Navy NCP: Nurse Candidate Program (2024)

Last Updated on March 4, 2024

This guide provides useful information about the Navy’s Nurse Candidate Program, which is an excellent way for college students to become a Navy Nurse Corps Officer.

As a Navy Nurse, you will serve your nation by assisting not only those who serve in the Navy but also their families and others in need across the world.

You will serve the greater good — while also advancing your career.

Excellent scholarship options, such as this program, suggest you might graduate debt-free from nursing school.

This allows you to focus on your academics rather than on how you will pay for school.

You may expect substantial benefits, a balanced workload, and assured vacation time.

Intrigued yet? Let us start with the basics.

What is the Navy Nurse Candidate Program?

The Nurse Candidate School (NCP) provides financial aid to full-time students taking part in an authorized baccalaureate nursing program.

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Students must accept, if offered, a commission as a Nurse Corps (NC) officer, U.S. Navy, designator 2900, on the active-duty list upon completion of degree requirements.

The NCP pays a monthly stipend to full-time students enrolled in authorized Bachelor of Science Nursing programs that are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, Inc. (NLNAC).

Students can enroll after their sophomore year and get a $10,000 stipend (paid in two $5000 payments) plus $1000 each month for up to 24 months.

Benefits of the Navy Nurse Candidate Program

Once accepted into the Navy NCP, selectees will enjoy:

  • Receive a $10,000 accession bonus
    • $5,000 scholarship will be awarded upon admission to the school and enlistment in the Navy Reserve.
    • After six months in the program, $5,000 will be paid.
  • Receive a $1,000 monthly stipend for each month you are enrolled as a full-time student, up to a maximum of 24 months. After graduation, the stipend is no longer payable.

Important Note:

Participants in the NCP are not eligible for tuition reimbursement, reimbursement for books, fees, or equipment, or yearly training.

Following graduation from nursing school, selectees join the Navy Nurse Corps as an Officer.

Nurse Corps Officers enjoy:

  • Earning a competitive salary
  • Comprehensive medical and dental coverage
  • Regular promotions
  • 30 days of paid vacation each year
  • Additional technical and leadership training
  • Excellent retirement and educational benefits
  • Military fitness and recreational facilities worldwide
  • Low-cost travel opportunities
  • The ability to serve in a variety of locations
  • Fulfilling clinical practice and career
  • Opportunity to work with a supportive team of highly qualified professionals

Nurse Candidate Program Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to apply for the Navy Nurse Candidate Program, applicants must be American citizens, no older than 42 years of age, who are at least in their third year of an accredited nursing program.

The detailed eligibility requirements for NCP are listed below.

The program qualifications listed below are current as of April 2019, per the Navy Personnel Command. There have been no updates issued so far.


NCP applicants must be citizens of the United States.


NCP applicants must be under the age of 42 at the time of their initial appointment and commissioning.


Must fulfill pre-commissioning/ accession physical or medical criteria for officer candidates as specified in Chapter 15, Manual of the Medical Department.

With BUMED’s guidance, the Officer of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations may waive minor physical defects that are not organic in nature.

At the time of application and commissioning, the candidate must fulfill the physical fitness weight and percentage of body fat standards.

All applicants must be assignable globally.


NCP applicants must be enrolled full-time in or accepted for transfer to an accredited Bachelor of Science Nursing program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education that does not offer a Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) program or offers an NROTC program for which the student is ineligible.

They must have finished the second year of a bachelor’s degree in nursing program and have completed at least six months of academic work prior to graduation.

Applicants must earn a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

Selected students enroll in college full time and attend all regular school sessions for two semesters or three quarters.

Upon conclusion of each school term, unofficial transcripts must be sent to the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) Accessions Department by email to

If a selectee cannot give entire academic transcripts or if there is any proof of tampering, the selectee will be dropped from the NCP.

The BUMED Accessions Department will monitor educational progress to ensure successful completion of the program.

Candidates who do not adhere to school standards may be dismissed from the NCP by the Chief of Naval Personnel (CHNAVPERSCOM).

Within 24 months after enrollment, all baccalaureate degree requirements must be met.

Selectees must be enrolled in or accepted for transfer to an upper division college or university and have an approved degree completion plan in place prior to joining.

Participation in an optional co-op or work-study program will be denied if it results in a delay in the estimated graduation date.

Without prior approval from the BUMED Accessions Department, selectees may not extend their expected graduation date, discontinue studies, change majors, enroll in an exchange program, or transfer institutions.

Failure to gain prior approval might cause the student’s termination of enrollment.

Nursing Licensure

Nurse Corps Officers are required to obtain and maintain an unrestricted license to practice as a professional registered nurse from a state, territory, or the District of Columbia based on their performance on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

Appointment as an NC officer is not permitted before passing the NCLEX.

Any candidate who fails the licensing examination twice will be expelled from the program.

Candidates will be asked to acknowledge in writing prior to appointment that they are aware of license requirements.

Individuals are responsible for the cost of getting and maintaining a license to practice as a professional nurse.

It is therefore crucial that applicants prepare thoroughly for the NCLEX, as this is one of the few objective requirements that are in the applicant’s full control.

Here are the best NCLEX study resources that successful nurse candidates recommended:

Nurse Candidate Program Service Obligation

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Candidates who join the program during their fourth year of nursing school must commit to serve on active duty as a Navy Nurse for four years.

On the other hand, candidates who join the program during their third year of nursing school must commit to serve on active duty as a Navy Nurse for five years.

The candidate’s service obligation does not begin until he or she graduates, is commissioned, and goes on active duty. 

All Naval Officers have a service obligation of eight years.

The remaining years of obligation for Nurse Corps Officers may be served in the inactive Reserve Component.

Selected individuals will be asked to sign a formal agreement stating that they will:

  • Accept an appointment as ensign, Nurse Corps (NC), U.S. Navy (USN) on the active-duty list if offered after graduating from a college or institution that grants a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Selectees with prior commissioned service will be given entry-level credit under DoD Instruction 1312.03. Failure to accept an assignment in the NC, USN, on the active-duty list, if offered, will cause administrative dismissal from the naval service for misconduct. If a separation is authorized, the service categorization may be less than honorable. Candidates must realize that describing their service as “less than honorable” may limit their ability to seek employment with the federal or state governments.
  • Agree to serve on active duty for four years if enrolled in the NCP during the fourth year of their bachelor’s degree program, or five years if enrolled in the NCP during the third year of their program.
  • If an appointment is not offered, the full amount of any incentive or stipend will be refunded.
  • Refund the entire amount of any bonus or stipend earned if you are dropped from the NCP for any reason other than medical ineligibility (subject to paragraph 6 below). This includes:
  • Failure to finish the baccalaureate degree in nursing or withdrawal from the program
  • Failure to fulfill the required obligatory service, or
  • Failure to obtain or maintain professional registered nursing licensure in conformity with current Navy requirements.
  • Recoupment of previously paid contributions is unnecessary under the following conditions:
  • Removal from military service through operation of Department of Defense or Navy rules, other than separation for cause
  • Death or incapacity that is not the result of misbehavior or deliberate carelessness and is not the consequence of an illegal absence, or
  • In other situations, when the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) deems that recoupment is not in the government’s best interests.
  • If a medical disqualification occurs because of misbehavior or deliberate carelessness, or during an illegal absence, the entire amount of any incentive or stipend must be refunded.

What to Expect Upon Completion

So, what happens when you become successful with this program?

Below are some matters you can expect as you complete your nursing degree and prepare to become a Naval Officer.

Assignment Duty Preference Sheet

The Duty Preference Sheet is a document in which you specify your choices for your first active-duty assignment.

The BUMED Accessions Department will provide it to you through email six to seven months before your graduation.

The Duty Preference Sheet will be accompanied by instructions and information on how to complete it.

You must return the Duty Preference Sheet to the NCP Career Manager before the deadline.

Duty Assignment

NCP graduates are typically sent to one of the following duty stations as their initial assignment:

Nursing School Completion

All NCP participants must graduate with a GPA of 3.0 or better.

You must provide an official final transcript showing your BSN conferral to the NAVMED Accessions Registrar immediately after graduation.

Before being commissioned and receiving instructions for their first service assignment, all NCP members must pass the NCLEX.

You should take and pass your NCLEX within 45 days after graduating from your nursing education.

As soon as you receive your initial NCLEX results, you must notify the BUMED Accessions Department.

Failure to pass the NCLEX may lead to expulsion from the NCP and the Navy.

Navy Commissioning

NCP graduates are commissioned as an Ensign (ENS), USN by their local Navy Recruiting District.

NCP participants with past commissioned service may be commissioned at a higher rank based on current commissioning instructions.

Making a sworn vow to uphold and defend the United States Constitution is part of the commissioning process.

The signing of your Oath of Office grants you a commission as an officer in the United States Navy.

It must be signed before reporting to Officer Development School (ODS).

You will not be paid or receive benefits as an active-duty officer until you report to ODS.

Officer Development School

ODS is a program that teaches freshly commissioned Navy officers the fundamentals of Navy culture.

It develops future Navy officers who will support the fleet.

ODS is a five-week program that takes place in Newport, Rhode Island.

You will not be assigned to ODS until you have passed the NCLEX and have obtained your state nursing license.

The Personnel Section of the BUMED Accessions Department will submit your hard-copy service record and medical documents straight to ODS.

More Information

If you wish to learn more about the Navy Nurse Candidate Program, the next logical step is to contact your local medical officer recruiter.

They will provide you with all the details about this program.

The Navy also has programs for advanced nursing scholarship, namely:

Hope you find this useful as you plan your educational and professional career.

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