Marines medical school

Marines medical school DEFAULT

"America's Medical School," the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU), was founded by Louisiana Congressman F. Edward Hébert to be a "West Point for doctors." Located in Bethesda, Maryland, USU looks for aspiring medical students with a passion for service who thrive in a collaborative environment. Since USU students are active-duty service members, their education is paid for by the U.S. government, and they receive a military salary and benefits, including a housing allowance. USU accepts both civilian and military applicants for commissioning into the Army, Navy, Air Force and U.S. Public Health Service.

What to Expect in Medical School

USU offers extensive medical training, along with 700 hours of training in military-specific areas such as epidemiology, health promotion, leadership and field exercises, disease prevention, tropical medicine and global health. As a member of the active-duty Military, you will wear a uniform to class.

After the first 16 months of medical school, you will start rotations at military medical facilities across the United States where you may want to do your residency, and you will participate in the military match and possibly the civilian match process.

More about Medical School

Service Commitment

After USU students finish their residency, they serve on Active Duty for seven years. Your specific role will depend on your training and the Military's needs. Another option for fulfilling your service commitment involves becoming a General Medical Officer (GMO) after you receive your license. In this position, your role would be similar to that of a general medical practitioner, except you are attached to a specific unit, air wing, ship or submarine. This position is open to service members in the Navy and Air Force.

More about GMOs


Will The Military Pay For Medical School?

Will the United States Military pay recruits to attend medical school? The short answer is yes, but there are conditions. Many who qualify choose a career in military medicine because the schooling is paid for and while serving there is no requirement for individual doctors to take out malpractice insurance while serving in the military.

Will The Military Pay For Medical School?That particular feature is billed as a perk of serving. The Army official site’s efforts to recruit doctors and nurses includes a promise that military doctors “practice in an environment free of overhead and malpractice insurance costs.”

But long before a medical student can think about malpractice insurance, there is the issue of how to pay for a medical education.

Paying For Medical School In The U.S. Military

The first thing to keep in mind when considering military options to pay for medical school and medical training is that in exchange for paying for your training, your branch of military service (Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Space Force, and Coast Guard where applicable) will require a time commitment from you–you must agree to serve a minimum time in uniform as a trained medical professional.

In general, your military commitment will depend greatly on the amount of commitment the military gives you–every year you receive military educational assistance toward a medical degree you are required to commit the same amount of time (one full year in exchange for one full year of benefits) to serving. If you enter a four-year medical program and get four years of full-time coverage for it, you will be expected (in general) to commit to four years of service in uniform.

It should be pointed out that many such programs require your military commitment to begin after residency requirements are met and not before. Resident work may coincide with or conflict with Guard or Reserve commitments. You will need to ask questions of your school and recruiter to learn how to reconcile such schedules where needed.

When You Start Counts

Military financial aid options for medical school include:

  • Financial assistance options for those in or applying to medical-oriented undergrad programs (“pre-med”)
  • Educational assistance funds for those accepted into medical school programs
  • Compensation for those who come to military service with a medical degree they’ve already earned
  • Help for those who are already serving in uniform but want to start a medical career

How You Serve Counts

The educational assistance and other perks offered by the Department of Defense to military doctors, dentists, nurses, and other professionals depends greatly on whether the applicant is serving as a member of the Guard, Reserve, or Active Duty.

Your choices may also depend on the branch of service as well as whether you are an enlisted member or an officer–for example, the Army offers currently serving enlisted soldiers the opportunity to cross-train into Nursing via the U.S. Army Health Care Enlisted Commissioning Program.

All military doctors are officers. Technicians such as physicians’ assistants, lab workers, x-ray techs, and others are enlisted. Basically the so-called blue collar jobs in any hospital would be filled by enlisted service members; jobs that require medical training such as for surgery, psychiatry, and other highly technical medical operations are staffed by officers.

Some programs offered to active duty troops are not available to members of the Guard and Reserve, and some options for part-time military service may not include paying for medical school courses in the same way as for those with an active duty service commitment.

Do You Have A Medical Degree Already?

Some incentives are offered to those who are considering or just starting a medical school program, others are offered to those who have already completed medical degrees. Consider what the Army official site says about this issue, offering separate gateways on the official site for prospective students and for current students:

“The U.S. Army offers future health care professionals the chance to complete a bachelor’s degree with less debt” and with “more advanced training.”

A similar offer states, “U.S. Army health care team offers future health care professionals the chance to finish their graduate medical education” with the same offers of “less debt and more advanced training.” But the options and outcomes will vary depending on your status, the program, and other variables.

How To Research Getting The Military To Pay For Medical School

Are you a potential recruit and not currently obligated to serve? Whether or not you have been accepted into a medical or pre-med program, it’s best to talk to a recruiter about your options. But don’t stop there.

If you have not been accepted into a program yet, your options are more open–you theoretically have the ability to look at different schools and different programs across the United States rather than being limited in your choices at home or in your current city. It is a very good idea to shop around for a program. That said, not all schools may participate in these programs–you’ll need to check about the following details:

  • The school you choose has a medical program acceptable to the branch of military service you wish to join
  • The school where you wish to attend has an ROTC program or there is another way for you to fulfill certain service obligations (dependent on the program you choose)
  • You must make sure you qualify for both the school and the military commitment you make for the program

Military Medicine Programs You Should Know About

What follows should not be considered a comprehensive list of military programs that can help pay for medical school. These are examples of programs that have been offered by the various branches of service as an incentive for recruits to explore a career in medicine.

The terms, conditions, service obligations, and repayment issues are all subject to change at any time due to legislation, mission requirements, and other variables. It’s also critical to know that until you get or make a commitment in writing, no offers are set in stone. If you haven’t signed a legally binding agreement, your options are subject to change depending on circumstances.

Army Medical School Financial Aid Programs

The F. Edward Hébert Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship offers a full tuition scholarship for medical school (graduate-level healthcare degrees) plus a $20,000 signing bonus (which is applicable at press time–these amounts are always subject to change and you should ask a recruiter about the current status of this programs, bonuses, etc.).

You can use this scholarship in the following types of programs in the United States or Puerto Rico:

  • “Any accredited” medical or dental program
  • Any accredited veterinary program
  • Accredited psychology programs
  • Accredited optometry programs

An Army Medical And Dental School Stipend Program offers qualifying students a monthly stipend (over two thousand dollars in FY 2020, payment rates are subject to change) with one of the qualifying criteria being that the student is already in a medical program.

Air Force Medical School Programs

The Air Force offers the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP)–similar to a Navy program with the same name–intended for healthcare professionals and featuring up to two-year scholarships “for Allied Health specialties” including pharmacists, optometrists, clinical psychologists and public health officers.

There are longer options (two- and three-year scholarships) for specialties for those in the “nurse corps.” Three and four-year options are available for qualifying troops studying in medical and dental programs. The requirements for these scholarships include serving one year of active duty Air Force commitment for each year the scholarship benefits are received.

A second option, called the Air Force Financial Assistance Program is offered for those who are in residency. “You will receive more than $45,000 for every year you participate in the program and receive a stipend of over $2,000 a month to cover living expenses,” according to the Air Force official site at the time of this writing. Upon completion of residency requirements, participants have “a one-year obligation for each year of participation, plus one extra year.”

Navy and Marine Corps Medical School Programs

A search for Marine Corps-specific medical school programs may frustrate some users; the Marines have not participated in the types of medical school programs (including student loan forgiveness and other programs designed to help those currently studying or soon to be studying medicine). However, the Navy has participated in the past including programs such as the Navy Health Professions Scholarship program featuring:

  • 100% tuition coverage during medical school for qualified applicants
  • Monthly stipends for living expenses (for 48 months)
  • Significant signing bonus
  • Reimbursement for books, supplies, insurance, etc.

Another program known as the Navy Health Services Collegiate Program offers assistance up to roughly $250 thousand for qualifying applicants that includes:

  • Monthly military pay
  • Housing allowance
  • Health-care benefits package

These programs may require you to speak to a Navy Medical recruiter, not a “regular” recruiter. When calling your local recruiting office, be sure to mention that you need to speak to a medical recruiter about student loan incentive programs.

Guard and Reserve Programs

The Health Care Professional Loan Repayment Program may be eligible to apply for student loan repayment assistance (as much as $250,000 for “certain specialties”) in exchange for a seven-year service commitment with the Army Guard.

To qualify, Army National Guard officers must serve in the Selected Reserve. Other specialties including physician assistants, social workers and veterinarians “may qualify for loan repayments” but you may be required to contact a specialty recruiter assigned to your state.

A set of similar Air Guard options exist. The official site advises there are several Air National Guard programs “to assist health professionals interested in joining the Air Guard, including the Student Loan Repayment Program, a stipend program, and the Montgomery GI Bill.”

There are also options to earn Continuing Medical Education credit “for training courses offered by the Air Guard.”

Other options for members of the Guard and Reserve may include specialized training assistance (the STRAP program) for those “unconditionally accepted” into a medical program or residency that requires a full year of military service obligation for every six months of access to this program. “Your obligation begins immediately following completion of your residency,” according to the U.S. Army official site.

About The AuthorJoe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News

Filed Under: Education, Resources

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Should I join the military to pay for medical school?

I read an entry in the “The White Coat Investor” regarding the decision to join the military to pay for medical school.  It was an intriguing read.  If you are not aware of what I am talking about, it is the Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP).  The HPSP pays the medical student to attend medical school and train with a military residency in return for the medical student’s commitment to practice medicine in the military.  The benefits include a $20,000 sign on bonus received during the medical student’s first year of medical school in addition to paying the medical student’s medical school tuition, health insurance and monthly living stipend of more than $2,300 monthly (based on 2018-2019 information).  At IU School of Medicine, we have approximately 50 medical students who have opted for the HPSP, mostly Army and Navy.  The Air Force continues to be the more competitive branch.  Additionally, the Army and Navy have recruiting commands locally while the HPSP recruitment for the Air Force is in Dayton, OH.

Of course, as a financial aid professional, I believe in making students aware of opportunities such as the HPSP and if there is interest, I suggest they meet with a military recruiter to learn more about the opportunity.  I have found that military recruiters can be very good or very bad, depending on their background.  If they come from a medical corps background, they can be very informative and insightful on expectations; otherwise, they can be more of a used car salesman approach.  Fortunately, many of the recruiters I have had the pleasure of assisting, have been the former.

The White Coat Investor makes a great point, which I will repeat here: “I would never recommend someone join the military for the financial benefits.  The unique hassles of the military such as going through the military match, dealing with military bureaucracy and hospital rank structure, not having control over where you live, and potential deployments cannot be compensated for with money.  Only a true desire to serve your country and those who put their lives on the line for you and your loved ones each day can compensate you for that.  In the end, this decision should be made based on the prospective medical student’s desire to be in the military and not the financial ramifications.”

If money is the only motivator, is it worth the investment?  Well, let’s see.  If I add up the compensation while in medical school as a resident medical student, I come up with an approximate value of $260,000 or $360,000 for a non-resident student.  This is compared to borrowing these amounts as an investment and paying back the loans with interest at a ballpark of $458,945 or $560,000 respectively.  This is assuming it will take 10 years to pay back the amounts after a 4-year residency program.  So, it is easy to see where an HPSP would be worth its value financially during medical school.  Now, if you look at it from a career standpoint, then the position may change depending on what type of career you go into.  It is still a great deal financially while in residency since the resident income for an HPSP Resident is near $75,000 annually while the civilian residency salary is near $56,000.

The military physician makes approximately $150,000 per year while in their active duty service (this includes military housing allowances).  Based on a resident (versus non-resident) medical student, after four years of medical school, three years of residency, and four years of post-residency practice, the military physician has received benefits of approximately $1.125 million and the civilian physician has received benefits of $1.083 million (based on average civilian physician compensation), essentially a draw.  The balance is tilted in favor of the civilian route for a cheaper medical school, cheaper loans, a higher-paying specialty, or a more lucrative private partnership type position.  Conversely, the balance is tilted in favor of the military route for a more expensive medical school, a lower paying specialty, or prior military service.

University of Texas at Austin 2014 Commencement Address - Admiral William H. McRaven

The Military offers several entry points for physicians and aspiring physicians alike. At whatever stage you join, you will benefit from exclusive training, financial assistance and the unique experiences that come from working with the Military's exceptional patient population. Discover how the Military can help you achieve your goals.

About the Military Services

The U.S. Military has five Services: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. Each Service has an active-duty and Reserve component. Additionally, the Army and Air Force have Guard components that are controlled by state governments, unless they are called to serve during emergencies or support military objectives.

While all the Service branches need physicians, keep in mind that Navy physicians serve the Marine Corps as well as the Navy, and members of the Coast Guard rely on the Public Health Service instead of the Military. There are also some differences in the career paths available for different active-duty Services and different Reserve and Guard components.

  • Eligibility Requirements »

    Aspiring military physicians must distinguish themselves mentally and physically and always push themselves to be the best. Find out what it takes to be a military doctor.

  • Medical School Scholarships »

    The Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) offers two-, three- and four-year military scholarships for all students. It covers civilian medical school tuition and includes a monthly stipend and signing bonus.

  • Military Medical School »

    Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) looks for aspiring students with a passion for service. They are active-duty service members with their education paid for by the government, plus a salary and military benefits.

  • Medical Resident Program »

    For residents, the Financial Assistance Program (FAP) includes an annual grant of $45,000, a monthly stipend of over $2,000, reimbursement for required books, equipment and supplies and payment of any required tuition.

  • Part-Time Service Options for Students + Residents »

    Medical students and residents can gain invaluable experience and benefits by serving part time in the Reserve and Guard components of the Military. They can also participate in various stipend programs and trainings.

  • Licensed Physician Options »

    Licensed physicians can serve in the Military either full or part time and even receive a signing bonus. The Military provides the requisite tools to practice a specialty and spend time with patients without worrying about the overheads.

Nicole Solana performing an eye exam

Explore your options

Select the category that best fits you and see the opportunities the Military has to offer.

High School/College Student
Medical Student
Medical Resident
Licensed Physician

School marines medical

Get the Job

A Marine physician is actually a U.S. Navy (USN) doctor. Marines get their health care needs from Navy physicians, corpsmen and other healthcare providers. USN physicians practice in more than 30 specialty areas. Some of these naval specialty and practice setting opportunities are rare in civilian settings, like aerospace medicine, flight surgeon and undersea/diving medicine. You can enlist to join the Navy at any point during your studies and medical career from medical student, resident and even practicing physician.

While you're in high school...

Make sure you complete college preparatory courses. Check with your high school academic counselor to make sure you are taking the right combination of courses to fulfill these requirements.

Contact and meet with a Navy medical career recruiter to explore which education, career and financial options are available as you begin your college studies.

Decide whether you want to apply for admission to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. This is one route to becoming a Navy physician. You will receive your undergraduate degree and additional military training free in exchange for a Navy service commitment.

Consider joining the Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) at your college. The NROTC offers scholarships for undergraduate studies and additional military training in exchange for a service commitment following graduation.

During your undergraduate studies...

Take the following undergraduate courses regardless of your undergraduate field of study: one year each of biology, physics with lab, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, calculus and English. Most medical schools will require these courses for admission .

Take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT).

Apply to medical schools. You can attend a civilian medical school or the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Maryland (USUHS). The application processes are similar with additional requirements for physical fitness if you attend USUHS. If you are in the NROTC, you will have to apply with the Navy in addition to applying to medical schools.

Apply for Navy scholarships to help pay for a civilian medical school. There are two different Navy scholarships programs: the Health Professions Scholarship Program and the Health Services Collegiate Program. Each scholarship covers most, if not all, medical school expenses in exchange for military service following graduation.

If you have graduated medical school graduate...

Contact a Navy medical recruiter to discuss your enlistment options. You may have access to programs that will help pay for educational loans and your medical residency training in exchange for your service commitment.

Contact a Navy medical recruiter to discuss your enlistment options as a practicing physician. You can discuss service options and which financial or bonus programs are in force at the time of your enlistment.

Get healthy and maintain good physical condition. Make sure you're prepared for the physical fitness and health eligibility requirements to apply for a position as a Navy physician.


With the NROTC, you will not automatically be allowed to attend medical school through the Navy. If the Navy decides that your skills and talents are needed elsewhere, you may be re-assigned to a non-healthcare or non-physician position.

Army Medicine Career Opportunities

The medical field is generally not the first career people think about when serving the military.

However, it is one of the smartest choices you can make both for your military and civilian career.

A Marine doctor is a qualified medical professional that receives most (or all) of his or her training thanks to Uncle Sam.

Therefore, you can become a Marine doctor and let the federal government take care of most of the training and education expenses.

Furthermore, once you complete your time in the Marine Corps (USMC), military physicians are in high demand in the civilian world.

Learn how to become a Marine Corps doctor including the requirements for entry to the training program.

Related Article – How To Become A Navy SEAL Medic

What Does A Marine Corps Doctor Do?

marine doctors

A Marine doctor falls under the command of the United States Navy.

Consequently, Marine doctors technically fall under the U.S. Navy umbrella yet still serve predominantly in the USMC.

The United States Marine Corps relies on the Navy for its health care needs.

For this reason, physicians that wish to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps may practice in more than 30 specialties.

What is fantastic about the Navy / USMC medical program is that it offers several practice settings that are even rare in the civilian world.

For example, Navy doctors get to practice aerospace or undersea medicine while others focus as flight surgeons.

These are all high pressure situations yet will really allow you to stand out once it becomes time to move on from the U.S. Armed Forces.

Different Ways to Pursue a Medical Career

The Marine Corps / Navy medical program is extremely flexible in terms of when you wish to enlist.

For example, some recruits elect to join the Marine Corps while they are still taking college courses to become a physician.

Meanwhile, others enroll in the USMC as a resident or practicing physician that already has experience under their belt.

The advantages to enlisting early in the Marine Corps is that the military branch can cover most (if not all) of the educational expenses.

The U.S. Armed Forces is fond of financing educations for aspiring medical professionals through the GI Bill.

While becoming a Marine doctor is one of the most challenging pursuits in the military branch, it is well worth the endeavor.

It takes sacrifice and hard work yet there are very few careers that are as self-fulfilling and rewarding as the medical profession.

Related Article – 68 Series MOS: A List of Medical Field Jobs in the Army

USMC Doctor: Day-to-Day Duties

marine corps doctor poses for photograph

Marine Corps doctors serve under the umbrella of the United States Navy.

As a result, they are technically Navy physicians even if they primarily practice medicine in the USMC.

Marine / Navy physicians serve patients in very much the same way as the civilian world.

The U.S. Armed Forces can train you to become a medical professional with most of the expenses covered if you wish to join in that capacity.

A Marine doctor appreciates an accelerate career track where they can quickly ascend from education to training to real world experience.

Moreover, Marine doctors get to serve at some of the premier military medical facilities in the world.

Medical training in the military utilizes the latest technology and practices in medicine.

Furthermore, serving as a physician in the military enables you to assist in humanitarian and natural disaster relief efforts.

Nonetheless, the journey you wish to take is more in your hands than arguably any other profession in the military.

Some of the many highlights of becoming a Marine doctor include:

  • Receiving hands-on experience from day one.
  • Access to advanced training and technology (largely paid by military).
  • Flexible schedule albeit long hours in stressful setting.
  • Serving in some of the finest military medical institutions in the world.
  • Manageable doctor to patient ratios for high quality, one-on-one care.
  • Opportunity to earn terrific compensation and grow your career.

Becoming a physician in the military enables you to avoid many of the hassles of getting established first in the civilian world.

For example, Marine doctors do not need to worry about managing their own practice which includes complicated duties like handling a budget or making staff cuts.

Consequently, it’s a decent way to get into the business without having to find employment on your own after graduating from medical school.

Related Article – Military Medical Waiver Guide

Marine Doctor Requirements

marine physician

The qualifications needed to become a Marine doctor depend on the route you take to join the Marine Corps.

For starters, recruits have the ability to enlist in the USMC directly out of high school.

The first route makes it possible to enroll in college and complete medical school while you are still technically in the military.

The Navy Delayed Entry Program, Officer Candidate School (OCS), and Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) are 3 examples of how recruits train to become physicians while preparing for deployment.

On the other hand, doctors may enlist in the Marine Corps that already have experience in the civilian world.

Thus, there are several different routes to becoming a Marine doctor.

Basic Requirements

The basic requirements to serve in Navy Medical Corps include:

  • Being a citizen of the United States.
  • Between the ages of 21-64 (may be considered if 64+).
  • Willing to serve a minimum of 2 years (active-duty).
  • Graduate of an eligible medical school (AMA or AOA accreditation).
  • Acceptable physical condition and pass full medical evaluation.

These general qualifications are only an outline as selection varies on many factors including whether you are currently serving, have served before, or never served.

Furthermore, the qualifications also vary based on whether the physician prefers to serve Active-Duty or Reserve-Duty.

Those that already have experience in the medical field must have completed at least 1-year of graduate-level medical education.

Lastly, medical professionals must have a current state medical license within 1 year of joining the Navy Medical Corps.

High School Students

Are you interested in becoming a Marine doctor after graduating high school?

First, meet with a high school counselor to discuss the requirements and obligations of Navy Medical Corps.

It is important that you complete any college preparatory courses that will help you excel in college.

Secondly, schedule a visit with a local Navy recruiter to discuss the responsibilities and expectations of the medical program.

You may also find it helpful to reach out to college admissions to discuss financing options if the military branch is unable to cover education expenses.

If you have the grades, some high school students apply for the U.S. Navy Academy in Annapolis for consideration of its highly regarded medical program.

It basically covers the entire cost of a medical education yet the Naval Academy is one of the hardest schools to get into in the country.

The second option is to consider joining the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC).

Navy ROTC provides scholarships for undergraduate studies as well as for additional military training.

It’s a fantastic program that can potentially cover 100% of your studies yet you need to realize that strings are attached to the commitment.

College students must pay back tuition and other expenses if they fail to graduate or complete a service agreement following graduation.

High school graduates that are interested in getting their education and training for free should consider the following:

  • Navy Health Professions Scholarship Program: Covers tuition, monthly stipend, and $20,000 signing bonus.
  • Navy Health Services Collegiate Program: Includes monthly military salary, housing allowance, and health care. The average recipient earns between $157,000 – $269,000 over 4 years.

These 2 program enable students to choose the medical school of their preference.

Related Article – Army Combat Medic Specialist (MOS 68W): Career Details

College Students – Undergraduate

It is not uncommon for college students to change their minds halfway through their education.

For this reason, it is never late to switch directions and serve in the United States Marine Corps.

If you are already enrolled in college, make sure that you are taking courses and ideally thriving in:

  • Biology
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Calculus
  • English

These undergraduate courses are generally required for most medical schools.

Therefore, excelling in these subjects will present you with stronger consideration for the top med schools in the country.

College admissions should have more qualify information about what it takes to get accepted into med school.

The U.S. Armed Forces accepts graduates from both civilian medical schools as well as the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in Maryland.

Along with other commitments, make sure that you get the best possible score on the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT).

Finally, undergraduates in NROTC must apply for the U.S. Navy in addition to medical school to maintain military obligations while in school.

Medical School Students

Graduates of medical school have several other options for how they wish to join the Marine Corps / Navy.

It is recommended that you speak with a Navy recruiter to discuss your enlistment options for the medical profession based on education and prior experience.

Additionally, the military may provide repayment loans for education that you already completed or support medical residency training in exchange of a service commitment.

Those that earn a bachelor’s degree with a 3.2 GPA or higher qualify for the Enlisted to Medical Degree Preparatory Program.

The training program is very resourceful as you take prep classes to prepare for the MCAT.

Residents in the U.S. Navy qualify for the Financial Assistance Program.

The program offers a grant of $45,000 per year along with a monthly stipend to assist with up to 4 years of a medical residency.

Moreover, physicians that are already licensed when joining the U.S. Navy or Marine Corps receive additional compensation along with sign-on bonuses.

The one-time sign-on bonus is significant and usually entices Marine doctors with experience thanks to an extra $220,000 – $400,000.

Furthermore, the Navy Health Professions Loan Repayment Program can provide up to $120,000 to pay back money you borrowed for med school.

Lastly, members of NROTC do not automatically qualify for med school through the U.S. Navy.

In the event that you fail to qualify for med school, the military branch will still assign you to another non-healthcare or non-physician position.

Related Article – Military Medical Separation & Retirement

Marine Doctor Training

marines medical school

There is not a single, precise route to becoming a Marine doctor.

Instead, future physicians as well as current doctors have several different means to become a doctor in the U.S. military.

Becoming a Marine doctor is a smart investment in your future for a variety of reasons.

Here is the most traditional route to becoming a Marine doctor:

  1. Graduate from high school.
  2. Apply for college and complete your undergraduate degree.
  3. Consider joining the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC)
  4. Take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT).
  5. Apply for medical school (military financing available).
  6. Apply for the Navy Health Professions and Health Services college scholarships.
  7. Attend medical school and complete training for program.
  8. Graduate from med school and complete the service obligations of your military agreement.

While this is a long, challenging route to becoming a Marine doctor, it is worth the time and effort.

Officers in the Navy Medical Corps get to attend the medical school of their choice and generally graduate debt-free.

Furthermore, all the time and energy spent studying and training entitles new physicians to a $4000,000 sign-on bonus.

The benefits of Navy Medical Corps also includes a generous housing allowance and access to even more education or training opportunities.

Navy / Marine doctors have access to the most recent cutting-edge technology and training in the medical field.

Navy physicians are able to put the skills they attained to immediate use while they serve the country.

Marine Doctor Specialties

You can specialize in the following medical fields as part of the Navy Medical Corps*:

  • Aerospace Medicine
  • Anesthesiology
  • Cardiology
  • Dermatology
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Family Medicine
  • Geriatrics
  • Infectious Disease
  • Neurology
  • Nuclear Medicine
  • Obstetrics / Gynecology
  • Occupational Health
  • Pain Management
  • Pediatrics
  • Physical Therapy
  • Radiology
  • Sports Medicine
  • Undersea / Diving Medicine

Additionally, Marine doctors can prepare to become surgeons in the following fields:

  • Cardiothoracic
  • General Surgery
  • Neurosurgery
  • Orthopedics
  • Transfusion Medicine

*NOTE: Admission to these specialties in the Navy Medical Corps is not guaranteed. Admission to medical school is highly competitive.

Related Article – Army Preventive Medicine Specialist (MOS 68S): Career Details

Civilian Career Opportunities

medical careers in the marines

It is common for many physicians to get their start in a military branch.

The investment in your future is wise as you prepare for a rewarding yet challenging career.

It does take a lot of time and energy to become a Marine doctor yet is worth the extra trouble.

Most medical professionals in the military graduate from college debt-free which is difficult to do elsewhere.

Secondly, Navy / Marine doctors specialize in unique fields of medicine along with high pressure work environments.

You will not only get rewarded financially while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps but thereafter.

In fact, medical doctors in the military have one of the easiest transitions to the civilian world where their job skills remain in high demand.

Marine doctors often work at some of the most prestigious and herald military medical facilities in the world.

Consequently, they bring invaluable skills and life preparation to the operation table.

For this reason, you should not have a problem finding work after leaving the military, unlike some Navy ratings.

Related Article – Army Medical Logistics Specialist (MOS 68J): Career Details


First, most people desire to become physicians because it enables you to help save lives and improve the health of others.

While it is a long journey from high school graduation to the MCAT and completion of medical school – it is worth pursuing.

The Navy Medical Corps employs Marine doctors for the medical branch it also oversees.

As a result, you can get most (if not all) of your education and training paid for by the U.S. government if you elect to serve in the military thereafter.

It is a responsible and smart way to attain the job skills needed to serve in a very important (and financially rewarding) profession.

Even better, the job prospects are just as strong after your time in the military expires and you transition into civilian employment.

See Also

Does The National Guard Pay For College?

Military Tuition Assistance

Rob V.

Rob V.

Rob V. is the founder of While he never actually served in the US Military, he has a passion for writing about military related topics.

Born and raised in Woodbridge, NJ, he graduated from the New Jersey Institute Of Technology with an MBA in eCommerce.His hobbies include beach volleyball, target shooting, and lifting.

Rob is also a Commercially rated pilot and Certified Flight Instructor (CFI), with over 1,500 hours of flight time.

Rob V.

Latest posts by Rob V. (see all)

Marine Doctors

Marine Doctors

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Learn more about what it takes to become a Marine Corps doctor, including the requirements, training, civilian career opportunities, and more.

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