The Interservice Physician Assistant Program (IPAP)

Hours and Location

Contact Us Hours
IPAP Phase 2 Program Director: (254) 553-2776
GME Office: (254) 286-7082
Monday – Friday: 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Address Email
Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center
36065 Santa Fe Ave
Fort Hood, Texas 76544
GME Coordinator


medical professional and two interns

Fort Hood is host to 8-12 Physician Assistant (PA) Phase II students that work and staff Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center and outlying Troop Medical Clinics. Fort Hood has been a training site for Physician Assistant students since the creation of the PA profession in the early 1970's. Phase II training lasts approximately 53 weeks. During that time, students rotate through a variety of clinics in order to gain clinical knowledge and experience. These include, but are not limited to: emergency department; podiatry; orthopedics; radiology; clinical laboratory; ear, nose and throat clinic; allergy clinic; general surgery; dermatology; neurology; urology; pediatrics; obstetrics and gynecology; family practice; ophthalmology; internal medicine clinic and psychology rotations.

Description of Duties

Army PAs plan, organize, perform, and supervise troop medical care at Levels I and II (unit and division level); they direct services, teach and train enlisted medics, perform as medical platoon leader or officer-in-charge in designated units. They function as special staff officers to commanders, providing professional advice on medically-related matters pertinent to unit readiness and unit mission. Army PAs participate in the delivery of health care to all categories of eligible beneficiaries; prescribe courses of treatment and medication when required, consistent with their capabilities and privileges. Specialty trained Army PAs provide care in orthopedics, emergency medicine, occupational health, cardiac perfusion, and aviation medicine. In the absence of a physician, the PA is the primary source of advice to determine the medical necessity, priority, and requirements for patient evacuation, and initial emergency care and stabilization. Army PAs function as the medical staff officer at battalion, brigade, division, corps, and higher headquarters, and in joint commands, advising the surgeon and the commander of the respective command on medical matters relative to PA practice.

medical professional with a microscope

Description of Duty Positions

Key leadership positions for Army PAs include:

  • Chief, Physician Assistant Section, AMSC
  • Physician Assistant Consultant, MACOM/MEDCOM
  • Director, Interservice Physician Assistant Training Program, AMEDDC&S
  • Physician Assistant Staff Officer, Joint Activities Operations
  • Physician Assistant Consultant/ Level I/II Care Consultant, Directorate of Combat Doctrine & Developments, AMEDDC&S
  • Program Director, Physician Assistant Specialty Training Programs, USAMEDCOM
  • Physician Assistant Career Planning Officer, HRC
  • Corps/Division Senior Physician Assistant.

About the Program

The Interservice Physician Assistant Program (IPAP) is located at the Academy of Health Sciences (AHS), Army Medical Department Center and School (AMEDD C & S) on Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas. The IPAP has an educational agreement with the University of Nebraska, Medical Center, Omaha, NE. The program mission is to educate and train physician assistants for the uniformed services (Army, Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard). The applicants are both non-commissioned officers and commissioned officers in the uniformed services. The students' only job is to attend school full time. They continue to receive their annual pay grade salary plus comprehensive health benefits. In return for this educational opportunity, students incur a four year service obligation upon successful completion of this program.

The program has Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and civilian faculty who are highly qualified for their teaching assignments. Didactic training classes begin every 4 months. Each class holds up to 80 students for a total of 320 students per year. The student-to-faculty ratio is 7 students per instructor, affording close supervision in labs and individual attention as indicated. The program curriculum is designed to build on recent education and develop clinical problem solving skills. Within the uniformed health services, faculty continue to interface with and, in some cases, provide care in clinics with graduates of IPAP. In addition to following the graduates for outcome data/feedback, faculty are very involved in teaching professional development and continuing medical education courses for trained physician assistant officers.

Selection Process

Only Active Duty Army enlisted and officers, Navy and Marine enlisted, Air Force enlisted and enlisted National Guard members are eligible to apply to this program.

An explanation of IPAP's mission is paramount in order to understand our unique selection process. Not only are students offered an opportunity to become Physician Assistants, students have the opportunity to earn a commission in the United States Armed Forces. Students do not pay an application fee, nor do they contribute any significant personal costs towards their education. The services invest approximately $160,000 per student during the two-year training period.

medical professional and intern viewing x-rays.

All applicants must meet IPAP requirements for admission. The IPAP academic prerequisites are:

  • 60 semester hours of college credit, 30 of which must be in residence training
  • Minimum 2.50 GPA on courses which are graded by numeric scale
  • 6 hours of English
  • 6 hours of Humanities/Social Sciences
  • 6 hours of Chemistry
  • 3 hours of Anatomy
  • 3 hours of Physiology
  • 3 hours of Algebra
  • 3 hours of Psychology

Applicants submit completed packages to their respective services for processing. Army applicants should visit United States Army Recruiting Command website.offsite link in new window The application package contains all of the usual items such as SAT scores and all college transcripts. In addition, a copy of all of the applicant's military performance reports, recommendation letters from a variety of individuals well known to the applicant (i.e. commanders, a physician and a physician assist), and a personal essay explaining "Why I want to be a PA", is included. The global location of our applicant pool precludes a personal interview with the IPAP admission committee. It has been found that a personal interview with a practicing military PA serves well to inform the admissions committee of the applicant's motivation and suitability.

Each service conducts a selection board choosing the most qualified applicants for admission into the IPAP and subsequent service as a commissioned officer. The selection boards are comprised of active duty officers and include current members of the IPAP faculty. The selection list, including alternates, is forwarded to the AMEDDC&S for review by the IPAP program director and representatives from the affiliate University. Pending the results of this review, the applicants are advised of their admission status to the IPAP.

The Clinical (Phase II) year experience is standardized throughout 20 clinical sites through a variety of mechanisms. Each Phase II site utilizes a uniform core curriculum, standardized course objectives, identical student evaluation metrics, standardized reading assignments, and employs one of two versions of the end of course written examinations. Clinical year students are required to critique each rotation. Each critique is reviewed by the Clinical coordinators and have been instrumental in change of supervisory personnel on at least one occasion.

Administrative Questions: (210) 221-8004, FAX (210) 221-8493, DSN 471-8004

Links to Additional Information

page last modified on: 11/19/2019

Privacy and Security Notice | External Link Disclaimer | This is a Department of Defense Computer System | Contact Us

36065 Santa Fe Avenue Fort Hood, Texas 76544-4752 | Phone: (254) 288-8000 | Today is Friday, May 29, 2020

This website contains official Government information