Joining the Army Nurse Corps
The best way to join the Army Nurse Corps is to contact your local Army healthcare recruiter. He or she can tell you more about the program, help you figure out what requirements you need to meet and walk you through the process of signing up. If you're not sure who you should contact, visit www.goarmy.com to find your local recruiting office.
Since the Nurse Corps is a branch of the military, recruits need to meet some of the basic requirements for military service, including U.S. citizenship, the ability to pass a security clearance and passing a physical exam. You won't attend the Basic Training camp that enlisted soldiers do. Since Army nurses are officers, you'll instead be required to attend a Basic Officer Leader Course to acquaint you with military life. In addition, Army nurses must have a bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited school and must be between the ages of 21 and 42. Army nurse recruits are also expected to write a motivational statement explaining why they want to join the Army Nurse Corps as part of their application.
The Army doesn't provide nursing certification, but it will help you pay to get it. If you're headed to college for an undergraduate nursing degree and are thinking of joining the Army Nurse Corps, it's worthwhile to look into your school's Army ROTC (Reserve Officers' Training Corps) program. Army ROTC programs prepare you for a military career and equip you with the tools and training you'll need to serve as an officer in the military. In addition to mentoring and training, ROTC programs provide financial assistance for college tuition and have scholarships available for qualifying students. When you join the ROTC, you're committing to three years of active duty in the military (four years for certain scholarships) in return for financial help.
Even if you don't join the Army Nurse Corps through an Army ROTC program, the Army offers loan repayment opportunities to help you pay back any loans you may have taken out in order to pay for nursing school.
The Army offers many flexible options for military service -- both full time and part time -- and Army nurses can choose from several concentrations. In the next section, we'll take a look at some of the jobs Army nurses do.