The Military provides benefits for physicians and their families competitive with what is offered in the civilian world. These benefits include not only pay, but also repayment of student loans and various types of insurance coverage.
Physician Salary + Benefits
Special Pay + Bonuses
Depending on your specialty and experience, special pays will increase 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.
Health Professions Scholarship Program participants may receive a $20,000 sign-on bonus in exchange for four years of active-duty service in a non-training status. Licensed physicians with in-demand skills may receive a signing bonus from either the active-duty or Reserve forces, as well as special pays that correspond to their medical specialties.
The Military offers considerable retirement benefits for physicians in Active Duty, the Reserve or the Guard. If you serve for 20 years (and reach age 60 for Reserve and Guard), you have a choice to receive a monthly pension based on your base pay, or a discounted lump sum, paid either all at once or distributed annually for up to four years.
All service members are also automatically enrolled in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), which deducts money from your paycheck to save in a retirement account, similar to a civilian 401(k). The Services match your contribution after two years, which is also when that savings is yours to take with you, even if you leave the Military.
Insurance: Medical, Dental + Life
Active-duty physicians and their dependents will receive free or discounted health care coverage and dental coverage. Physicians in the Reserve and Guard can also participate in TRICARE Reserve Select, which is part of the Military's health care plan. Finally, physicians can receive up to $400,000 in term life insurance coverage for only $25 a month.
Student Loan Repayment
Medical school is expensive, but the Health Professions Loan Repayment Program (HPLRP) offers up to $120,000 to help you with your 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 during medical school are also eligible to apply for loan repayment.
The HPLRP offers up to $120,000 to help you with your student loans in exchange for a service commitment.
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. Also, 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.