Physician Salary + Compensation

doctors in surgery

The Military provides benefits for physicians and their families competitive with what are offered in the civilian world. These benefits include not only pay, but also repayment of student loans and various types of insurance coverage.


All active-duty physicians receive base pay, along with housing and subsistence allowances. Reserve or Guard members are paid for drilling (i.e., training in your military and medical duties) and when they are deployed.

Pay and allowances increase along with your rank as an officer, and military physicians can expect promotions every five to six years. Depending on experience and specialty, licensed physicians may be able to enter service at a higher rank, which means a higher base pay.

Compensation Estimator for Military Careers

Special Pay + Bonuses

Depending on your specialty and experience, special pay significantly increases your overall take-home pay. The opportunities to receive special pay will increase during your time of service. Special pay may be based on your specialty, board certification, the length of your service agreement or deployment. Another is a signing bonus for licensed physicians with in-demand skills.

Learn About Army Benefits

Learn About Navy Benefits

Learn About Air Force Benefits


Active-duty physicians and their dependents will receive healthcare and dental coverage. Physicians in the Reserve and Guard can also participate in TRICARE Reserve Select, which is part of the Military's healthcare plan.

Physicians may also receive up to $400,000 in term life insurance coverage for only $29 a month.


Vacation Time

Physicians, like all active-duty service members, receive 2.5 days of paid vacation each month, totaling to 30 days a year. Each year you can carry forward a maximum 60 days of accumulated leave on to next fiscal year. Reserve & Guard also accrue leave at the same rate for each month they are on active-duty.


The Military offers considerable retirement benefits for physicians in Active Duty, the Reserve or the Guard. For example, retired service members and their families are also eligible for several TRICARE insurance options. Furthermore, the Uniformed Services Blended Retirement System (BRS) combines elements of the Military’s legacy retirement system with benefits similar to many civilian 401(k) plans.

Read More on the Uniform Services Blended Retirement System

Malpractice Insurance

In addition, the Military provides malpractice coverage for active-duty physicians practicing in a military setting. However, active-duty physicians who moonlight outside their military position must pay for their own malpractice coverage.

Physicians in the Reserve and Guard receive malpractice coverage when they are serving for the Military, but they will need to pay for their own malpractice coverage when practicing as civilians.

Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)

All service members are also automatically enrolled in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), a program that deducts money from your paycheck to save in a retirement account, which is similar to a civilian 401(k). In addition, TSP contributions are tax deferred.

Student Loan Repayment

It’s no secret that medical school is expensive, but the Health Professionals Loan Repayment Program (HPLRP) offers up to $120,000 to help with student loans in exchange for a service commitment.

Those in the Reserve and Guard are also eligible for student loan repayment, with the amount varying based on specialty and length of service commitment.

Members of the Reserve and Guard who participated in the Medical and Dental Student Stipend Program (MDSSP) during medical school are also eligible to apply for loan repayment.

VA Home Loan Programs

Veterans qualify for special loan programs that help with benefits to buy, build, repair or update your new or existing home. These loan programs are provided by private lenders, such as banks and mortgage companies, but the VA will guarantee a portion of the loan to help facilitate more favorable terms.