Part-Time Service Options

Serving part time means you are part of a global, highly qualified team of military physicians and healthcare professionals. You may serve in a military medical center, clinic, field hospital or community center. You could also have the opportunity to serve in a civilian facility, hospital or clinic, or a location close to your home. In any case, you will be in a learning environment where creativity and leadership skills are tested and pushed into new dimensions of care. In addition, it is important to understand that a physician’s specialty and need for that specialty may have a bearing on acceptance into a Service branch.

Medical students and residents serving part time can participate in stipend programs to help pay for schooling. Regardless of where you are in training, a part-time service commitment provides flexibility, invaluable experience and other benefits.

Capt. Ross, Reserve Physician - Continuing to Lead

Hear a Navy Reserve service member discuss how he leads and helps his peers become a functioning unit.

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Capt. Ross, Reserve Physician - Continuing to Lead

Hear a Navy Reserve service member discuss how he leads and helps his peers become a functioning unit.

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ROSS: This is the hardest thing for a lot of physicians to learn when they get into the Navy is that you’re a medical officer and the officer is the key. It's the anchor. You have skills that the other people may not have but you’re also expected to be a leader and to be part of a medical team, and that has actually turned out to be the most enjoyable part of my job. My first half of my career I wanted to be a physician and I wanted to spend my time with patients. When I got out, I realized that I kind of missed that the bonding that occurs with other service members and that teamwork feeling. And I could just feel it, and I wasn’t getting it in the civilian side, and so I joined the Reserves. This is kind of where I really kind of changed my career from being just a physician to a physician and leader. I started to realize that the best thing I can do is not necessarily just what I can do with my hands but what I can do to help a group of people become a functioning unit so that they’re ready to deploy forward to take care of service members. If you’re on a special mission like the Navy Reserves, we have our day jobs, but then on the weekend we put on a different uniform. We don’t put our physician uniform on. We put our military officer uniform on. That bond that you create with people you serve with is what keeps me going – you know, keeps me going back. My wife would often say when I’m calling home on Sunday on my way home that I have this brightness in my voice after my drill weekend because I’m working with people who are there because they want to be every single day, and that creates a kind of a unique group of people.

Col. Paul Phillips III 60

Hear from a physician about why he loves practicing medicine as a Reservist in the Military.

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Col. Paul Phillips III 60

Hear from a physician about why he loves practicing medicine as a Reservist in the Military.

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PHILLIPS: I think the reason why I serve in the Army Reserve is to continue to give back, not only to my country but also give back to those in need that are injured in times of conflict and I think also to be able to utilize my skills as an orthopedic surgeon where they are ever needed throughout the world it makes me a better civilian. On the side it makes me a better American, I think it makes me a better leader. I think being in the Army Reserve and having multiple deployments has allowed me to bring home techniques of of critical thinking to my private practice to my patients here. I think that every deployment I learned something new. I’m colonel Paul Philips III and I’m an orthopedic surgeon in the United States Army Reserve.

Training and Deployment

Medical training for part-time service options in today’s military is flexible, with support programs, drill schedules, and locations that can accommodate a variety of needs.

Drilling consists of training in your military medical duties as a physician. However, you will not be pulled away from medical training for deployments during your schooling, and you can participate in a flexible training program that allows you to balance your regular drill with your training.

Deployment is a temporary assignment which occurs as a part of a military operation or exercise. The requirements and frequency of deployment vary greatly based upon the specific needs of a Service branch, world events, a unit’s historical mission, and other factors. It can also include postings overseas or domestically within the United States or its territories. Questions about deployment can be answered and addressed during the initial unit interview before any decisions about service are made.

Tuition Assistance

What follows is a selection of the various financial support avenues available for students in the Reserve or Guard, including education and related finances:

  • The Medical and Dental Student Stipend Program (MDSSP)

    Through this stipend program, you can enter as a commissioned officer, but you will not be pulled away from medical training for deployments while you are in school. Drilling consists of training in your military medical duties as a physician. When it is time for you to choose a residency, you will participate in the civilian Match Day and train at a civilian institution. Match Day is a widely used term that designates the day when the National Resident Matching Program releases the results to applicants who are seeking residency or fellowship positions.

    In addition, when you drill, you will be paid as a second lieutenant in the Army or Air Force, or as an ensign in the Navy. When not drilling, you will receive a stipend of over $2,000 a month as a participant in the MDSSP.

  • Specialized Training Assistance Program (STRAP)

    For those who have been accepted into an accredited residency program, STRAP offers a stipend of over $2,000 a month in exchange for one year of Reserve or Guard drilling for every six months that you receive the stipend.

  • Training in Medical Specialties (TMS)

    TMS is a program open only to residents in the Navy Reserve. As with all other Reserve and Guard programs for residents, you will receive a stipend of over $2,000 a month. When your training is complete, you must serve as a Navy Reserve lieutenant with an obligation of one year of service for every six months of training you received.

  • The Air Force Reserve Stipend Program

    This program offers medical school graduates a substantial stipend each month while they are in an approved residency program. As a condition of this assistance, stipend recipients serve two months for every month financial assistance is received. The service commitment begins upon completion of the residency program.

  • Special Pay Incentive

    Residency-trained physicians are eligible for bonuses up to $75,000 upon entering the Air Force Reserve for a three-year commitment. In addition, critical wartime specialties may also receive incentive pay ranging from $43,000-59,000 (prorated annually).

    Learn About the Army Reserve

    Learn About the Navy Reserve

    Learn About the Air Force Reserve