What if someone told you that you could work for the Army without having to enlist, suffer through boot camp, wear a uniform or be deployed—but you could still get well-paid and enjoy the best benefits? What’s that? You’re running right out to sign up?

That’s the reaction many people may have when they hear about the Army Medicine Civilian Corps of the United States Army Medical Command (MEDCOM). MEDCOM is part of the United States Army Medical Department and is staffed, along with military members, by health care professionals who are civilian federal employees. What’s more, the Army is actively looking for more of these civilian professionals.

Nearly 60 percent of MEDCOM’s employees are civilians, explains Joseph Harrison Jr., PhD, its chief of recruitment and retention. The Army needs them to care for its active-duty service people, their dependents and the retiree population and their dependents.

“That’s a large population group that still has to be served even though we’re fighting in this conflict,” Harrison says. “Civilian [health care workers] come in and help pick up that slack.”

These professionals include doctors, nurses, dieticians, licensed practical nurses, pharmacists and others. They reap employment benefits for their work, and those touched by wanderlust do enjoy travel opportunities.

“They may have a life-changing event, such as becoming empty nesters, or they might just want to go see Germany or Japan,” Harrison says. “So they can apply for a PCS—permanent change of station—if there’s an open position where they want to go and actually move to that location.”

What’s great about relocating in the civilian medical corps is that the Army pays for relocation expenses and provides additional incentives to keep their employees happy. “We call it our three Rs—retention, relocation and recruitment bonuses,” Harrison explains.

When Harrison solicits new applicants, he tells them to be prepared to negotiate terms with the military medical facility where they want to practice.

Of course, one of the first things people want to know is how much they will be paid. “Our pay rate is based on where you are,” Harrison says. “But in the beginning, I give them the broad range. Then I tell them to talk to folks about the relocation and the recruitment bonus. I want the applicants to know about everything that’s available to them.”

In particular, the Army Medicine Civilian Corps is anxious to hire family health care professionals. “Family practice—that’s a big one,” Harrison says. “Another one is behavioral health because we’ve been trying to change the stigma surrounding mental health issues.”

The kind of mental health issues Harrison references are not the extreme illnesses. “I’m not only talking about psychotic [conditions],” he explains. “We want to treat depression, anxiety, things like that—catch them early and get people into treatment.”

The kind of civilian behavioral health specialists the Army needs includes social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists, Harrison says. Then he hastens to add that the Army needs all kinds of health care personnel.

“I’m not trying to say we don’t need dentists or dentist assistants, endodontists [root canal specialists] or occupational and physical therapists,” Harrison says. “It’s all the clinical folks.”

Harrison enumerates two other main benefits: free training and money savings—participants don’t have to spend on malpractice insurance, supplies, staff or other associated costs of launching a private practice.

“With us, they don’t have to do any of that,” Harrison explains. “All they have to do is come in and see patients.”

Can’t wait to start work? First check out the Army Medicine Civilian Corps online, Harrison says, suggesting that you click on civilianmedicaljobs.com and view the short—but comprehensive—15-minute video there.

Harrison stresses the video because he feels that many people have a stereotypical view of the Army—and that causes them to recoil at the thought of associating themselves with the service. The video offers a different view. “There’s a very small population of people who actually serve in the military, which means the only thing people know about the service is what they see on TV or read in the news,” Harrison says. “The video gives you a very good broad perspective of what it’s like to be a civilian working for the Army.”

But besides the video, the website offers a load of information about the Army Medicine Civilian Corps; it explains what working in the military entails and lists the kinds of opportunities available there.

“You are actually employed by the U.S government,” Harrison says. “What comes with that is great teamwork and excellent staffing ratios.” And for those already working in the health care profession and who want to make a difference, Harrison points out an even bigger plus: “The main thing is it’s all about patients over profits.”