Military medical facilities provide complete health care services, including specialty care for service members and their families. The military provides many benefits to medical staff including education benefits and training. All doctors in the military must complete medical school and enter the military as officers. In addition to basic pay that all officers receive, doctors earn additional pay and bonuses.
Military doctors receive basic pay based on their pay grade and time served. All doctors begin their career as officers at the O-1 pay grade. According to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, as of 2013, the starting pay at the O-1 pay grade is 2,876 per month. Officers receive pay increases for each promotion up to the O-10 pay grade and for years served. Officers at the O-10 pay grade earn between $15,913 and $19,566 per month.
Doctors also receive additional allowances. The Basic Allowance for Housing is based on rank and number of dependents. A doctor at the O-1 pay grade with no dependents is eligible to receive $660 per month. Officers at the O-10 pay grade with no dependents receive $1,481 per month. Basic Allowance for Housing for officers with dependents ranges from $881 to $1,822 per month. Officers may also qualify for Basic Allowance for Subsistence of $242 per month. This is a set allowance and is not based on rank, time in service or dependents.
Military doctors with at least eight years of service may qualify for a multi-year retention bonus for extending their commitment to the military. If a doctor agrees to complete four-additional years of service, he will earn a bonus up to $75,000 per year.
All doctors on active duty receive monthly variable special pay. Doctors with less than three years of service earn $100 per month. Variable special pay for doctors with more than three years of service ranges from $416 to $583 per month based on rank and time served. Additional special pay of $15,000 per year is offered to doctors who have completed their internship or residency and agree to serve an additional year on active duty.
Board Certification Pay
Military doctors who are board certified in a specialty area of medicine are eligible for board certified pay ranging from $20,000 to $36,000 based on the area of certification. As of 2013, doctors certified in cardiology earn an additional $36,000 and doctors certified in pediatrics earn an additional $20,000 per year. Doctors are eligible for this pay as soon as they become board certified and pay does not change based on rank or time in service.
Doctors who are deployed overseas are eligible for additional pay. All pay grades are eligible to receive a $250 family separation allowance. An additional $225 in hostile fire/imminent danger pay if the doctor is deployed to a location where he is in danger of physical harm due to terrorism, civil war or wartime conditions.
The military will also help doctors pay for medical school. Specific programs and benefits vary by service branch. The Army will help soldiers repay up to $120,000 of medical school debt under the Active Duty Health Professions Loan Repayment Program. If you join the Army before you complete medical school, you may qualify for the Health Professions Scholarship Program. This scholarship covers all of your tuition and offers a monthly stipend of $2,000. Soldiers who accept the scholarship must serve at least one year of active-duty service for each year they receive the scholarship. Students can also apply to the military's tuition-free Uniformed Services University School of Medicine. Students must commit to serving at least seven years of active duty after graduation.