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 Army 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 Army's needs 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.
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.
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. All military-residency programs are approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.
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-one 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 healthcare facility as an active-duty physician, and you will be paid as a captain. Keep in mind that your time in a military residency will not count toward your service commitment, but will count toward your eventual promotion, pay longevity and retirement.
Civilian Residency Options
The Army may allow you to attend a civilian residency if there are not enough military slots available in the specialty you want and the Army 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 healthcare 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. However, it will not count towards active-duty retirement. 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).