So many of the questions I get on my social media accounts are about pursuing a medical career in the military. I am attending medical school via the Health Promotions Scholarship program (HPSP) in the United States Air Force. This post is to serve as a general overview of HPSP, but all the information listed here is from my experience. While I have tried to include all inclusive information, I can really only speak to my experience as a 4 year HPSP medical school student in the Air Force. I encourage anyone interested in applying to contact a recruiter to get any questions they may have answered by someone who is more knowledgeable about program specifics.
The Armed Forces Health Promotions Scholarship Program is available to anyone seeking an advanced degree to become a physician, dentist, nurse practitioner, pharmacist, veterinarian, optometrist, or psychologist. HPSP offers two, three, and four year scholarships that cover medical school tuition, required books and supplies, and a monthly stipend in exchange for one year of active duty service and one year of reserve service for each year of participation in the scholarship. The scholarship is offered by all branches of the military.
After completing a fairly extensive application process, students who are accepted into HPSP are commissioned as a Second Lieutenant if they are in the Army or Air Force, or as an ensign in the Navy. After commissioning, applicants are listed as “inactive reserve” so they are able to complete school. While in school, HPSP students are required to serve 45 days of active duty training (ADT) per fiscal year. Typically the first ADT is reserved to complete a version of ‘basic training’. In the Air Force this training is a 5 week program called Commissioned Officer Training (COT), in the Army it is a 6 week Basic Officer Leader Course (BOLC), and in the Navy it is a 5 week program called Officer Development School (ODS). While there is some variability on how the second ADT is served, typically the 3rd and 4th ADT are used on rotations at locations you are interested in auditioning for residency.