The Interservice Physician Assistant Program (IPAP) is the Physician Assistant (PA) school for the Army, Navy, Air Force, National Guard, and Coast Guard branches of the military. Located in San Antonio, Texas on Fort Sam Houston, the IPAP works with an educational partnership through the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, NE.
Becoming a Physician Assistant is a very sought after career as many see healthcare opportunities increasing over the next few years. This along with the excellent compensation students receive while learning makes Interservice Physician Assistant Program a desirable location for many service members and civilians considering other options for obtaining their education.
Applicants to IPAP can be either non-commissioned officers or commissioned officers who attend the school full-time. For the Army, only active duty enlisted soldiers and officers may apply. For other branches, only enlisted soldiers are eligible. These students are then allowed to apply to become commissioned officers once their program is complete.
Get Paid to become a Physician Assistant
While they are going through IPAP, students are paid their normal salary and receive all health benefits. During the 2 years at IPAP, students receive approximately $160,000 in education through the armed services. In exchange for this education, students are required to serve four years in their branch of service once they graduate from IPAP.
Interservice Physician Assistant Program (IPAP) Admission Requirements
Requirements to apply for the Interservice Physician Assistant Program include having at least 60 hours of college credit, of which 30 must be in residence training. They must also have at least a 2.5 GPA, English credit of 6 hours, Humanities or Social Sciences credit of 6 hours, Chemistry credit of 6 hours, Anatomy credit of 6 hours, Physiology credit of 6 hours, Algebra credit of 6 hours, and Psychology credit of 6 hours.
SAT or ACT scores and complete transcripts for every college attended are also included in their application which is submitted through their branch of service. Military records and letters of recommendation are necessary along with an essay describing why the service member wants to become a Physician Assistant. Desirable candidates are then asked to interview with a current PA.
Every 4 months, the school welcomes 60 new students making entrance into the program very competitive. However, once students are in class, they find a very favorable faculty to student ratio with just one highly-qualified instructor per every 7 students. In addition to classroom teaching, faculty supervise in labs and also in care clinics where students gain hands on experience. During Phase II, or what is also referred to as the Clinical Phases of the school, PA students gain even more valuable experience going through rotations which include areas such as dermatology, neurology, allergy clinic, general surgery, radiology and gynecology.
Once the student graduates from Interservice Physician Assistant Program (IPAP) , they might find themselves working in a wide variety of settings within the military’s medical services. Many PAs work in hospitals or acute care centers alongside doctors while others might work within their units or divisions. As the primary source of medical information when a physician is not available, PAs fill very important roles through the medical communities. They may train medics, provide medical services, or prescribe treatment as necessary. Applying to the Interservice Physician Assistant Program through the armed forces may be an excellent option for many who want to become PAs without carrying loads of student debt.