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Joining the Canadian Air Forces + Get Paid for Physics

  1. Feb 11, 2016 #1
    Hello everybody, this is my first post on here. I'd like to make my entrance by asking a question that's very important to me. I would like to ask what it's like to get your University PhD in Physics paid for by the Canadian Air Forces. I've been asking a lot of people, but I thought its time to use the internet to see if I can come across someone more knowledgeable on this subject. I love physics, but the financial times are rough. I also feel somewhat confident on serving for my country. I've gotten in touch with a Corporal in my city, and I'm listed for an Intelligence Operator. <--- is that a good addition to Physics? Or is there a better option I should go for. I want to get paid a good wage in the future after I've made it through a decade atleast.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 12, 2016 #2


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    Hi GadgetStrutter and welcome to PF!

    First, you probably want to get straight what it is you're signing up for. Do you mean the Canadian Armed Forces (which incorporate all service branches) or the Royal Canadian Air Force? Either way, rather than talking to a corporal, you probably want to talk to an official recruiter. Normally these are senior NCOs or officers. They can give you information on the current programs the armed forces offer to help pay for school and what commitment they require as a result.

    Generally speaking, if you want a "free" ride, you have to attend one of the Canadian military colleges such as RMC in Kingston. It's a regimented education, but RMC is a decent school. (I'm not sure if they are still other ones - I'm going by memory, and I was last in Canadian Armed Forces about 20 years ago.) I believe the required service following your education was for five years. In some cases you might be able to pursue a master's degree, but the thing with joining the military is that they will deploy you as needed.

    The other option is to sign up with a reserve unit. It's like having a part-time job - you go on courses or exercises over the summers and weekends, but in most cases you're free to attend school during the week. For a while I remember they had a fairly hefty signing bonus that was meant to attract students. With the reserves you have a little more say in whether or not you're deployed. When I was in, if you wanted to go anywhere, you had to volunteer and there was a six month waiting list - but that was in the 90s and Canada wasn't involved in any major conflicts at the time.

    Something else to keep in mind is that if you're interested in pursuing a PhD, you get paid to do that anyway. Undergraduate education you have to pay for, but in most cases graduate students in physics are supported by a combination of scholarships, stipends, and teaching assistanceships. It normally doesn't work out to a lot of money, but it's usually enough to keep you from going further into debt.
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