Military Nurse Ranks



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Miltary nurse ranks - Nurses with no nursing experience and no military experience start at the bottom of the rank structure. Each service has slightly different names for the their respective rank structure but the pay grades remain the same. The letter O is placed in front of a number to determine pay grade. The O stands for Officer and the number corresponds to how high in rank the officer is.

Pay Grade Explained

Military Nurses are paid a salary based on the pay grade they have achieved. Simply put all officers are promoted to or initially enter into the military at a given pay grade. The pay grade is composed of two characters; the first one is a letter and the second one is a number. The first character of the pay grade is always the letter O capitalized. It is pronounced "oh". The O stands for Officer. The second character is always a number and corresponds to the current rank the officer or nurse is currently at. So, an O-1 is the lowest pay grade in the officer corps. The highest pay grade in the military is an O-10 and corresponds to the highest ranking officer in that respective military service.

Enlisted to Officer Pay Grade

Each of the military services has a special pay grade for military nurses who served as enlisted service members prior to becoming a nurse and/or accepting a commission into the nurse corps of the army, navy, coast guard or air force. If the service member has 4 or more years of military service prior to becoming an officer the pay grade will be O-1E, O-2E or O-3E.

The rank remains the same but the pay grade changes. So, for example an enlisted service member with 5 years of time in the service could use the green to gold program to become a registered nurse. After graduation from nursing school he or she could be commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant with a pay grade of O-1E. An O-1E makes about $225 more per month than a comparable O-1. The E designation stands for prior Enlisted.

Military Pay Grade         Army Rank
            O-1                                Second Lieutenant
            O-2                                First Lieutenant
            O-3                                Captain
            O-4                                Major
            O-5                                Lieutenant Colonel
            O-6                                Colonel
            O-7                                Brigadier General
            O-8                                Major General
            O-9                                 Lieutenant General
            O-10                             Chief of Staff (General) Guard

Military Pay Grade        Air Force Rank
            O-1                                Second Lieutenant
            O-2                                First Lieutenant
            O-3                                Captain
            O-4                                Major
            O-5                                Lieutenant Colonel
            O-6                                Colonel
             O-7                                Brigadier General
             O-8                                Major General
             O-9                                Lieutenant General
             O-10                             Chief of Staff (General) Guard


Military Pay Grade         Navy/Coast Guard Rank
            O-1                                 Ensign
            O-2                                 Lieutenant Jr. Grade (J.G.)
            O-3                                 Lieutenant
            O-4                                 Lieutenant Commander
            O-5                                 Commander
            O-6                                 Captain
            O-7                                 Admiral (Commodore)
            O-8                                 Admiral (Upper Half)
            O-9                                 Vice Admiral
            O-10                            Fleet Admiral/Commandant of Coast Guard


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