ROTC provides an opportunity for college nursing students to receive practical hands-on leadership experience. The courses provide a chance for students to develop management, communication and decision-making skills in a non-threatening environment. Physical training and confidence-building activities (i.e. rappelling, obstacle courses) also provide a chance for students to be physically and mentally challenged.
Students who are interested in obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from PSU may enroll in ROTC. Students may enroll as a freshman, sophomore or as late as an entering college Junior. Upon completion of our program, Nursing students are commissioned as officers in the United States Army.
To read more about being an Army Nurse, click a topic below.
For any other questions, or for more information on becoming an Army Nurse that is not covered here, please use the “Contact Us” link at the top of the screen!
Who is an Army Nurse? How do I become an Army Nurse?
An Army Nurse is a Baccalaureate-prepared Registered Nurse who is an Army Officer. During their first assignment, they will work as a Clinical Staff Nurse in an Army Medical Treatment Facility (MTF).
To become an Army Nurse, you must:
- Attend a four-year, Baccalaureate degree Nursing Program accredited by the National League of Nursing (NLN) or Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
- Enroll in Army ROTC along with the Nursing Curriculum
- Successfully complete all courses to earn a degree and a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Army Nurse Corps
- Take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX)
- Make the most of your profession and career!
Are there any internship opportunities while in college?
Yes, all ROTC Nurse students have the opportunity to attend the Nurse Summer Training Program (NSTP) between your junior and senior year. There are several Army hospitals in the US, Hawaii and Germany that are NSTP sites. During NSTP you will receive experience under the direct supervision of a preceptor — an Army Nurse Corps officer who works with you one-on-one. You will be introduced to the roles, responsibilities and expectations of a new officer in the Army Nurse Corps while gaining progressive experience and leadership opportunities in a clinical setting.
What happens after graduation?
You will be commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army. After you pass the NCLEX, you will attend the Basic Officer Leadership Course (BOLC) at Fort Sam Houston, TX prior to reporting to your first assignment. At BOLC (12 Weeks), you will study basic Army knowledge and the functioning of an Army unit. The first assignment, which is determined by evaluating college performance, ROTC standing, and personal preferences, can be one of over 25 hospitals in the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Germany or Korea.
Once you have been working as an Army Nurse (on Active Duty) for one year, you are eligible to attend a clinical specialty course of your choice (see the question above, “What advanced education opportunities do Army Nurses have?).You also have the opportunity, as a member of the Army Nurse Corps, to apply for fully funded Masters Degree programs.
What is my service obligation?
- Total Obligation is 8 Years
- First 4 years of Obligation must be Active Duty
- Remaining 4 years may be Active Duty or Reserve Duty
- Total Obligation is 8 Years
- First 3 years of Obligation must be Active Duty
- Remaining 5 years may be Active Duty or Reserve Duty
How does the Salary of the Army Nurse compare to a Civilian Nurse?
As a commissioned officer in the Army Nurse Corps, your benefits include: competitive salary with regular promotions, 30 days paid vacation each year (in addition to time off for 11 Federal holidays) starting in the first year. Medical and dental care is provided free to Active Duty service members with unlimited sick leave. When changing jobs, you retain your same rank and pay.
Gross Annual Pay (including allowances)
Initially (After commissioning): $45,358.80
2 Years Later (As a First Lieutenant): $57,447.60
3 Years Later (As a First Lieutenant): $64,320.00
3 Years Later (As a Captain): $70,890.00
3 Years Later (As a Captain with 4 years Active Duty service): $75,973.20*
* 2013 amounts: combined Basic Pay, Basic Allowance for Subsidence (BAS), and minimum Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) without dependents. BAH varies based on duty location, rank, and dependency status. Only base pay is taxable income.
Additional Benefits Package
- 30 days paid vacation each year with time off for 11 Federal holidays
- Free Medical and Dental care for Active Duty service members with low cost Medical (TRICARE) and Dental Insurance for dependents
- Regular pay increases, every year for the first four years, then every two years thereafter. In addition, Congress usually appropriates a pay raise for the military every January.
- Regular promotions, each with a pay raise.
- Paid “sick leave”
- Free relocation services
- Generous retirement plan (Thrift Savings Plan also available)
- Low cost life insurance ($400,000 for $29 per month)
- Nurses are not required to carry malpractice insurance while serving on Active Duty in a MTF
- Post Exchange and Commissary priviledges (Savings of 30% on groceries when using the Commissary, items purchased in Post Exchange are non-taxable)
- Free or low-cost use of the recreational facilities
- Low-cost tours/travel for military personnel, military discounts for theme parks, etc.
- Unlimited travel opportunities
- No loss of rank or pay when changing job positions/locations
- Certifications through the Nursing Education Centers
- Continuing education through Nursing Education Centers
- Fuel prices on military installations are lower than on the “economy”
What is an Army Medical Treatment Facility (MTF)?
Army MTFs are comprised of community hospitals, medical centers and field hospitals. MTFs are located in 23 states within the US, as well as Europe and Asia. Hospital sizes vary from 17 to 800 beds. Services include: Medical, Surgical, Maternal Child Health and Pediatrics, Psychiatric Mental Health, Critical Care, Trauma and Public Health.
Who are the patients at an MTF?
Soldiers, soldiers’ spouses and children, military retirees and spouses and civilians requiring emergency care are all patients of an MTF.
What does a Clinical Staff Nurse do?
Clinical Staff Nurses plan, direct and provide nursing care. Clinical Staff Nurses work 80 hours per pay period (7-3, 3-11, 11-7, 12 hour 7-7 shifts). These nurses supervise and evaluate military and civilian personnel, provide patient and continuing staff education and provide Nursing care in a variety of settings, including:
- Maternal Child Health
- Psychiatric Mental Health
- Outpatient Clinics
- Operating Room
- Emergency Department
- Preventative Medicine
- Specialty Clinics
- Critical Care
What are the living conditions of a new Army Nurse officer?
If single, you may live in Bachelor Officer Quarters (BOQs), similar to a studio apartment, or off-post. If married (with or without children), you may live in housing provided on post. You may also choose to live off-post. Your free time is your own!
What advanced education opportunities do Army Nurses have?
The Generic Course Selection Program offers junior officers — including all who enter Army nursing through ROTC, the opportunity to receive specialized training in several fields. This training is available within the first 3-4 years of Active Duty service.
The courses available for attendance through the Generic Course Selection program are:
- Obstetrical/Gynecological Nursing: Prepares nurses to care for patients in all aspects of the childbearing spectrum — pregnancy counseling, pregnancy, labor and delivery, and postpartum care. This course lasts 16 weeks and is offered in Hawaii.
- Critical Care Nursing: Trains nurses in anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, physics, CPR, inhalation therapy, diagnostics, psychological and sociological problems, and ethical and legal considerations in the care of critically ill patients. This 16-week course can be taken in Washington, D.C., Tacoma, WA or San Antonio, TX.
- Perioperative Nursing: Prepares nurses for all phases of operating room nursing, including advanced skills related to specialty areas in surgery and the principles and techniques of supervising and managing an operating room. This course is 16 weeks and can be taken in Washington, D.C., Tacoma, WA or San Antonio, TX.
- Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing: Prepares nurses to provide specialized care to emotionally distressed individuals both as inpatients and outpatients, and to provide consultation within the general hospital community. This course is 16 weeks long and is offered in Washington, D.C.
Other Specialty Courses available, but not through the Generic Course Selection Program, are:
- Emergency Nursing: Prepares nurses to function in any clinical setting that meets the environmental nursing standard for emergency nursing. The focus is on the fundamentals of emergency nursing such as respiratory and cardiac disease, hematology/oncology, trauma management, hepatic disorders, and infectious diseases. This 16-week course is offered in San Antonio, TX.
- Preventative Medicine: Provides nurses with skills and knowledge to function in preventative medicine specialty area at an entry level. Course content includes the following: community health practices, communicable and infectious diseases, operational preventative medicine, epidemiology, statistics, medical entomology, industrial hygiene, health physics, sanitary engineering, and environmental science. A three day field training exercise occurs at the end of the course. This is a 9-week course offered in San Antonio, TX.
The second major educational opportunity is Long Term Health Education and Training (LTHET). This program allows Captains (year 3) and above an opportunity to obtain their Master’s degree in a multitude of specialty areas and locations. Officers apply for and are accepted to attend graduate programs following both clinical and administrative avenues. As full-time students working towards their Master’s degree through LTHET, officers remain on Active Duty with full pay and benefits.
Nurses may pursue degrees in the following disciplines:
- Nurse Anesthesia
- Nurse Midwifery
- Health Care Administration
- Family Nurse Practitioner
- Master of Science in Nursing, in a number of approved areas, including:
- Adult Clinical Nurse Specialist
- Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist
- Nursing Informatics
- Nursing Education