Navy Nurse Corps Officer Program (2024)

Last Updated on March 4, 2024

This guide provides information that will help you in your decision to become a Navy Nurse Corps Officer during Fiscal Year 2024.

A Navy Nurse Corps Officer is a Staff Corps Officer in the United States Navy. They deliver exceptional nursing care wherever it is needed, from Navy medical treatment facilities and ships to humanitarian relief operations all over the world. The designator code for Navy Nurse Corps Officer is 2900.

Now, let us go into the details.

What Does A Navy Nurse Do?

Working to improve the lives of those who serve as a Navy Nurse may dramatically improve your life—both professionally and personally. 

As a Navy Nurse Corps Officer, you will serve your nation by assisting not just those in the armed forces who protect it, but also their families and those in need all across the world. 

You will deliver high-quality nursing care to Sailors, Marines, and servicemembers — as well as their families – wherever duty calls. 

Doing everything a conventional nurse would do, such as taking vitals and healing wounds, as well as directing triage and coaching others, while collaborating with doctors, surgeons, cardiologists, and fellow nurses.

You will also have the ability to push yourself beyond your comfort zone. 

This might include participating in humanitarian relief activities or outreach projects both stateside and overseas.

Your experience will be unparalleled as well. You will acquire abilities that you can use everywhere. 

With specialty training and ongoing postgraduate education, you can keep the competitive edge that every nurse needs. 

When you return to civilian life, you can select from the greatest nursing employment opportunities as a competitive applicant.

Responsibilities of Nurse Corps Officers

As a Nurse Corps Officer, your responsibilities may include:

  • Provide general nursing care to Sailors, Marines, other service personnel, and their families in the best military nursing facilities on land, at ship, and in the field.
  • Collaborate with physicians, surgeons, cardiologists, and other experts to develop and implement treatment regimens.
  • Direct and train Hospital Corpsmen on how to offer great patient care.
  • Use cutting-edge medical innovations in world-class facilities.
  • Utilize some of the most modern technologies available, such as Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), which may lead to fewer paperwork and more exceptional patient care.
  • Assist with worldwide relief activities such as the distribution of vaccinations or the provision of emergency treatment to victims of natural disasters.

Navy Nurse Corps Duty Stations

As a Navy Nurse, you will have many options for duty stations. You can serve at any of more than 250 Navy and medical treatment facilities throughout the world, in some of the most dynamic environments conceivable – from Hawaii to Japan, Germany to Guam, and Washington, D.C. to Washington state.

You may work in one of the highly regarded Medical Centers in Bethesda, Maryland; Portsmouth, Virginia; or San Diego, California. 

Alternatively, you might give medical assistance to servicemembers aboard one of two hospital ships, the USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy.

More healthcare jobs are available both at home and overseas in a variety of situations, including onboard a surface ship, aviation squadron, or even the Fleet Marine Force.

Regardless of where you serve, you will contribute leadership and knowledge to your nation, the men and women who protect it, their families, and those in need.

Navy Nurse Specialties

The Navy Nurse Corps provides a diverse range of career choices, as well as the opportunity to develop and train junior team members.

Nurses can specialize in any of more than a dozen in-demand Navy Nurse jobs, including:

  • Critical Care
  • Medical/Surgical
  • Emergency Trauma
  • Perioperative
  • Maternal/Infant
  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • Neonatal Intensive Care
  • Nurse Midwife
  • Pediatrics
  • Public Health
  • Manpower System Analysis
  • Research
  • Psychiatric
  • Training Management
  • Education
  • Nurse Practitioner

Educational Opportunities

With extensive financial support and continuing education programs, the Navy can help reduce your financial responsibilities and develop your nursing profession no matter where you are in your career.

Scholarships, sign-on incentives, and loan repayment aid are examples of available options. And assistance may be available whether you are in graduate school or already in practice.

These excellent scholarship opportunities mean that you may be able to graduate from nursing school debt-free, and specialty training programs can provide you with a competitive advantage in your field.

If you are a student, you may focus on your education or training because you have no military or training obligations until your program is completed.

High School or College Students

If you are a high school or college student who wants to join the Navy full-time, you may apply for a nursing scholarship via the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC).

The NROTC scholarship program may pay the whole cost of your nursing education – up to $180,000 – at some of the greatest schools and institutions in the country.

Nursing School Students

If you are a nursing student who wants to serve full-time in the Navy, you may be eligible for up to $34,000 in tuition assistance through the Nurse Candidate Program (NCP).

NCP benefit includes a $10,000 initial award, plus a $1,000 monthly stipend for up to 24 months.

Please note that these grants may change annually.

Graduate Level Nursing Students

If you are a graduate student enrolled in a postgraduate nursing school in specific nursing specializations and choose to serve as a Reservist part-time, you may be eligible for a $2,088 monthly stipend while finishing your education program and up to $50,000 in nursing school loan repayment assistance.

Please note that these are based on service commitments.

Current Practicing Nurses

If you are a practicing nurse who wishes to serve as a Reservist part-time, you may be eligible for an instant, one-time sign-on incentive of up to $30,000. 

Depending on your specialization, you may be able to choose between a sign-on bonus, speciality pay, or nursing school loan repayment assistance.

Duty Under Instruction (Full-Time)

Officers may pursue a graduate degree on their own time using the tuition assistance program, or they may apply for Full Time Duty Under Instruction (DUINS). 

DUINS provides the option to attend full-time school at no personal expense while obtaining all benefits and salary comparable with the officer’s compensation.

Please note that these in-service scholarships are competitive and have an associated payback service commitment.

Navy Nurse Bonus

As a Navy Nurse Corps Officer, you may be eligible to receive some bonus pay incentives. Please note that this range of bonuses varies based on Fiscal Year budget constraints.

Sign-Up Bonus

You may be eligible to receive a $20K-$250K sign-up bonus if you opt to serve as an Active Duty Navy Nurse Corps Officer.

Retention Bonus (Critical Skills)

Nurses with critical wartime specialties may be eligible to receive a $8K-$60K annual retention bonus for extending your Naval service. This retention bonus is prorated monthly.

Does the Navy Need Nurses in 2024?

In Fiscal Year 2024, the answer to the question is a resounding yes. The Navy is an ever-evolving organization that needs skilled professionals in all areas of healthcare to meet its mission requirements. Nurses are an integral part of this mission and play a vital role in providing care and support both on land and sea.

Navy nurses form an important part of Navy medical teams and are increasingly relied upon for their expertise. The roles of nurses in the Navy continue to grow and expand, with new opportunities continually becoming available. From providing direct patient care to managing medical units, Navy Nurses are essential members of naval medical teams, making them a vital part of the Navy’s force structure and mission requirements.

How To Become A Navy Nurse Corps Officer

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To become a Navy Nurse Corps Officer, you must be an American citizen with a bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited college and a current nursing license from a US state or territory.

Navy Nurse Corps Requirements

Below are the basic eligibility requirements to become a Navy Nurse Corps Officer. Note that more specific specialties may require more credentials.

These requirements are current as of September 2023, per the Navy Personnel Command. No updates have been issued so far.

1) Citizenship

Navy Nurse Corps applicants must be United States citizens.

2) Age

Navy Nurse Corps applicants must be commissioned before their 42nd birthday. Waivers will be considered only on a case by case basis.

Age Waiver

A waiver may be approved in restricted numbers in circumstances when the candidate exceeds the statutory age for commissioning but otherwise has an extraordinary record or proven skill set required by the Navy. 

When evaluating age waiver requests, a heavy emphasis will be placed on undermanned specialities and those with a history of unmet recruiting targets. 

3) Education

  • A nursing baccalaureate or advanced nursing degree from a nursing school accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Applicants must have a minimum grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale. No waivers will be accepted.
  • Nurse Practitioners (NP), Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA), and Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) must hold a Master’s degree from a graduate educational program accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Educational Programs and have passed a professional specialty organization’s certification examination.
  • Foreign nursing school graduates with a Bachelors of Science in Nursing Degree from an institution outside the United States that is not authorized by the ACEN or CCNE are eligible for commissioning upon completion of a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Nursing from an ACEN or CCNE-accredited institution and demonstration of oral and writing English language fluency.

4) Physical

Navy Nurse physical requirements are in accordance with the Navy Medical Department Manual, Chapter 15, and as specified in Medical Standards for Appointment, Enlistment, or Induction in the Military Services, DoD Instruction 6130.03.

5) Work Experience

Active Duty: Applicants may be recently licensed baccalaureate degree graduates. Critical Care (1960) and Labor and Delivery (1920) require one year of full-time or two years of part-time direct patient care experience. All other specializations require a minimum of one year of direct patient care experience.

Reserves: The Medical-Surgical (1910) specialty requires a minimum of three months of direct patient care experience. For all other specialties, a one-year minimum of direct patient care experience is required.

6) Nursing License

  • Must hold a current, unrestricted license to practice as a registered professional nurse from a State, territory, or commonwealth of the United States or the District of Columbia, obtained after passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).
  • Applicants who have a registered professional nursing license from a Board of Nursing that does not require successful completion of the NCLEX must produce verification of NCLEX completion.
  • A policy exception may be requested, if necessary, to permit recent baccalaureate graduates who did not attend a Navy NC pipeline to be appointed prior to licensure and considered distributable inventory; however, they are required to immediately take the NCLEX in order to become registered professional nurses.

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

7) Specialized Certification

Nurse Practitioners, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, and Certified Nurse Midwives must obtain and maintain certification by a nationally recognized professional organization.

8) Entry Rank Credit

Prior to commissioning, entry-grade credit will be granted in accordance with Accession and Retention Policies, Programs, and Incentives for Military Health Professions Officers, DoD Instruction 6000.13 and Appointment of Regular and Reserve Officers in the Navy Nurse Corps, OPNAVINST 1120.7B.

9) Service Obligation

a. Active-duty commitment: Navy Nurse Corps selectees incur a 3-year active duty obligation beginning on the date of appointment. The remaining service time, up to a total of 8 years, may be served in a ready reserve condition. 

The receipt of special pay and bonuses, education obligations, and minimum activity tour requirements as a result of being admitted to the Navy as an active duty officer may result in an extension of this obligation term.

b. Reserve obligation: Nurse Corps Reserve selectees will be required to serve an 8-year ready reserve duty, with the first three years as a Selected Reserve. The duty takes effect upon commissioning.

The receipt of a special salary, bonus, or schooling obligation may cause this obligation term to be extended.

Who May Apply

  • All qualified civilians.
  • Enlisted personnel of any branch of the armed forces (active or reserve) who are granted authorization for a suitable conditional release. Prior Navy enlisted personnel, in addition to the most recent three years of evaluations, are required to submit a copy of their enlisted performance summary record.
  • Active and reserve commissioned personnel of any branch of the armed forces who do not meet the other eligibility requirements for inter-service transfer or superseding appointment may be granted contingent release (United States Navy/United States Navy Reserve only) or conditional release (other services only), subject to the approval of the member’s service component.


There are no waivers for serious misconduct, physical or psychological dependence on any drug (including alcohol), or illicit use of controlled substances (with the exception of marijuana for experimental or recreational purposes, lysergic acid diethylamide, or ecstasy).

No driving under the influence of alcohol-related offenses in the past five years. When an applicant surpasses the specified age for commissioning but possesses the Navy-required exceptional record or demonstrated skill set, a limited number of waivers may be granted.

Consideration will be given to age waiver requests for specialized positions that are understaffed or have a history of failing to meet recruitment targets. Applicants between the ages of 42 and 57 may submit a request and justification for a formal age waiver.

Applicants who meet the criteria for critical skills as identified by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs and are 58 years of age or older may be eligible for an exception to the age waiver policy provided they fulfill their three-year service requirement before their 68th birthday.

Navy Nurse Training

Nurses who are new to the Navy are expected to attend Officer Development School (ODS) in Newport, RI after commissioning. ODS is a five-week curriculum that will familiarize new nurses with Navy culture. 

ODS provides Staff Corps Officers and some Restricted Line designators with the training required to function as a freshly commissioned Naval Officer.

It offers a basic introduction to essential characteristics of leadership as well as a working grasp of naval orders and references.

Nurses who have been commissioned via a school NROTC program may not be required to attend ODS.

Navy Nurse Service Commitment

The initial service commitment for Navy Nurses might be as short as three years. It is determined by your specialty as well as a number of other things.

The remaining service, totaling eight years, may be served in a ready reserve condition.

The receipt of special pay and bonus, education obligation, and minimum activity tour requirement from joining the Navy as an active duty officer may cause the aforementioned obligation period to be extended.

There are several ways for you to commit to serving in America’s Navy.

  • Officers on active duty serve full-time. This enables you to make the most of potential career and leadership chances. Enjoy the most comprehensive set of advantages. And make the largest possible effect – all while fully immersing yourself in the world of travel and adventure.
  • Reserve Officers serve just part-time. This allows you to keep your civilian job while serving as little as two days per month and two weeks per year. With the possibility of further service and compensation. This allows for the flexibility of configuring variable drilling choices to better meet service requirements, while still receiving many of the same perks and benefits of full-time service.

More Information

If you want more information about becoming a Nurse Corps Officer, the next logical step is to contact a Naval Officer Recruiter.

Let us start figuring out how you can benefit from becoming a Navy Nurse – or if it is even the right career move for you.

More information is available about other closely related Navy Officer jobs, such as the:

Those who are currently serving as an enlisted Sailor or Marine, you may apply for the Navy Medical Enlisted Commissioning Program (MECP).

Hope you find this useful in your career planning.

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