Posted on Dec 11, 2020
PVT Healthcare Specialist (Combat Medic)
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I recently enlisted as an E-4 (active duty) since I have a college degree, for 68W. I ship out next month (Jan 4) but I was having second thoughts about commissioning as an officer instead. My recruiter really pushed for joining as enlisted rather than an officer, saying that I could always switch later by submitting a packet. But I feel like that sounds easier said than done based on things I've read about it. He did mention that I did have the scores for officer though. I also chose 68W since 68G wasn't available at all. (I am pursuing dentistry) I was also offered intelligence but I thought it would make more sense to do a 68 MOS.

A little info about me: I had to sign the contract as an E-1 because I couldn't get my official transcript copy due to money owed. Now that it has been taken care of, I will be going back to MEPS to update my rank. Also, my original plan was to apply for the HPSP once I apply (and get accepted) to dental school next year and either become an army dentist or civilian dentist, but decided to join the army earlier since the pandemic has made my gap year really difficult. I still plan to apply for the HPSP next year once I finish AIT.

GT 124 GM 115 EL 118 CL 125 MM 108 SC 121 CO 117 FA 118 OF 115 ST 120

Any honest advice?
Edited 3 mo ago
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Responses: 21
LtCol Robert Quinter
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Go for a commissioning program if you can get out of your enlistment contract. Why learn to lay brick if you're qualified to be an architect.
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LTC Program Manager
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Your recruiter has a vested interest in you enlisting. Enlisting isn't a bad path but if the path you want is to become an officer you should look into an officer producing program such as ROTC.
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SFC Senior Brigade Career Counselor
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When it comes to commissioning there are so many routes that it's easy to get confused with what you want. If you want to be a dentist, you would not go to OCS. OCS is for regular officers, or even medical officers who have their license. There is no OCS route for someone to become a officer in the medical field. Your recruiter was right that you could easily go to OCS after enlisting in order to become an officer, but that would immediately make you an officer, not send you to dental school. The Army has a lot of commissioning programs for the medical field, but unfortunately Dentistry is not one of them. If you wanted to be a doctor, PA, Nurse, Physical Therapist, social worker, or Psychologist, we have a program for that. But if you want to be a Dentist, or several other allied medicine careers like Optometrist, you will have to do that as a civilian. AMEDD recruiters will offer scholarships to help pay for these schools and as you know HSPS is a good choice as well.

As for your contract, 68W is an excellent jumping off MOS if you decide that you want to pursue one of the previously named fields that the Army does have a school for. 68G is patient admin, the Dental assistant MOS is 68E, but it's over strength most of the time so it's not a good choice. When you first enlist, that may not seem like a bug deal, but a few years later when you're watching your friends in other jobs move past you in the ranks, it becomes important.

Your best option is probably to use the first 3-6 years in active duty to establish yourself financially, research and plan. The USAR and National Guard offer very competitive tuition assistance for graduate degrees. Some states will even pay for two doctorates. You may find that the best choice is to join the NG or USAR under one of their commissioning programs once you're a little more financially stable.
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2LT Staff Nurse
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Another great post SFC Boyd. I’d just like to clarify one point. The Army does not have it’s own BSN producing school. It relies on the civilian sector to train its RNs. The Army does have LPN and APRN schools however. Why we skipped a level, I’m not sure. The only reason I can think is that the pipeline from civilian institutions has been sufficient.
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