Navy Nurse Corps

Updated: April 20, 2021

Table of Contents

    If a career in nursing is your dream job, then why not combine your desire to provide high-quality health care and serve in the U.S. Navy. The U.S. Navy Nurse Corps is a team of more than 4,000 Active Duty and Reserve nurses serving in 17 different health care specialties. The Nurse Corps is always looking for motivated and talented nurses to fill the 200 slots that are accessed into the Navy every year. Sound interesting? We have answered that most-asked questions on the Navy Nurse Corps. Read on to find all about the exciting life of a U.S. Navy Nurse.

    Navy Nurse Corps What Is The Navy Nurse Corps?

    The U.S. Navy Nurse Corps is a team of talented military health professionals that provide care at Military Treatment Facilities, hospitals, on ships, and with Marines stateside and various overseas locations. Navy nurses also deploy to support combat operations, disaster relief efforts, and humanitarian assistance missions around the world. Nurses are recruited through Naval Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) programs, nursing schools at colleges and universities, and practicing nurses who want to join the U.S. Navy as a nurse. Once you are commissioned as a Naval Officer, you’ll find that promotion opportunities are regularly available. Promotions in the Navy are competitive and based on your performance.

    Where Will I Be Assigned As A Navy Nurse?

    Active Duty Navy Nurse

    As an active duty Nurse, you may serve at any one of more than 250 Navy and Martine medical facilities and surface ships around the world. You can travel to exotic locales from Hawaii and Japan to Germany and Guam, as well as stateside bases from the East Coast to the West Coast. You could also be part of the medical staff aboard one of two dedicated hospital ships: the USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy. Since the Navy provides medical support to the Marines, you could work closely with a nearby aircraft squadron, or even with the Fleet Marine Force.

    Naval Reserve Nurse

    As a Navy Reserve Sailor, you will serve part-time during your scheduled drilling and training cycles. During your monthly drill, you’ll serve at a medical facility close to home. During your annual training, you may serve worldwide. This assignment could be at sea, in a stateside hospital, or at bases or camps overseas.

    What Kind Of Work Will I Do As A Navy Nurse?

    As a Navy Nurse, you’ll provide high-quality nursing care in a variety of settings such as:

    • MTF’s and hospitals stateside and overseas,
    • overseas supporting humanitarian aid missions and combat operations, and
    • onboard aircraft carriers and hospital ships.

    Supporting humanitarian relief efforts, such as running infant vaccinations in high-risk populations overseas, or providing emergency care to victims of natural disasters, may involve nursing in a harsh environment. As a Navy Nurse, you’ll work closely with physicians, surgeons, and fellow nurses as colleagues and equals.

    What Kind Of Military Training Do I Have To Go Through To Join The Nurse Corps?

    Once you have been commissioned through one of the accession programs, you’ll attend Officer Development School (ODS) in Newport, Rhode Island. This five-week military indoctrination program provides you with a comprehensive introduction to the responsibilities of being a Naval Officer. You’ll learn about the history, traditions, and customs of the U.S. Navy. You’ll also be challenged through a leadership development program that will prepare you to be a future leader in the U.S. Navy. If you are a current or former Navy Officer, you won’t have to go through ODS again.

    What Funding Opportunities Are Available To Become A Navy Nurse?

    High School Students

    Through a Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) Nurse Option scholarship, you can receive the full cost (up to $180,000) of your nursing tuition. You won’t incur a military and training obligation until after you have completed your nursing program.

    Nursing Students

    Under the Nurse Candidate Program (NCP), you can get up to $34,000 to help pay for nursing school. The NCP provides an initial grant of $10,000, plus a stipend of $1,000 per month for up to 24 months.

    Practicing Nurses

    If you are a practicing nurse and want to join the Navy Nurse Corps, you can qualify for special offers. Depending on your specialty, you may qualify for one of the following:

    • an accession bonus (amount is based on agreed service obligation)
    • specialty pay

    Note: Contact your Navy Reserve Officer Recruiter for details.

    Do I Qualify To Join The Navy Nurse Corps?

    Basic qualifications for joining the Navy Nurse Corps are:

    • be a U.S. citizen currently practicing in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 41
    • serve a minimum of three years of active duty after commissioning
    • be in good physical condition and pass a complete medical exam
    • be a student or graduate in good standing of an education program granting a bachelor of science degree and accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
    • be licensed to practice in a U.S. state, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or a U.S. territory. If you are a new graduate of NROTC or NCP, you must obtain your license within one year of beginning active duty service

    Note: Qualifications may vary depending upon whether you want to serve on active duty or in the Naval Reserves, if you’re prior service, or are current serving in the U.S. military.


    About The AuthorJim spent 22 years on active duty, climbing the ranks from Airman Basic to a decorated Air Force Major. Stationed all over the world, he held many high-level posts, including Chief of Foreign Military Sales at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Jim earned his Ph.D. through the Montgomery Era GI Bill and spent 13 years teaching African Studies in Pennsylvania. Jim is also an award-winning travel writer.


    Related Articles
    The Naval Reserve Officers & Training Corps ROTC Scholarships
    United States Naval Academy Navy Education Benefits
    Civilian Jobs After Service As A Combat Medic The United States Medical Corps
    Written by MilitaryBenefits