Education and Clinical Training Questions

This is a page with questions and answers about what education through the military is available to nursing students, and what incentives they can get to help with their education.

What kind of degree must I obtain?

All active duty Army Nurse Corps officers are graduates of an accredited Bachelor of Science in Nursing program and hold, at a minimum, the B.S.N. Once you graduate, you must have a full, unrestricted license from any of the fifty states or territories. Your registered nurse license is accepted in all military medical treatment facilities; however, understanding of particular states' nursing regulations is essential.

What type of scholarship is available, and how do I know if I qualify?

  • Be a U.S. citizen.
  • Be between ages seventeen and twenty-seven (must be thirty or younger when you graduate).
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Score a minimum of 920 on the SAT or 19 on the ACT.
  • Have a college GPA of at least 2.5 (must be competitive to progress within the School of Nursing program).
  • Meet physical standards (must pass the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT)).
  • Be medically qualified (must pass an Army physical).
  • Agree to accept a commission and serve in the Army on active duty or in a reserve component (U.S. Army Reserve or National Guard).

What is the Nurse Summer Training Program?

The Nurse Summer Training Program (NSTP) is a paid, three-week internship designed to introduce you to the Army Medical Department (AMEDD) and to the roles and responsibilities of an Army Nursing Corps officer. Under the supervision of an experienced Army Nursing Corps Officer in one of the Army's hospitals throughout the U.S. and Germany, you will obtain hands-on clinical experience that will allow you to hone your clinical skills, develop your problem-solving techniques, and become comfortable with developing your professional skills as a member of the U.S. Army Health Care Team.

What if I want to work in a clinical specialty?

The Army Nursing Corps has six clinical specialty training courses, in addition to the master's training programs offered through the Long Term Health Education and Training Program. These specialty courses are offered as twelve- to sixteen-week, fully funded courses in the following areas: intensive care, emergency, OB/GYN, psychiatrics, community health, and peri-operative care. Currently, Army Nurse Corps officers who have specialized and taken the national licensure exam in that specialty are eligible for an incentive specialty pay of $20,000/year for up to four years, equaling $80,000.

What if I want to get my master's degree?

The Army has a wonderful opportunity for those that wish to continue their educational training. Each year, Army nurses are selected to attend fully funded graduate training via the Long Term Health Education and Training Program. For 2010, seventy-one nurses were selected to attend either a master's or doctoral program. Each nurse will continue to receive their full salary and benefits even though their job is to be a full-time student. The Army will also pay your tuition in full.

How long is my orientation at the hospital?

A new program for Army nurses who are recent college graduates will help bridge the gap between their academic training and the demands of the clinical environment and prepare them for deployment. The six-month Clinical Nurse Transition Program began in October 2009 with more than one hundred newly commissioned second lieutenants performing residency at nine Army medical centers. The program is for new graduates with less than six months of acute care nursing experience. This transition program will focus on not only building nursing clinical skills, but will also focus on building leadership skills and Army-specific skills.

Our goal is to produce confident, competent medical-surgical nurses while continuing to build on our officer's Army skills. Our program is unique in that we aren't training to one section (such as just ER or ICU), but to create well-rounded nurses and officers that will be set on a path emphasizing lifelong learning and skill enhancement.

When will I become a charge nurse or head nurse?

As soon as you complete orientation, you will begin your training to learn the skills required as a charge nurse. Most Army nurses will be able to function at that level by about six months of training. The opportunity to become a clinical head nurse varies greatly from hospital to hospital throughout the Army, and there is no set time for gaining this position. You can become a head nurse in as early as three and as late as twelve years, but most hold the position at the five- to seven-year mark and last anywhere from one to three years in each position.