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U.S. Naval Aerospace Medicine Physician Assistant (APA)

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Why become an Aviation Medicine PA (APA)?




Unique Training and Leadership Opportunities:

  1. Hands-on flight training alongside Naval Aviators
  2. Flight time in Navy aircraft (fixed and rotary wing)
  3. Aerospace medicine, physiology & survival training
  4. Directly responsible to line-side Commanding Officers for air wing medical readiness
  5. Line-side operational leadership opportunities not found in an MTF
  6. Earn qualification as MSC Aeromedical Officer (AMO)
  7. Earn qualification as Surface Warfare Medical Department Officer (SWMDO)
  8. High degree of clinical autonomy & medical decision-making
  9. Work closely with the tight-knit Naval Aviation and Aerospace Medicine Communities




Phase I - Aviation Pre-Flight Indoctrination (Naval Aviation Schools Command, Pensacola FL)

  • Six-week flight orientation and ground school
  • Academic topics – aerodynamics, meteorology, navigation, aircraft engine systems, flight rules and regulations
  • Survival instruction – aviation physiology, land survival, water survival

 Phase II - Flight training (NAS Whiting Field, NAS Pensacola)

  • Ten-week flight indoctrination syllabus
  • Fixed-wing Beechcraft T-6 Texan II, Bell Jet Ranger TH-57 helicopter
  • Emphasis on basic motor flight skills and exposing APA student to physiologic stressors and hazards of flight.
  • APA flight experience provides necessary insight to establish good rapport with squadron personnel

Phase III -  Academics (NAMI)

  • Nine-weeks of classroom training
  • Didactic instruction in, Aviation Medicine, Environmental Physiology, Operational Medicine, and Naval Aviation Safety


For a more detailed description of APA training program, visit NAMI’s “Prospective Flight Surgeon” web page:



  • Preventive medicine, primary care, contingency planning, medical evacuation and medical administrative duties, whether ashore or afloat
  • Promote aviation safety, decreasing the potential for aircraft accidents
  • Includes giving safety stand down lectures, squadron briefs regarding potential in-flight stressors, and participating in mishap investigations
  • Make regular visits to squadron spaces to assess squadron esprit de corps, and safety consciousness of aircrew (your are expected to spend approximately 50% of your time in clinic and 50% in squadron spaces or flying).
  • Routine clinic hours to meet primary and urgent healthcare needs of the air wing
  • Includes primary/urgent care, flight physicals, and treating health issues unique to the Naval Aviation community
  • Direct responsibility to line-side Commanding Officers for the general health and medical readiness of the air wing
  • Includes regular briefs to squadron COs regarding the overall health and wellness of their squadron
  • Working closely with the air wing Flight Surgeon(s) to coordinate patient care and ensure squadrons receive outstanding medical support
  • Additionally, the APA is expected to regularly fly with the squadron as aircrew to observe in-flight stressors and crew-coordination.
  • Depending on the aircraft, this may include time at the controls.


Physical Requirements

  •  Physical Conditioning – Must pass Naval Aviation Schools Command PRT prior to beginning API.
  • Cardiovascular endurance portion of test shall use the 1.5 mile run only (not swim, bike or elliptical)
  • Swimming:
    • Swim one mile wearing a flight suit (in less than 80 minutes)
    • Jump from a 15 foot tower then swim 25 yards underwater
    • Demonstrate proficiency in the side, back, breast and crawl strokes
    • Successfully complete the Helo Dunker multi-place underwater escape trainer
  • Physical requirements identical to those for student Naval Flight Surgeon.
  • In addition to PRT and Swimming:
    • Must be able to pass a Class II Navy Flight Physical


  • Minimum two-year tour with a Carrier Air Wing (CVW)
    • Includes both shore and sea time
    • Work from shore-based clinic when air wing/squadrons not deployed
    • Work from aircraft carrier medical department taking care of squadron/air wing personnel when deployed at sea
    • APA will work alongside Navy Flight Surgeons, Aeromedical Technicians, and Corpsmen as part of the CVW Aviation Medicine Department
  • Shore billet – as APA Program Director and clinical staff at NAMI (opportunity after completing fleet utilization tour)

Possible Billets:

  • CVW 2, 9, 11 or 17 (NAS Lemoore CA)
  • CVW 1, 3, 7, or 8 (NAS Oceana VA)
  • CVW 5 (NAF Atsugi Japan, MCAS Iwakuni Japan)
  • Naval Aerospace Medical Institute (Pensacola FL) - Requires completion of CVW tour as APA


Application and Information

For a more detailed description of APA training program, visit NAMI’s “Prospective Flight Surgeon” web page:
A separate page is under construction for APAs. However, APA flight training and didactics are identical to that of Navy Flight Surgeons.


Naval Aerospace Medical Institute
340 Hulse Road
Pensacola FL 32508


For more information please contact APA Program Director
Navy PAs, contact through your Assistant Specialty Leader

APA Brief: