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  • Possible to go from Branch Officer to 65D Physician Assistant?

    Graduating next year with bachelors from FL and then will be getting a Masters for Physician Assistant (2 year program). I have wanted to serve for a while, but didn't want the moving around of Active Duty due to my family and then I was told about the National Guard.

    Is it possible to be commissioned in the Guard now and when I get my degree/credentials become an ARNG PA?

  • #2
    Re: Possible to go from Branch Officer to 65D Physician Assistant?

    Is it possible? Yes. Would I recommend it? Absoultely NOT! Currently (at the time the OP asked the question) you have 3 years of college completed. That's enough to attend OCS, but it would mean 1. Enlisting and attending BCT.
    2. Attending OCS
    3. Attending a basic branch BOLC. (ALL AMEDD commissions require a bachellor's degree which you wouldn't yet have attained)
    4. Go BACK to college to finish your Bachellor's (You've been busy with 9 or 10 months of active duty during steps 1-3)
    5. Graduate with BA/BS and attending a very demanding full time PA program. (Trouble is you are now a basic branched Platoon Leader with responsiblities)
    6. Graduate and pass your boards
    7. Deal with the hideously "tricky" packet work of a Direct AMEDD commissioning packet while you are Fedrec'd as a basic branch. Biggest trouble here is the Date of Rank rule. You only get 50% of your Time in Grade towards your AMEDD commission. Ostensibly you'd be a 1LT with 3 years of commissioned service. Suddenly you'd become a 2LT with 1.5 years of service.

    My advice, become a PA and commission afterwards and attend the 21day AMEDD PA BOLC.

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    • #3
      Re: Possible to go from Branch Officer to 65D Physician Assistant?

      Originally posted by Mongoose772 View Post
      My advice, become a PA and commission afterwards and attend the 21day AMEDD PA BOLC.
      This plan deserves consideration, although it means he can't use the Guard's tuition assistance to help defray PA school.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Possible to go from Branch Officer to 65D Physician Assistant?

        Originally posted by matthew.ritchie View Post
        This plan deserves consideration, although it means he can't use the Guard's tuition assistance to help defray PA school.
        True. But the OP should remember that the National Guard currently offers $20,000 per year for their loan repayment program (HPLRP) for up to three years to repay federal student loans.

        As you go or after the fact, the Guard has some great programs for enticing medical professionals.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Possible to go from Branch Officer to 65D Physician Assistant?

          Not an expert at all, but a buddy of mine is Enlisting later on in this year as an 91B, is pre-Nursing, and afterwards he'll be taking up Nursing School sometime next year for his RN. What was explained to him, was that the Army has their own medical tuition payment plans. For example, he's going to be getting $20,000 per year to cover his Nursing School, plus another $4,500 per year for all other expenses.

          You could always Enlist into an MOS that has a short AIT, get some time in the ranks, and attend school at the same time. In fact, there are a huge number of people who just enlisted simply to just go to school cheaply. UW and CWU both practically feel like almost everyone in those universities are enlisted in some kind of a reserve component of the military. My own community college feels like that, too. Last college class I took, I could have sworn almost everyone in it was Navy and Army Reserve.

          There are some MOSs that just have even 3 week AITs, like 13M etc. Definitely worth looking into, or the combat MOSs having 14 and 16 week OSUTs. Definitely worth looking at, too if you want the tuition bennies.

          Army and Navy Reserves also have some good programs for Nursing Students and PA students, too. I don't know what the Guard offers for loan repayments, but my friend had Recruiters from both AMEDD and Navy Healthcare come in from the Reserve components and told them PA and RN students can get as much as $80,000 in private, or federal loans dismissed by serving as AMEDD Officers. Even those going from Enlisted to AMEDD, or Navy Healthcare. Even those Enlisted in the Navy Reserve going Army AMEDD, or Army Reserve going Navy Healthcare is what they were telling them.
          Last edited by FutureEngineer; May 15th, 2012, 09:21 AM.

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          • #6
            Re: Possible to go from Branch Officer to 65D Physician Assistant?

            yesterday myself and my friend were sitting down with an Army Reserve AMEDD Recruiter, I asked this question thinking about you. She highly discouraged doing anything outside of AMEDD all together. Unless it's Enlisted Medical MOS, because of how drastically different AMEDD is from the rest of the Army. Her MOS is 65D, she was a 66C, before she got her Masters from MEDEX, and transfered from Nurse Corps to Medical Specialist Corps.

            Largest thing that sets AMEDD apart from other Officers and Enlisted is the nature of the work they do, and who they work with. Per the Recruiter, she highly discouraged doing anything outside of the medical field in both civilian, and military if you want AMEDD. AMEDD mirrors civilian medical institutions, she's worked with civilian, air force, navy, government, and other army nurses, doctors, PAs, psychologists, etc. etc. Per her, nothing in "Big Army" compares to AMEDD, and if anything will do more harm than good.

            Per the recruiter, she's served with other Nurses and even PAs who were previous basic branch officers, one RN being a previous transportation officer, had to much "big army mentality" per her words, and was a poor RN and bad fit for AMEDD, said Officer was put back into transportation despite having an BSN and RN Licensure. Another massive difference, is that AMEDD Officers are responsible for teaching individual skills and individual education for the Enlisted. Her job for the Battalion Surgeon, (still is on her drill weekends) is training Medics to perform medical procedures, making sure training NCOs are keeping updated/proper paperwork, and training the NCOs for their Paramedic Certifications. (Goal is training 68Ws to the point by E6 they can take and pass the NREMT-P) Branch Officers don't train lower enlisted in individual competencies, that's on the NCOs. vs AMEDD it's on the Officers with NCO's supporting/assisting in the training.

            Also, the PA makes orders as to what kind of procedures the Medics can perform, based on what they've trained them to do. Battalion Surgeon determines what kind of medications Medics can dispense, procedures to perform, etc. and the PA carries it out. On top of all of that, the PAs also perform medical treatments, etc. And unlike Branch Officers, the PAs, and Army Nurses location is irrelevant. They intermix with the Enlisted in medical settings.

            She also explained, that as a PA you will never be a Company Commander, even if you were a Colonel you would never be in command of any unit larger than a Platoon, because Medical Companies, Battalions, and Brigades can only be commanded by MDs. But as a PA as you gain rank, per her explanation, you would be assigned in support positions with the MDs, just like higher Rank Nurse Corps Officers. Such as Physicians First Assistant, Physicians Second Assistant, etc. just like in a civilian medical environment. If you want higher command authority you have to go MD route, or Nurse Corps route, with Nurse Corps Officers being able to rise as high as Director of Nursing, which is a Lieutenant Colonels billet, where you would be in charge of all Nurse Corps Officers and Enlisted connected to the Nursing Department of a military medical facility, VA Hospital, or other Government Hospital.

            One thing she did bring up though, is that another massive difference between AMEDD and big Army, is AMEDD Officers can be assigned to any medical facility that is government run. When she was AD as a Nurse Corps Officer, she spent more time in government psychiatric facilities handling everything from inmates at federal detention centers, to criminally insane, to mass PTSD government employees and servicemen who had to be institutionalized then she has in an Army Field Hospital, or any direct military medical facility. As a PA, she's spent more time in Government run clinics and hospitals than she has been with Medics, etc.

            Per her, going anything outside of AMEDD whether officer side or enlisted would be a very, very bad idea, and that it would cause more harm than good as far as mentality of how you do things and have things done. You can have civilians below you, beside you, or in charge of you, and any mix/match group of sister service medical personelle, as well. Per her, AMEDD is completely different from the rest of the Army as far as how things are ran, how they work, and how things are done.

            HOWEVER, she's never been in the Guard, so I have no idea if that will make any difference or not.But she highly discouraged doing any MOS or Officer FAs, even basic Branch Officer occupations if you plan to do anything in AMEDD.

            EDIT My friend was also planning to go 91B and then Nurse Corps, after speaking with the Recruiter, and me bringing it up, he's going to go Enlisted 68W if anything, if not, he'll be waiting for his RN and getting his Nurse Corps Commission.
            Last edited by FutureEngineer; May 16th, 2012, 07:29 PM.

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            • #7
              Re: Possible to go from Branch Officer to 65D Physician Assistant?

              Why can I no longer edit my above post? It sends me to a screen saying I don't have permission to do it?

              Anyways:

              Another thing she brought up regarding being an Army PA, which is something I never knew, is if you're in command of a Platoon of Medics, you assign which medic is dispursed to which company, and which platoon in that company they will go. and apparently you'll be dealing with "Big Army Mentality" when it comes to the Medics utilization. Your Medics will be answering to you, and not them. Which is pretty cool, and I had no idea about it until yesterday. Safety of the Medics, their equipment, that will all be your responsibility to make sure that Medic has a Rifle, ammunition, etc.

              She also said that as a PA, she's even gone on presence patrols with a Platoon of Infantry, because of the nature and area they were patrolling in. And oversaw several Medics to perform medical aide to the locals in the village. She said she's utilized every bit of her civilian education while in the Army. Just like she would at her old PA Job at Harborview. She made it clear there was no real difference in how she did things or how things were run.

              The Infantry pulling security made her feel the same as she did working at a Prison and dealing with inmates, armed guards all over the place waiting for something to happen. But I thought it was pretty cool to hear PAs have ultimately authority of the Medics in Infantry Companies, Cavalry Troops, Artillery Batteries, Military Police company's, etc.

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              • #8
                Re: Possible to go from Branch Officer to 65D Physician Assistant?

                The good news is, this was a dead thread when I submitted my initial response so only those of us that get a kick out of FE will actually read whatever that essay while on ecstasy was trying to say.

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                • #9
                  Re: Possible to go from Branch Officer to 65D Physician Assistant?

                  This guy will be the first officer to ever direct commission a LTC in SF.... >: )

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Possible to go from Branch Officer to 65D Physician Assistant?

                    If you have your final year of PA school, you won't have time to enlist or go to a commissioning source.

                    Focus on your professional education, get the max out of your clinical year, then apply for a direct commission.

                    I was enlisted when I went to PA school, and drill weekends were hard enough, trying to find time to do an alternate two week annual training was extremely difficult. Fortunately I made it through.

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