Become an U.S. Army Physician Assistant
Active Duty Opportunities:
Since 1973, physician assistants (PA) have been an integral component of the Army Health Care Team, fulfilling key roles in all aspects of patient care. Today, Army physician assistants serve as their unit's primary health care provider. They are responsible for everything from prescribing medications to teaching military medics. The PA role has become critical in recent years because Army physicians have come to rely on them more to assist with their ever-increasing patient loads and healthcare responsibilities.
As a full time physician assistant in the active Army, you'll get more recognition, rewards and autonomy than you'll find in the civilian sector. You will enjoy an atmosphere of mutual respect and camaraderie as you work alongside fellow officers and health care professionals in a team-oriented environment. In addition to enjoying a greater degree of responsibility and freedom, the Army PA is active in every aspect of patient care. As an Army PA, you will have the opportunity to practice medicine everywhere from high-tech clinics to field hospitals. You will perform evaluations, order labs and radiographs, diagnose, write consults, treat acute and chronic illnesses, as well as medical and traumatic emergencies.
You will typically serve within one of the many Army combat or combat support battalions located in the continental US, Alaska, Hawaii, Germany, Italy, Korea or wherever the mission takes you. These units include mechanized or light infantry, armored cavalry, airborne or, if you are qualified, Special Forces. Regardless of where you are assigned, you will serve the "front line" of Army medicine and be responsible for the total health care of soldiers assigned to that unit, as well as their family members. You will know that you have gained your unit's respect when they call you "Doc".
The Army is committed to helping you attain your career goals. Army physician assistants, who have completed their initial obligation, may qualify for fully funded post-graduate training programs in the following areas: orthopedics, emergency medicine, intensivist, or occupational medicine.
The Army also offers special training programs in Advanced Casualty Care, Medical Management of Chemical Injuries, Aviation Medicine and others. There is a wide range of short courses, conferences and seminars that can help satisfy your continuing medical education requirements and keep you abreast of the latest developments in your field. There are also courses designed to expand your military education while complementing your civilian training. These courses include the Army Medical Department Captains Career Course, the Intermediate Level Education and the Command and General Staff College. The Army offers masters and Ph.D. programs through certain civilian institutions for those interested in education, research or health promotion.
You'll have the opportunity to grow - both personally and professionally. You will become an even better physician assistant in the process.
You will have substantial benefits as a physician assistant on active duty. You will have the opportunity to earn promotions and regular pay increases. Plus, you will be able to network with other healthcare professionals and take advantage of a variety of continuing medical education opportunities. In addition to the benefits listed above, active duty Physician Assistants also enjoy:
- No or low-cost medical and dental coverage for you and your family.
- Low-cost life insurance.
- Free on-post housing or a housing allowance.
- 30 days of paid annual leave.
- Travel opportunities.
- Retirement benefits after 20 years of service.
- Commissary and post exchange (PX) shopping privileges.
To become a physician assistant in the Army, you must:
- Be a US citizen.
- Be at least 21 years of age and less than 48 years of age (age waivers may be considered for applicants with prior military service).
- Hold at least a bachelor's degree.
- Be a graduate of a training program accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA).
- Have current certification by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).
- Be employed as a physician assistant if you completed your PA training more than one year ago.
- Successfully complete a security investigation.
- Be able to pass an English Comprehension Level Test (ECLT) if English is your second language.
- Meet the prescribed professional, physical and ethical standards for appointment as an Army commissioned officer.
How do I get started?
Contact your local Army Health Care Recruiter.
What will the recruiter do?
The recruiter will answer your questions and help you collect important information and documents to start your application.
What documents will the recruiter need?
- Curriculum Vitae (CV) with documented date of birth and work experience by month, day and year.
- Copies of your transcript(s) and diploma(s) from a physician assistant educational program accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA).
- Current certification by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).
- All current state PA licenses.
- If you have previously served in the military you will need a copy of your DD214 (Record of Service), and copies of your last 3 officer evaluation reports (OER) or non-commissioned officer evaluation reports (NCOER).
What happens next?
The recruiter will send your documents forward for review. If the review committee determines that you are an eligible applicant, the recruiter will assist you with additional documents to complete your application. A selection board reviews the final application. If you are selected, you will be given the opportunity to become part of the greatest healthcare team in the world, serve your country and provide care for America's heroes.
To learn more or find the Army Health Care Recruiter nearest you, call
1800-USA-ARMY or visit our website at www.goarmy.com/locate-a-recruiter.html.
Additional questions can be forwarded to:
MAJ Nichelle Johnson SD Branch Chief, Health Services Directorate,
HQ USAREC at DirectPA@USAAC.Army.Mil