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Ranked doctors in the Army are physicians who are also officers serving either on active duty or in the reserves. They differ from the physicians in the Army's civilian corps in two major ways. Civilian doctors are not members of the military. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management controls salaries for civilian doctors via the federal general schedule, while the Department of Defense publishes the pay tables for ranked doctors. Ranked doctors must qualify as physicians and they must qualify to join the Army.
General Qualifications for Army Officers
The Army requires all officers to be U.S. citizens and to hold at least a bachelor's degree. They must pass a background check, and a felony conviction automatically disqualifies a candidate. Officers must pass a physical, which typically includes a drug screening.
Specific Qualifications for Ranked Doctors
Physicians must have a license to practice medicine in their home state and be at least 21 years old. The maximum age is typically 42, but older candidates may be eligible for a waiver. In some specialties, such as psychiatry, the Army will accept candidates between the ages of 43 and 60 for two-year commitments. Physicians must be board-certified in their specialty or be eligible to obtain certification. The Army recruits physicians with numerous specialties, including anesthesiology, family practice, internal medicine, neurology, pediatrics, radiology and urology.
What Ranked Doctors Do
As a ranked doctor in the Army, physicians see patients, diagnose conditions and provide treatments. Patients may be Army soldiers or their dependents. In emergencies or while deployed, Army doctors may treat civilians as part of a humanitarian relief program. Some physicians conduct research on conditions or diseases that are significant to the military. Physicians may work at stateside posts or at Army installations around the world.
What Ranked Doctors Earn -- Basic Pay
The Army pay table sets salaries for each rank, or pay grade, with increases occurring after specific service anniversaries. The lowest rank, second lieutenant, has a pay grade of O-1. As of 2013, second lieutenants started at $2,876.40 per month and earned $3,619.20 after three years of military service. A first lieutenant, or O-2, earned between $3,314.10 and $4,586.40. Captains have an O-3 pay grade, and in 2013, they earned from $3,835.50 to $6,240. An O-4, or major, earned between $4,362.30 and $7,283.70. Lieutenant colonels have an O-5 pay grade, and colonels are O-6s. Monthly basic pay in 2013 ranged between $5,055.90 and $8,589.90 for lieutenant colonels and from $6,064.80 to $10,736.70 for colonels.
Allowances and Bonuses for Ranked Doctors
In 2013, physicians received between $660.90 and $1,822.50 per month as a housing allowance to offset the cost of civilian quarters. Rank and family status determine the amount of the housing allowance. Officers received between $242.60 and $1,100 per month as a food, or subsistence, allowance. The amount of the subsistence allowance depends on the number of dependents. Monthly payments for board-certified physicians ranged between $208.33 and $500, depending on time in service. Ranked doctors were eligible for an annual bonus payment of $20,000 to $36,000, depending on their specialty.
- U.S. Army: Army Medicine -- Army Physicians
- U.S. Army: Army Medicine -- What is the Medical Corps?
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: How to Become a Member of the Armed Forces
- U.S. Army: Careers and Jobs -- Officer Frequently Asked Questions
- U.S. Army: Army Medicine -- Physician Careers and Jobs
- U.S. Army: Careers and Jobs -- Anesthesiologist (60N)
- U.S. Army: Careers and Jobs -- Psychiatrist (60W)
- U.S. Army: Careers and Jobs -- Occupational Medicine Officer (60D)
Jeffrey Joyner has had numerous articles published on the Internet covering a wide range of topics. He studied electrical engineering after a tour of duty in the military, then became a freelance computer programmer for several years before settling on a career as a writer.