A military physician sets out tools. A military physician sets out tools.

Residency + Match Day

Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) and Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) students have the same chances of getting their residency of choice as civilian students, and the Military will never dictate which specialty you choose. In general, the more competitive you are as a student, and the more programs you apply to, the better your chances of matching. The availability of residency slots, however, depends on the Military's need at that particular time and how competitive the residency is overall.

Students who do not receive their first specialty choice may elect to take a transitional year internship and reapply for their first specialty choice in the following years. Unlike students in the civilian match, HPSP and USUHS students will receive internship training.

If you have a specialty in mind and are wondering about the chances of getting the residency of your choice, contact a recruiter.

Rotations

During your rotations, you will need to start thinking about where you would like to do your residency. You will need to choose your rotations wisely and think of them as auditions. HPSP students should perform at least one rotation at a military medical facility where they think they may want to do their residency, while USUHS students will perform all of their rotations at military medical facilities.

Military Residencies

The process of matching to a residency is slightly different for military medical students than it is for civilian students. HPSP and USUHS students must apply to both the military Joint Service Graduate Medical Education Selection Board (JSGMESB) and the civilian Electronic Residency Application Service, and they must rank their residencies by preference. Keep in mind that all military residency programs are approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

The military match takes place first, and students are most likely to be matched at that time.

The military match takes place first, in December of the fourth year of medical school, and students are most likely to be matched at that time. If you do not match into a military residency or Post Graduate Year 1 program, you will be authorized to participate in the civilian match.

If you are selected for a military residency, you will start working at a military health care facility as an active-duty physician, and you will be paid as a captain in the Army and the Air Force, or as a lieutenant in the Navy. Keep in mind that your time in residency will not count toward your service commitment, but it will count toward your eventual promotion, pay longevity and retirement.

Civilian Residency Options

The Military may allow you to attend a civilian residency if there are not enough military slots available in the specialty you want and the Military still has a need for physicians in that specialty. Even if you believe you will be allowed to participate in a civilian residency, you must apply to the JSGMESB and enter a civilian deferred residency as your first choice. You should plan on interviewing for military residencies just in case you are not selected for civilian training.

If you do become a civilian resident, you will work at a civilian health care facility and the civilian facility will pay your salary. During your residency, you will still be an officer in the Individual Ready Reserve, which means your time in the civilian program will count toward promotion and pay longevity. As soon as you are finished with your residency and come on Active Duty, you must begin paying back your service commitment, and you will start receiving military benefits.

If You Do Not Match

If you do not match into the military or civilian residency of your choice, you will still have options. In some cases, you could switch to a military residency in another field if a slot is available. Otherwise, you should plan on doing a one-year civilian or military internship. After the internship, you will be able to get your license to practice medicine. Then you can either reapply for a residency, or you can serve as a General Medical Officer (GMO).

General Medical Officers (Navy and Air Force Only)

The position of GMO offers a wealth of opportunity. GMOs provide primary-care medicine to active-duty personnel, which means you will get military-specific medical training. GMOs serve as Flight Surgeons and Undersea Medical Officers, and they may be attached to a specific air wing, ship or submarine. Also, time served as a GMO fulfills your active-duty service obligation for participation in a medical scholarship program.

GMOs provide primary-care medicine to active-duty personnel, which means you will get military-specific medical training.

Since the number of military residency slots can fluctuate from year to year, you may need to serve as a GMO before you can participate in the residency of your choice. When your GMO term ends, you can reapply for your residency, or you can continue to serve as a GMO until you complete your full service commitment. Also, service as a GMO may give you an edge if you are applying to a competitive residency.