Army Nurse Corps Staff Writers | Updated/Verified: Oct 25, 2023

The Mission of the Army Nurse Corps

"To provide responsive, innovative, and evidenced-based nursing care integrated on the Army Medical Team to enhance readiness, preserve life and function, and promote health and wellness for all those entrusted to our care."

Entry Level Requirements

Army Active Duty

  • BSN from an accredited nursing program
  • Completion of the Officer Basic Leadership course
  • Must be between the ages of 21 and 42 years
  • Must hold a current, valid, and unrestricted nursing license
  • Must be a U.S. Citizen

Army Reserve

  • Diploma, associate's, or bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited nursing program
  • Completion of the Officer Basic Leadership course
  • Must be between the ages of 21 and 42 years (waiver is available)
  • Must hold a current, valid, and unrestricted nursing license
  • Must be a permanent U.S. resident

Promotion Levels

  • Second Lieutenant
  • First Lieutenant
  • Captain
  • Major
  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • Colonel
  • Brigadier General
  • Major General
  • Lieutenant General
  • General
  • General of the Army

Work Environment

Nurses in the Army Nurse Corps can be found at any medical instillation in the military community, from managing hospital units as the Nurse Corps Officer to caring for service members and their families in the Intensive Care Unit to providing primary care services in the ambulatory setting as a Family Nurse Practitioner. Nurses serving as officers in the Nurse Corps experience exciting and rewarding careers with the Army.

Nurses in the Army can also expect to provide care in services at mobile Combat Support Hospitals (CSH) anywhere a military hospital is needed. These portable facilities, previously known as Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals (MASH) can be organized quickly to provide wards, operating rooms, and critical care units for injured military personnel. Nurses assigned to a CSH post may also be eligible for additional hazard pay, depending on the location of the unit.

Army Nurse Corps Jobs

  • Critical Care Nurse
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Perioperative Nurse
  • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Army Public Health Nurse
  • Certified Nurse Midwife
  • Emergency Room Nurse
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Medical-Surgical Nurse
  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • OB / GYN Nurse
  • Psychiatric/Behavioral Health Nurse
  • Nurse Corps Officer

Learn more at

Practical Nursing Specialist

For those interested in an entry-level nurse program and are able to score over 101 for Skilled Technical or 107 for General Technical on the ASVAB, the Army offers an in-depth training curriculum for this important enlisted role. This job requires 10 weeks of basic combat training and an additional 52 weeks of Advanced Individual Training to prepare the Practical Nurse Specialist to perform basic emergency nursing care, assist in patient care, and perform skills such as wound care.

Advantages of Joining the Army Corps Nursing

Officer Rank and Status

Army nurses who complete a bachelor's degree in nursing and pass the NCLEX-RN exam begin their career as Second Lieutenant. The salary for a commissioned officer is significantly (more than double) that of enlisted medical personnel and officers are promoted quicker than enlisted soldiers. Officers also have more career flexibility and opportunities for diverse experiences while serving their country. Finally, Army Nurse Corps officers, due to their license and their vast Army experiences, have a tremendous job market for transitioning to civilian life after their tour is complete.

Continuing Education and Clinical Specialization

The Army Nurse Corps strongly encourages nurses to enhance and improve their professional skills by offering a variety of post-graduate educational opportunities. Offered at no expense to the nurse officer, courses include specialization in oncology, intensive care, OR, infection prevention, clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, and executive nurse leadership. The Army Nurse Corps also offers opportunities to advance to an MSN or DNP while receiving tuition and paying for learning.

The Direct Accession Program for Anesthesia Nursing is a graduate program consisting of a year's instruction. The nurse receives full pay and free tuition when selected for this specialized program and agrees to serve in active status for 54 months.

Accession Bonus

Nurses in the Army Corps may be eligible for up to a $30,000 sign-on bonus in exchange for agreeing to serve on active duty for four years.

Active Duty Health Professions Loan Repayment

This program provides up to $120,000 (amount changes each year) for the repayment of educational loans. This is paid over a 3-year cycle to cover tuition, books, and related educational expenses in return for a three-year active duty service agreement.

Life in the Corps

Once accepted into the Army Nurse Corps, the commissioned nurse will attend the Basic Officer Leaders Course for two and a half months in Fort Sam Houston, TX. Through various stages of clinical and administrative assignments, nurses are groomed to become experts in patient care and personnel management.

The novel nurse is assigned to a preceptor, or experienced nurse, to facilitate the transition between new graduate and independent nursing practice. During the 6-month Clinical Nurse Transition Program, the new nurse gains expertise in clinical education but also absorbs the nuances of the military environment. Once the preceptorship is complete, the clinical staff nurse will typically spend time working in a general medical-surgical hospital ward to hone their clinical and time-management skills. By the end of the first year, the Army staff nurse will be given opportunities to be placed in leadership roles such as a charge nurse in a medical department. This is also the timeframe where nurses begin to specialize and may be selected for specialty schools and further educational opportunities.

Once a nurse has reached the rank of Captain, typically in three to four years of service, they are eligible for a position as head nurse. This role is responsible for the entire ward or clinical area including logistics, training, management, and fiduciary oversight. As the nurse earns increased rank based on skills and ability, more opportunities throughout the military and civilian overlap occur. A Major or Lieutenant Colonel are typically the nurses in charge of large medical centers. Those that attain the rank of Colonel are considered for hospital command positions through the Army.

The Army Nurse Corps prides itself on the knowledge, skill, and ability of the nurses under its purview. Advancement, education, pay, travel, vacation, health, and life insurance, and support to military families are some of the reasons why nurses join choose to serve in the Army Nurse Corps.


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