian doing physical therapy if she decides to do so?

I've also started talking with the recruiters and they have been helping out a lot.

Thanks again guys

Edit: Also I am looking to enlist full time and go all out (if that make sense)
If you're married, your spouse can go wherever you go, except for certain hazardous areas (Afghanistan). As far as jobs, it depends on where you're at. If there are openings, then she can apply...there are all kinds of civilians that work in the military hospitals. If there aren't any openings, then...well...she can volunteer, find a different job, hang out, or whatever. Up to the two of you to decide.
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Old 11-15-2012, 07:01 PM   #6
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It's good that you regularly exercise - that will lessen some of the "culture shock" if you join. I've been told many times that the Army is a physical sport; it really is true, one is always training for something.

Your degree will make you eligible to become an office if you so desire. When you say:

Quote:
I am looking to enlist full time and go all out (if that make sense)
That doesn't entirely make sense, or at least answer my question - active duty means the Army is your full time job. Enlisted or officer can both be active duty or reserve duty (part time, one weekend a month, two weeks per year). So when you say "enlist" do you mean stay enlisted (probably start as an E-4) and become a 68Q, or will you pursue a commission to become a 67E? I get that you probably mean to go active duty and make it your full time job. I think if you are already a pharmacist, you would be overqualified as a 68Q and would be challenged more as a 67E. I really don't know anything about those MOS's though, so perhaps someone can chime in and clarify.

If you marry your girlfriend, she will have privileges that only a wife is eligible for - the Army does not recognize girlfriends. This means that she can get on-base housing [with you], you will qualify for more basic allowance for housing (BAH), she will have more options if you are wounded or killed, etc. In terms of her following you, that is relative. Of course she can move to the city outside your post and you can put in for off base housing (if enlisted) and live with her (assuming normal duty). She will probably not be able to follow you to basic training, advanced individual training, etc as if you are enlisted, you will be living in barracks. But if you live off post during your basic officer leadership course (BOLC), she could stay with you then. For work, that will be something that you both will have to work out - I don't know nearly enough to offer anything useful - sorry.

The recruiters should have some helpful information for you, but try and verify everything that you can - the internet has a lot of information on this stuff. I am currently a recruiter for the Georgia Tech Army ROTC program while I await my IBOLC date, and I am constantly on Google trying to find answers to specific questions. I try to give the most accurate information that I can, but I'm sure mistakes can be made. Asking people who have been in for a while will be helpful as they may have gone through a similar situation and can tell you how it worked for them.
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Old 11-15-2012, 07:07 PM   #7
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Wink

Another option is to work for VA. I've been with VA for 21 years, and while my background is IT and not clinical, the electronic health record we have is incredibly comprehensive.

You'll also be serving those who serve. Good luck with whatever you pursue!

https://www.usajobs.gov/JobSearch/Se...ligibility=all
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Old 11-15-2012, 07:11 PM   #8
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http://www.goarmy.com/careers-and-jo...harmacist.html

You need to talk to a recruiter that handles healthcare professionals and officer accessions. You are more than qualified and I'm sure the Army, or any other branch would take you with your background, education, etc.

I used SLRP too. The Air Force paid for most of my BA and MA and I know for healthcare professionals, they have different programs with much deeper pockets because of the cost involved in getting a medical or pharmacy degree.

Don't enlist, you would be a wasted resource, not to mention you would take a drastic pay drop.
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Old 11-15-2012, 07:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanLikesTacos View Post
you would be a wasted resource, not to mention you would take a drastic pay drop.
You would definitely take a pay drop that for sure; with your degree you should aim as high as it will let you (probably the 67E).
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Old 11-15-2012, 07:16 PM   #10
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Captain (0-3)

All "DRs" get commissioned at CPT (O-3). This includes PhD nurses, MDs, PhD psychologists, and Pharm Ds.
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