As a member of the Armed Forces HPSP, you will be required to apply for the military match. The military match is much like the civilian match, but there are some key differences. As a member of the Air Force HPSP I am most familiar with their application requirements but I will do my best to indicate how & when the Navy and Army differ.
Before we begin talking about the military residency application process I think it is easiest to review some of the terminology you will see popping up towards the end of your 3rd year and start of 4th year.
ERAS (Electronic Residency Application Service): This is a branch of AAMC for medical students to apply to civilian residency programs.
MODS: This is the military equivalent of ERAS, and allows applicants to apply online for a military residency.
NRMP (National Residency Matching Program): This is the board who matches medical students into civilian residency programs.
JSGME (Joint Services Graduate Medical Education): This is the military equivalent to NRMP. This board matches HPSP medical students into military residency programs or decides if the student gets a civilian deferment.
HPERB (Health Professions Education Requirements Board): This board determines the number of training slots per specialty and location each year for Air Force HPSP candidates. HPERB releases this list in June of the application cycle.
As a member of the Armed Forces Health Promotion Scholarship Program you have the potential to match into a variety of different programs on Military Match Day which occurs in December of your 4th year, about 3 months before the traditional civilian match day in march.
If you are selected to train at a military base there are two possibilities. One is categorical which means you matched into that training program for the full duration of residency (ie 5 years for general surgery, 3 for pediatrics). The other potential is getting selected as a PGY1. A PGY1 is a 1 year internship which can be done in Internal Medicine or General Surgery. After this 1 year internship is completed the student has to re-apply for a categorical residency spot.
If a student matches into Civilian Deferred they are permitted to apply for and attend a civilian residency program. You will receive the same pay and benefits as a civilian resident of the program. You remain in Inactive Ready Reserve status, you do not accrue years of services, or military benefits. As a Civilian Deferred resident you will serve your Active Duty obligation upon completion of residency. You will not accrue additional years of service owed for doing a Civilian Deferred residency if it is less than 5 years in length.
Civilian Sponsored is similar to Civilian Deferred in that you can apply for and attend a civilian residency program. The benefit to being selected for Civilian Sponsored is that you are considered active duty and receive active duty pay and benefits and accrue years of service. The one drawback of Civilian Sponsored is that you will accrue an additional year of active duty pay back per year of residency training.
Something I am less familiar with is the possibility of serving as a General Medical officer or GMO. As a GMO you work as a general practitioner and are assigned to a unit or ship which you travel with. While serving as a GMO does not count towards residency training, it does count towards your active duty obligation. Being selected to be a GMO is similar to being selected as an intern in which case you have to apply for residency the subsequent year. Being selected for a GMO year is most common for Navy HPSP students.