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IPAP application season open through Jan 2021

  • Published
  • By By Toni Whaley
  • Air Force’s Personnel Center Public Affairs

The Interservice Physician Assistant Program (IPAP) is accepting applications through January 22, 2021 from active duty enlisted and officer service members interested in caring for Airmen, Space professionals and their families.

IPAP is a 29-month, two phase program that includes 16 months of academics followed by 13 months of hands-on training at a military medical treatment facility.

“This unique multi-service opportunity is open to enlisted members and officers from any career field,” said Col. Melanie “MJ” Ellis, Physician Assistant Associate Corps chief. “We typically have more than 300 people start the application process. Of those, approximately 150-200 submit their applications, with 120-150 actually meeting the board to vie for only 42 seats. This is a highly competitive program seeking the best and most qualified applicants.”

“It is imperative for applicants to notify their chain of command, to include their career field manager, of their intent to apply for this program,” said Michelle Cardassi, Biomedical Sciences Corps education officer. “For officers we recommend that their entire leadership chain, up to the wing commander level, should be aware.”

Enlisted members in the grades of E-4 through E-8 as of Sept. 1, 2021 with a minimum of three years up to a maximum of 14 years of service as of Aug. 1, 2021 are eligible. Officers in the grades of O-1 through O-3 as of Sept. 1, 2021 with less than six years of service as of Aug. 1, 2021 can apply.

The program requires specific academic courses as prerequisites before applying. It is highly recommended that most of the applicant’s classes be completed within the last five years.  However, all mandatory math and science courses must be completed within the last ten years.

“IPAP is a very unique, accelerated program with a lot of volume,” said Capt. Kevin Graham, IPAP instructor and Air Force Phase II coordinator. “The academic requirements may seem intense, but they provide an assessment of an applicant’s ability to get through the program and provide world-class medical care to service members and families.”

One requirement essential to the application process is 80 hours of shadowing a physician assistant. Due to COVID-19 this can be challenging and a waiver must be requested if the applicant is unable to accomplish all 80 hours.

“The goal [of shadowing] for applicants is to understand the rigors of family medicine and the commitment you are about to make,” said Maj. Brandon Mondfrans, 42G Career Field operations officer. “For example, a PA could see a baby in one appointment then roll into caring for a 92-year-old veteran in the next. If a PA is unavailable locally, we recommend shadowing a physician or surgeon, who also follows the medical model PAs are educated in and practice under.”

For more information on the application process contact your local Education Service Office, the Knowledge Exchange (Kx) website at, or view the Interservice Physician Assistant Program FAQ webcast at


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