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How to Become A Military Nurse & Military Nurse Salary

If you would like an exciting and rewarding career that is often physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding, continue reading to learn how to become a military nurse.

These nurses can work full-time active duty or part-time in the reserves or guard. They hold the rank of officer and may join the United States Air Force, Army, or Navy.

Education and Other Requirements

The two ways to become a military nurse is through direct commission or a ROTC program.

Direct Commission Process

Military NurseIn order to receive a direct commission, you must first hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and obtain licensure as a registered nurse. The army reserves will accept nurses with an Associate of Science degree, but they have to earn a BSN by the time they receive a promotion to captain. If you wish to go through this process, you’ll need to decide if you want to serve in the air force, army, or navy and apply for a direct commission through a military healthcare recruiter for that branch. Along with having a degree and licensure, you also must:

  • Be a citizen of the United States
  • Meet the age requirement (differs by branch)
  • Meet height and weight requirements
  • Pass a physical
  • Pass a background check for security clearance
  • Have a relatively clean record (a few parking tickets are okay, but felonies are not)
  • Attend officers basic training

Reserve Officer Training Corps Commission Process

The ROTC helps with college tuition and pays you a small stipend during the time you are in school. While enrolled in the program, you will take courses in military history and leadership along with your nursing classes, as well as attend ROTC summer camp all four years you are in college. Once you earn your Bachelor in Science of Nursing degree, you will be commissioned into the military branch you enrolled in the ROTC through. But before commission can happen, you must:

  • Meet the age requirement. Generally, you can enter the ROTC between 18 – 26.
  • Meet height and weight requirements
  • Attend a four-year college or university that is part of a ROTC program
  • Be a citizen of the United States
  • Maintain a grade point average of 2.5 or higher
  • Have a clean criminal history
  • Pass a physical that is usually administered during the third year
  • Earn a registered nurses license

Job Duties

Military nurses are trained to perform the same duties as civilian registered nurses. They include:

  • Administering medication
  • Assisting with surgical procedures
  • Checking vital signs
  • Treating wounds

One of the duties they have that a civilian nurse does not, is setting up triage in times of war and battle.

Characteristics of a Military Nurse

  • Ability to multi-task at a fast pace
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Ability to work with minimal sleep
  • Ability to quickly make life saving decisions

Work Environment

Some military nurses work in military or veterans hospitals, while others are stationed on U.S Naval ships, or work in countries where the United States is engaged in military operations. The most intense environment for these nurses is in an active war zone where they provide immediate medical attention to soldiers wounded in battle.

Career Advancement

Nurses can advance their career during their service by earning a master’s degree to become a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, or nurse anesthetist.

Job Outlook and Salary

Men and women who wish to serve in the United States military as active duty nurses are in high demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, opportunities for qualified individuals in all branches should be excellent through 2018.

The average salary is $56,000, but there are perks such as signing bonuses. Salary is also dependent on if the nurse is active duty or in the reserves, how much experience they have, and their qualifications.

If you would like to learn more about this profession, please contact us.