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USN Biochemistry Career Path in the Navy - Questions from a PhD Student

Mike M.

New Member
I've been a lurker of this site for awhile and am just curious if anyone has any input/experience with biochemistry careers in the Navy. I will have my MS in Biochem in about a year or so and I want to have my next move planned before I graduate. I found some information on the Navy's website (https://www.navy.com/careers/biochemistry) but I want to see if anyone else has any experience with this career path.

A little bit about myself:
I am in a PhD program now (full tuition waiver and stipend) and if I stick it out another ~4 years I'll have my PhD in Biochemistry with my thesis focused within the field tissue engineering. I satisfy the GPA requirement, I will satisfy the co-authorship of a peer reviewed published article and have a solid background in research. I work extensively with stem cells, bacteriophage, DNA, etc. and am currently being trained on Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM). I also have some leadership/managerial experience. I'm in charge of and have trained new teaching assistants (26 of them this year) who are in charge of a total of 1,114 students. I'm 25, not married (but have a serious girlfriend), no kids and have managed to continue to hit the gym so I'm in decent shape. My overall goal is to eventually get a job with DARPA. DARPA runs the Service Chiefs Fellows Program (SCFP) specifically for military officers and government civilians. The reason I want to join the Navy is to be eligible for the SCFP program, travel, and to serve this great country that has afforded me with all the opportunity in the world.

I know that I could speak with a recruiter about this particular career path, but I want to consult this community first and get input before doing so. Plus, I'm not sure if a recruiter would be familiar with this and perhaps would not be able to provide me with answers to the questions that I have listed below.

Questions:
  1. If anyone has any experience with this, what would be my chances with an MS? The website (URL above) states that you need a PhD or MS, where PhD applicants have an advantage over the MS applicants.
  2. What is the work environment like?
  3. Who should I consult with regarding this career path for more information?
  4. What is your experience with being in the Navy? Would you join again?
  5. I do not want to work with anything remotely related to nuclear chemistry. Would I have control over deciding this or would this be decided for me?
  6. I am open to the Air Force as well, but have been told the Navy has much more opportunity in this field. Thoughts?
Again, I'm not sure how many people have experience with this, but any advice/input is greatly appreciated!
 

RecruitingGuru

Making Recruiting Great Again
This is an aviation-centric forum sprinkled with other OCS programs. Not so much for medical or medical service corps.

Read the medical service corps program authorization. Hint: you can easily google this.

I know you want to do some research before talking to a medical recruiter but because it’s such a small community your first exposure will likely be with a medical OR. Part of the application requires two professional interviews with officers in the respective field... this would be the best time to ask job specific questions.
 

Brett327

Well-Known Member
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
This career field is so niche, I seriously doubt that anyone here is going to have any good info for you. Hopefully, I’m wrong. Just helping manage your expectations. You might get your recruiter to connect you with someone in the field - maybe at Balboa or NRL.
 

RecruitingGuru

Making Recruiting Great Again
You might get your recruiter to connect you with someone in the field - maybe at Balboa or NRL.
This. Being that your medical recruiter is the one who coordinates the interviews they can likely hook you up with someone in that field if you want to know more before proceeding further.
 

Mike M.

New Member
Cool, thanks fellas. I really appreciate the info. I had a feeling that this wouldn't be the best place to post, but figured I would give it a shot just to see what info I could extract.
 

jmcquate

Well-Known Member
Contributor
There's also the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. They're not really Navy, but they wear Navy Uniforms.
 

squorch2

he will die without safety brief
pilot
To be totally honest, places like APL might be better fit for someone with a PhD who wants to work with the armed forces.
 

Pags

Pope of Chili Town
pilot
To be totally honest, places like APL might be better fit for someone with a PhD who wants to work with the armed forces.
Alternately look at civilian (GS) careers with the various services. Most of the more technical jobs are done by civilians at places like NRL, AFRL, DARPA, etc. So you could still work at DARPA, just as a civilian.
 

NavyOffRec

Well-Known Member
I've been a lurker of this site for awhile and am just curious if anyone has any input/experience with biochemistry careers in the Navy. I will have my MS in Biochem in about a year or so and I want to have my next move planned before I graduate. I found some information on the Navy's website (https://www.navy.com/careers/biochemistry) but I want to see if anyone else has any experience with this career path.

A little bit about myself:
I am in a PhD program now (full tuition waiver and stipend) and if I stick it out another ~4 years I'll have my PhD in Biochemistry with my thesis focused within the field tissue engineering. I satisfy the GPA requirement, I will satisfy the co-authorship of a peer reviewed published article and have a solid background in research. I work extensively with stem cells, bacteriophage, DNA, etc. and am currently being trained on Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM). I also have some leadership/managerial experience. I'm in charge of and have trained new teaching assistants (26 of them this year) who are in charge of a total of 1,114 students. I'm 25, not married (but have a serious girlfriend), no kids and have managed to continue to hit the gym so I'm in decent shape. My overall goal is to eventually get a job with DARPA. DARPA runs the Service Chiefs Fellows Program (SCFP) specifically for military officers and government civilians. The reason I want to join the Navy is to be eligible for the SCFP program, travel, and to serve this great country that has afforded me with all the opportunity in the world.

I know that I could speak with a recruiter about this particular career path, but I want to consult this community first and get input before doing so. Plus, I'm not sure if a recruiter would be familiar with this and perhaps would not be able to provide me with answers to the questions that I have listed below.

Questions:
  1. If anyone has any experience with this, what would be my chances with an MS? The website (URL above) states that you need a PhD or MS, where PhD applicants have an advantage over the MS applicants.
  2. What is the work environment like?
  3. Who should I consult with regarding this career path for more information?
  4. What is your experience with being in the Navy? Would you join again?
  5. I do not want to work with anything remotely related to nuclear chemistry. Would I have control over deciding this or would this be decided for me?
  6. I am open to the Air Force as well, but have been told the Navy has much more opportunity in this field. Thoughts?
Again, I'm not sure how many people have experience with this, but any advice/input is greatly appreciated!
I would reach out to a medical programs officer, there are many small designators inside the medical field that fit what you are going to get your PhD in. The example I can give you is we had a person with a degree in either Biology or Biochemistry who went into a small research designator and ended up of all things getting orders to a small joint command research facility in South America.
 

nittany03

FUBIJAR
pilot
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
To be totally honest, places like APL might be better fit for someone with a PhD who wants to work with the armed forces.
That depends on what "someone's" PhD is in . . . Biochemistry != CS or EE.
 

Flash

SEVAL/ECMO
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
The Army might be a better fit for a specialized area like that, they do the bulk of medical research in that area when it comes to the Armed Services while the USPHS is also another option as jmcquate mentioned.
 

NavyOffRec

Well-Known Member
The Army might be a better fit for a specialized area like that, they do the bulk of medical research in that area when it comes to the Armed Services while the USPHS is also another option as jmcquate mentioned.
The USN has spots for a person with a degree, often because it isn't well known there aren't candidates, the USN was willing to waiver a host of things for the PhD medical person we had. I believe they were commissioned as an O-3 as well.

For the OP here is the PA

https://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/officer/communitymanagers/Documents/PA-115_MSC_Active_and_Reserve_Aug-2019.pdf
 

Flash

SEVAL/ECMO
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
The USN has spots for a person with a degree, often because it isn't well known there aren't candidates, the USN was willing to waiver a host of things for the PhD medical person we had. I believe they were commissioned as an O-3 as well.
Good to know, having worked peripherally with medical research folks for a few things it seemed the vast majority were Army so it is nice to know the Navy has a little skin in the game too.
 
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