The cornerstone of the United States Air Force Medical Service, the Medical Corps is made up of Air Force physicians who have graduated from an accredited medical school and have completed officer training.

There are several routes for those seeking to serve as physicians in the Air Force. The most straightforward is to enter the Air Force as a practicing physician and begin active, with rank based upon experience, upon completion of the five-week Commissioned Officer Training program held at the Officer Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama.

Students who are currently in medical school or are about to enter can apply for a scholarship through the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP); recipients will have tuition and related expenses covered by the Air Force and also be given a monthly allowance for the costs of living. Upon graduation from medical school, they’ll begin their residency at either a civilian or military medical facility, followed by several years of active-duty service (one for each year of scholarship aid they received).

Cadets at the United States Air Force Academy can vie for entry into the F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. This is an attractive option for many because students are commissioned as Second Lieutenants and receive active-duty pay during medical school and subsequent residency; successfully completing residency means they enter the service at the rank of Captain.

Note that Cadets who choose this route should be very, very serious about their Air Force Careers, because they will be required to serve twelve years in return for their attendance at the Academy and the USUHS. On the other hand, Air Force physicians can look forward to working on the cutting-edge of medical technologies at the same time they serve their country and care of the men and women who strive to protect it.

The Medical Corps badge is awarded at the basic, Senior, and Master levels, but the time in specialty used to calculate eligibility includes any credits awarded for constructive service at the time of their appointment.
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