United States Air Force Academy

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Thinking about a medical career?

Health Professions Advisory Committee (HPAC)

The U.S. Air Force Academy has sent cadets directly to medical school since 1962. In 1997, dental and nursing schools became available for cadets. For over a decade, the Health Professions Advisory Committee (HPAC) has overseen the application process of cadets into military health career fields.

Yes! We can send graduates directly into professional schools for medical, dental, nursing, physician assistance, physical therapy and clinical psychology training. We also can send graduates directly into the bioenvironmental engineering and hospital administration career fields.


There are four specialties in the Biomedical Sciences Corps routinely available to cadets:

  • Bioenvironmental Engineering (BEE)
  • Physician Assistant (PA), Master degree program
  • Physical Therapy (PT), Doctoral degree program
  • Clinical Psychology, Doctoral degree program
Bio-Environmental Engineering
Physician Assistant
(graduate school)
Physical Therapy
(graduate school)
Clinical Psychology
(graduate school)
Description of the career field Apply engineering and scientific knowledge in identifying and managing risks, including chemical, physical and biological stress factors, for health protection. Practice medicine under physician supervision, providing a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic services. Evaluate, treat, and prevent orthopedic, cardiopulmonary, and neurologic disorders. Evaluates, diagnoses, and treats psychological & neuropsychological disorders. Teaches, supervises, & directs clinical psychology & related mental health programs
Additional commitment Minimal 4.5 years
(Total of 9.5 years)
5 years
(Total of 10 years)
7 years
(Total of 12 years)
Number of slots 5
How to apply Coordinate your intent to apply with the USAFA Health Professions Advisor, because you must receive the Superintendent’s approval to apply, and the application process varies depending on the program. Briefly, the application will usually include a personal essay, transcript, and letters of recommendation. You will be also interviewed by a senior officer in the career field for which you are applying.
Relevant websites Physician Assistant Education Association
Army-Baylor Physical Therapy Program
Allied Health Careers Recruiting Website
Clinical Psychology Application (USUHS)

Air Force medical personnel


There are four medical specialties routinely available to cadets:

  • Physician, Doctoral degree program
  • Nurse, Master in Nursing program
  • Dentist, Doctoral degree program
  • Hospital Administrator [Medical Service Corps (MSC)]
(graduate school)
(graduate school)
(graduate school)
Hospital Administrator
Description of the career field Maintain comprehensive care for
families that includes preventive
medicine services, behavioral
health and community healthcare
lans, implements, and evaluates
nursing care for DoD
beneficiaries. Within scope of
practice, provides professional
nursing care, coordinates health
services in an interdisciplinary
and collaborative manner, acts as
patient advocate, and advances
desired health outcomes through
patient and family education.
Maintain the dental health of Airmen
and their families by supplementing
the Air Force dental specialists.
Examine, diagnose and treat diseases,
abnormalities, injuries and
dysfunctional disorders of the oral
Provide a wide array of skills to
the health services utilization
field encompassing: command,
administrative, logistics and
education functions supporting
the provision of healthcare.
Number of
18 3 2 4
4 years
(Total of 9 years)
3 years
(Total of 8 years)
4 years
(Total of 9 years)
How to apply Coordinate your intent to apply with the USAFA Health Professions Advisor, because you must receive the Superintendent’s approval to apply, and the application process varies depending on the program. Briefly, the application will usually include a personal essay, transcript, and letters of recommendation. You also may be interviewed by the program to which you are applying.
Air Force Healthcare Professionals
Frequently Asked Questions
  • I see the minimum GPA requirement. Is that number sufficient?

    For many of the careers, the minimum GPA requirement is NOT sufficient. Many of the careers have a much higher realistic GPA target to make you a competitive candidate. Shoot high!

  • What should I focus on as I start the hunt for a health profession slot?

    First and foremost, focus on maintaining good grades, especially in your science classes. Volunteer to help others in ways that you are passionate about. Be a leader within the squadron and score well on the standardized test. Come talk to the HPAC advisors and participate in the events. Also, find a mentor and shadow health professionals in a hospital or clinic.

  • Are there required classes?

    YES! And they vary greatly between the programs. Talk to an HPAC advisor and read the career specific FAQ for the career you are interested in.

  • Any other requirements?

    Yes. All cadets must be in good standing and not on any type of probation. In addition, the needs of the Air Force always take precedence and in no way is the Academy or the Air Force obligated to allow you apply. These guidelines, requirements, and allowances may change (and have changed in the past!).

    Some career fields have other requirements, such as volunteering/shadowing hours. See career specific FAQs.

  • I heard something about “flex” slots?

    We can send up to 6 additional cadets into any career field, with permission of that career field. So if we have a few extra cadets than number of slots, we may be able to allow them to apply.

  • What are the “hoops”?

    You will first need to gain the Superintendent’s approval before you are officially a candidate because you must be given permission to be released from the Line of the Air Force.

    Briefly, here is how the selection process works. In the spring of your 2° year, the HPAC will interview you and look at your GPA, MPA, and extra-curricular activities. Based on that information they’ll recommend “yea or nay” to the Superintendent. If approved, you may then start the process of applying to the professional school or the career field.

  • This opportunity sounds like a great deal, how do I get started?

    Contact your HPAC advisors. The HPAC director is Dr. Katherine Bates in the Department of Biology (719-333-6030), email katherine.bates@usafa.edu. Also, self-enroll in our Blackboard organization (HPAC_01) and check out http://www.airforce.com/healthcare.

Contact Us

Health Professions Advisory Committee

Director Dr. Katherine Bates, DFB
Advisors Lt Col Amy Carpenter, DFB