Officer Training and Rank

Col. Jay Johannigman, a U.S. Army Reserve general surgeon, poses for a portrait while wearing a pair of binocular loupes during a promotional photo shoot for Army Reserve marketing and recruiting in a field hospital at Fort Hunter Liggett, California, July 18, 2018. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Master Sgt. Michel Sauret)

You’re not just training to be an Army healthcare professional, you’re training to be an officer. In fact, you’ll be commissioned as a military officer, whether or not you have completed medical school. You will immerse yourself in military culture, study the leadership skills required of all officers and participate in physical training. Check out the information below and learn more about officer training and rank.

Being an Officer

By serving as an officer in the Army, you will be a leader. You will be expected to support, manage and inspire not only officers but also enlisted servicemembers. The skills you learn in this position can be applied anywhere, whether you continue in the Army or move to a civilian career after completing your service obligation.

Commissioning + Rank

When you join the Army, you will be commissioned as an officer. If you join during medical school, either through the Health Services Scholarship Program (HPSP), the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences or the Medical and Dental Student Stipend Program (MDSSP), you will enter the Army as a second lieutenant. After graduation, you will advance to the rank of captain. If you join through the Financial Assistance Program, you will serve at the rank of at least captain.

If you enter as a licensed physician, your rank will typically begin at captain or major, but it may be higher depending on where you are in your career. When you apply to join the Army, a professional review board will evaluate your work experience and prior service, if any. Once your rank is determined, it must be approved by Congress or the Secretary of Defense. This process may take several months.

What to expect from your training

Army Medical Department members do not attend the same basic training required for enlisted service members. Since training can take between two and 10 weeks, it is preferable to complete officer training as soon as possible so that your training does not unnecessarily interrupt your medical studies or career, though the timing may depend on your situation.

Below you will find the name, length and location of officer training:

Basic Officer Leaders Course (BOLC)

  • 10–14 weeks for Active Duty
  • Two weeks for Reserve
  • Fort Sam Houston, Texas
  • More about BOLC

Classroom studies + physical training

Although officer training seems brief, the Army packs a lot of knowledge into a short amount of time. Expect to learn about the following subjects:

  • Military customs and courtesies
  • Information about the Army and its specific role in the military
  • Leadership skills, including how to work with enlisted service members

Field training exercises will complement what you learn in the classroom. Although your officer training may not be considered as strenuous as basic training, you should start physical training early. Most important, you must be within the height and weight standards, and you will be expected to pass a fitness test.

Have an Army healthcare career counselor contact you by completing the form below, or by calling or texting (702) 908-7463.