Today, more than 40,000 men and women serve in the Army Nurse Corps as nurses, medics, nursing assistants and in many other roles [source: Wiegel]. As an Army nurse you can serve as an Army Reserve nurse, an Army National Guard nurse or an active duty nurse.
Army Reserve nurses serve on a part-time basis as needed by the military. The rest of the time, you're free to pursue a civilian (non-military) career. Reserve nurses can earn up to $10,000 per year (critical care nurses can earn $12,500) for up to three years. Reserve nurses can also benefit from loan repayment and training programs [source: Go Army, Nurse Corps Benefits].
In the Army National Guard, you train one weekend each month and a full two-week period once each year (usually for an enlistment period of eight years). In the National Guard, you're paid for the time you spend training as well as for active duty. As a nurse through the National Guard, you can expect to make around $9,000 a year just starting out, but like any branch of the military, you can make more money as your rank and length of service increase. National Guard nurses can also benefit from tuition repayment.
Active duty nurses serve in full-time, year-round military service. Since Army nurses are officers, their pay grades are based on the officers' pay scale, which starts at around $30,000 per year and increases based on service and rank [source: Defense Finance and Accounting Service]. Plus, when you enlist for active duty, you'll receive a one-time signing bonus of between $20,000 and $30,000. There are also other financial benefits and incentives for active duty nurses, including loan repayment programs, low- or no-cost medical insurance, housing allowances, paid vacations and opportunities for continuing education.
There are many job opportunities available for Army Nurse Corps members through the U.S. Army Medical Department. Currently, 10 areas of concentration are available to Army nurses [source: Go Army, Nurse Corps Careers].
- Army public health nurse
- Certified registered nurse anesthetist
- Critical care nurse
- Emergency room nurse
- Family nurse practitioner
- Medical-surgical nurse
- OB/GYN nurse
- Perioperative nurse
- Psychiatric/mental health nurse
- Psychiatric nurse practitioner
Check out the next page for information about the Army Nurse Corps, its history, training and current job and educational opportunities.