A military physician reads to a young patient. A military physician reads to a young patient.

Licensed Physician Options

Licensed physicians can serve the Military on either a full-time or part-time basis. Whichever option you choose, the Military will provide all the tools you need to practice your specialty and spend time with patients without worrying about overhead, personnel or budgets. Additionally, you could receive a substantial signing bonus, depending on your specialty.

Steps for Joining

  • Determine if you are eligible to join the Military.
  • Contact a recruiter.
  • Your recruiter will schedule a physical examination for you via a Military Entrance Processing Station or the Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board.
  • Keep in mind that the joining process may be anywhere from three to six months or longer depending on how long it takes to determine what your rank will be upon entry and whether or not you need a medical waiver.

What to Expect If You Serve Part Time

Many physicians in the Reserve and Guard have served in the active-duty Military; however, you can still join even if you have not had prior experience. In general, entrance requirements and officer training for the Reserve and Guard are the same as they are for the active-duty forces. You are expected to drill one weekend a month and two full weeks during the year and be prepared to deploy. Examples of your monthly drill may include helping at a nearby military medical center or hospital, filling in for physicians who are deployed or participating in field exercises.

Service Commitment

Most physicians sign up for a minimum of three years of service. Your commitment may be longer depending on the types of bonuses you accept upon joining.