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Practicing medicine in the Navy means providing the highest quality healthcare to beneficiaries worldwide. You will deploy alongside Sailors and U.S. Marines to provide critical care on land, on the sea and in the air. Back home, you’ll provide care to service members and their families, retirees and military veterans.

Whether you choose a full-time, active-duty commitment, or serve as a Navy Reservist and maintain your own practice, you’ll enter as a commissioned officer. As an Officer, you’ll get the chance to lead others earlier than you can expect in the civilian world and do so in a diverse range of global work environments.

Core Mission

Navy Medicine is a global healthcare system that provides high-quality healthcare to service members and their families during peacetime and times of conflict. As a physician in the Navy, you will deploy worldwide to provide mission support in a variety of situations and experiences. Back home, Navy physicians provide care for service members and their families and retirees. Every day, you will be ready to provide expert care to those who need it, no matter the environment. The Navy also plays a key role in humanitarian assistance and disaster response at home and around the world.

Navy Medical Corps Officer – Physician

Hear from real Navy doctors about their experiences in the Military.

Navy Medical Corps Officer – Physician

Hear from real Navy doctors about their experiences in the Military.

In the final step would be transecting the appendix with the harmonic scalpel. I'm a navy radiologist internal medicine physician this year Orthopedic surgery resident I'm an anesthesiologist An emergency room doctor we have very versatile, and we have a diverse skill sets whether you're on Shore you're at sea or you're in an austere environment. First with anything that I can do as a general surgeon ashore in the hospital I can do a float in this operating on an aircraft carrier. Being able to travel and practice medicine I thought was a great combination. My first duty station will be Naples Italy we were deploying to go help the citizens of Puerto Rico ended up being a hugely rewarding experience. The Navy sent me to dive school in Panama City Florida learn dive medicine while also diving. I went to a civilian medical school on a military scholarship. I decided to sign up for the Navy to do the Health Professions scholarship program. I got full pay and benefits in addition to having my medical school paid for I was commissioned as an officer. You get so many great leadership opportunities able to have two awesome careers and one.

Career Highlights

The Navy offers the opportunity to serve two military forces: The Navy and the United States Marine Corps (USMC). This unique opportunity represents the chance to serve on the front lines, in a hospital, or anywhere in between. Available specialties include, but are not limited to:

  • Anesthesiology
  • Cardiothoracic Surgery
  • Colorectal Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • General Surgery
  • Neurosurgery
  • Ophthalmology
  • Orthopedics
  • Preventive Medicine
  • Psychiatry
  • Pulmonology
  • Trauma/Critical Care Surgery
  • Urology
  • Vascular Surgery
Navy medical staff

Another career opportunity is a two- to three-year General Medical Officer (GMO) tour. Starting after your intern year, graduates join the Navy fleet or the Fleet Marine Forces to serve as a general practitioner. GMOs are licensed, practicing physicians who may not be residency trained or may even be board certified in their respective fields. Going on a GMO tour gives graduates the opportunity to join and directly support U.S. Sailors and Marines working within operational units.

There are many other GMO opportunities available today in the Navy, including:

  • Fleet Marine forces doctors assigned to Marine units.
  • Underwater/dive medical officers who earn certification as Navy divers and work with submariners, special operations divers, and Navy SEALS.
  • Flight surgeons, who undergo aviation pre-flight instruction, attend primary flight school, and are assigned to both fixed and rotary-wing aircraft squadrons both in the Navy and Marine Corps.

It is important to note that going on a GMO tour may mean putting residency on hold for that duration, which could increase the time it takes to become a board-certified physician.

Day In The Life

Follow Josephine Nguyen, M.D. as she takes us through a typical day in the life of a Navy doctor.
Josephine Nguyen, M.D.

Dermatologist, Navy

Benefits Of Medicine In The Military

Josephine explains to residents attending the morning report the benefits of practicing medicine in the Military versus the civilian sector.

More Benefits of the Military

NGUYEN: I know you guys are still in the learning phases, but even, like, you would think, like, even beyond — after residency and taking your patients, like, you all — there’s always a transition phase of your career, where you’re like, “OK, I’m good seeing patients now, I want to do something else like run hospitals, or do international aid.” And that’s what’s awesome about medicine, is that the civilian side, people pretty much have to stay in that pathway, or, I mean, or then they can transition, but then to transition to the executive level, it takes a big — a big transition, while for the Military, like, you can just jump from one to another, and then just still go back and take care of patients. So it’s been — I mean, it’s just — just to encourage you that your choice to go Military was great.


Navy hospitals and research stations are typically located in populated areas near water, although this is not always the case.

Within the Navy, there are 19 medical centers and hospitals, two hospital ships, and over 30 Navy medical commands and ambulatory care clinics.

Unique Programs + Opportunities

Through a number of support resources and exclusive research opportunities, the Navy can help ease financial burdens and advance your career.

For example, the Health Services Collegiate Program (HSCP) provides anywhere from $157,000 to $269,000 while students finish medical school. This financial assistance option also includes a monthly salary and housing allowance from $3,280 to $5,610 for up to 48 months of your program (housing allowance may vary depending upon location).

In addition, there are numerous clinical and basic science research opportunities within the Navy, which are spread across eight enterprise research and development laboratories. A few of the current Naval Medical Research and Development Enterprise laboratories include:

Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC)

Headquartered in Silver Spring, Md., NMRC functions as a major research laboratory and headquarters for the seven other Navy Research Development Test & Evaluation (RDT&E) laboratories. Research at NMRC focuses on mission-aborting infectious disease agents; infectious disease vaccine development; operational and undersea medicine; bone marrow research; and biological defense.

Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory (NSMRL)

Located in Groton, Conn., the research programs at NSMRL focus on submariner wellness, psychological fitness, shipboard health and performance, underwater bioeffects, submarine survival and escape, and human systems.

Naval Medical Research Unit-Dayton (NAMRU-D)

NAMRU-D research conducted in Dayton, Ohio, is focused on maximizing warfighter performance and survivability through aeromedical and environmental health studies. Key areas of research include spatial disorientation; situational awareness; motion sickness; unusual acceleration environments; fatigue; vision and hearing studies; effects of altitude; and the toxicity of chemicals and materials used in military operations.