Healthcare FAQ

How long is my obligation?

Obligations to the Air Force Reserve vary. Air Force Reserve health professional officers who have never previously served in the military can expect an eight-year military service obligation (MSO). The MSO can be fulfilled in the Selected Reserve (participating), Inactive Ready Reserve (non-participating), or active duty. This varies based on bonuses, stipends and any Tuition Assistance you might receive.

What type of job will I do?

Your job depends on the mission of the unit you're assigned to. The Air Force Reserve will assign you as close to home as possible, usually within commuting distance. In most cases, you will work in the specialty you've been trained in as a civilian, but you may be able to take advantage of unique military medicine training such as, Flight Surgery or Combat Casualty Care and perform duties in those areas.

What kind of training will I receive?

Many levels of training are available to Air Force Reservists. Training will be primarily focused on how to use your medical specialty in the Air Force Reserve environment. For example, if you're a medical-surgical nurse in a civilian hospital, you will be assigned similar duties in triage and emergency care as an Air Force Reserve nurse. You will enhance the knowledge of your specialty in a variety of different military environments. Your training will also depend on the needs of your particular unit.

What will be my rank?

All members entering one of the five Corps (Medical, Dental, Nursing, Biomedical Sciences, or Medical Service Corps) will enter the Air Force Reserve as commissioned officers. Rank is based on previous experience and education level.

Can I fly?

Although medical officers are not trained as pilots in the Air Force Reserve, there are opportunities for certain specialties to perform in-flight duties. These specialties include aerospace medicine physicians and flight nurses. All members of the Air Force Reserve, however, are entitled to use space-available travel on military aircraft within the United States and its territories.

Do I have to go to Basic Training?

No. Air Force Reserve medical officers are commissioned through the direct appointment program which means you do not have to attend Basic Training or Officer Candidate School. You will be required to attend commissioned officer training at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. This training is four weeks long. You must attend this course within 12 months of beginning your participation in the Air Force Reserve.

Will I be deployed?

All members of the Air Force Reserve are subject to meet the needs of national emergencies or wartime situations. Dependent upon the needs of the Air Force Reserve, deployment will be determined based on the mission requirements at that time.

Do I have to get my hair cut?

Air Force Reserve male medical officers are not required to have their heads shaved, but must wear their hair in accordance to the standards of the Air Force Reserve in length and thickness. Female officers are not required to get their hair cut, but hair must be groomed in a manner that does not exceed the standards of the Air Force Reserve.

Do I wear a uniform?

Yes, as a member of the Air Force Reserve, you will wear a uniform while on duty. Your uniform is based on the function you're providing on each duty day. Uniforms may include anything from the dress uniform to the battle dress uniform to scrubs in a surgical environment.

Do I have to buy my uniforms?

Yes. All officers are required to purchase their initial inventory of uniforms. A portion of that purchase will be reimbursed upon participation in your unit of assignment.

Am I going to work in a hospital?

Your work environment is predicated on the type of unit you're assigned to. Military medical facilities consist of hospitals, medical clinics (also known as field hospitals, field units, or staging units), and air transportable facilities.

What kind of medical care will I be giving?

Based on the type of job or specialty you're in as a civilian, you may be required to provide the same type of care in the Air Force Reserve. The care you give is also dependent upon the unit you're assigned to.

Can I go to the base when I'm not serving?

Yes, among many other benefits, you can use the Base Exchange and Commissary, base golf courses and other recreational facilities located on or near your base.