First, no one in my family including distant cousins have ever served in the military. That's why I'm posting my question here. I'm single with no kids. Im interested in joining/applying in the military (preferably Air Force given my current location) mostly because of the retirement benefits. I understand that I have to stay 20 years for that.
My questions are:
1/ given my masters degree, I have been told that I will enter as an officer. Do all officers have to do basic training? I had a patient who was a retired physician in the air force and he said he didn't have to do it. Maybe that has changed?
2/ He said that if I didn't want to do the basic training, I should consider being a civilian contractor but my coworker whose husband is in the air force said that contractors don't get similar military benefits. My current job only gives me 14 vacation and sick leaves combined. Next year it's 20. I felt so jubilant until my friend said that's the norm.
3/ what are the work hours like? What are the vacation and sick leaves like?
Air force recruiters are hard to find, and everyone I've spoken to has been a complete jerk.
Having said that, the application process is long. You will go to officer training. I believe COT is five weeks. Google that.
Regarding civilian employment, most docs and NPs don't get sick days. I get 160 hrs PTO to take when I want. Am leaving the private world optionally to go to VA. The salary drop is steep.
You get 30 hours leave on active duty, pay that you can Google, and possibly housing and subsistence allowance.
In the military you'll have very little control over when or where you work and guarantee you won't always be working in the US.
You'll be an officer first, nurse second.
I'm applying to be an army reserve NP myself and love the idea of it but my family doesn't. So it's reserves.
I understand that the benefits are low-hanging fruit, and that it's possible that you may have other reasons for wanting to join. However, based on what you're saying, I get the sense that you're going to be miserable in any military branch. That's based on my experience around people that join largely based on the benefits (such as loan repayment, healthcare, or pension). The military exacts too high a cost in many different ways to justify doing it just for those benefits.
30 days of vacation per year (with strings attached) and unlimited (but verification generally required) sick time.
Medical officers in the Air Force (including NPs and MDs) go to an abbreviated officer basic training called COT that's 5 weeks long.