Military Nurse Requirements



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Each military service has military nurse requirements. The two main ways to become a military nurse are through the direct commission process or through ROTC.    You must meet the requirements to be a registered nurse and the standards to be accepted by the military branch you want to become an officer in.

The direct commission route requires you to be a registered nurse already.  After you have received your certification as a registered nurse and acquired a nursing license in the state you wish to practice nursing you can apply to enter the military as a nurse and be sworn in as an officer.  You still have to attend officers basic training and meet the usual military standards.

Direct Commission Process:

  • Possess a BSN degree from an accredited school of nursing. *Note: The U.S. Army Reserves will accept an Associate Degree RN but you must obtain a BSN by the time you go up to the promotion board for Captain.
  • Be a licensed Registered Nurse in any of the 50 U.S. states or territories such as Puerto Rico, District of Columbia, or Guam.
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Have a reasonably clean criminal history: no felony convictions. A speeding ticket or minor infraction will usually not keep you from being commissioned. Having 30 unpaid traffic tickets will keep you from being commissioned. If you have a blemish or two on your record you may be able to apply for a waiver and still be accepted into the military.
  • Be able to pass a background check for a secret clearance
  • Pass a medical physical
  • Meet the height and weight standards for the service you are entering
  • Meet the age requirement - varies depending on the military service
  • Apply for a direct commission through a military healthcare recruiter for the service you want to join

The second way to become a military nurse is to join the ROTC or Reserve Officer Training Corps. The ROTC assists with college tuition and pays a small stipend while you go to college. You take some additional course work in military history, leadership and attend ROTC summer camp for the four years you are in college. Upon completion of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degree you are commissioned into the military service you are enrolled in the ROTC through. The Army, Navy and Air Force all have ROTC programs. The Coast Guard ROTC program is jointly funded through the Navy ROTC.

To meet the military nurse requirements for ROTC you must also pass the national RN exam or RN-NCLEX and be able to become licensed as a registered nurse in one of the 50 states or U.S. territories.

ROTC Commission Process:

  • Meet the age requirement: varies depending on the military service.  Usually, the age you can enter college ROTC is between 18-26.  Be sure to check with the service branch for the exact age.  This can change depending on the needs of the service.
  • Attend an approved 4 year university that is part of the ROTC program
  • Maintain the acceptable Grade Point Average (GPA) - usually a 2.5 or 3.0 out of 4.0.
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Have a clean criminal record; 1 or 2 traffic tickets will usually not bar you from selection. 
  • Be able to pass a background check for a secret clearance
  • Pass a medical physical - usually administered in your third year of ROTC
  • Meet the height and weight standards for the service you are in ROTC with
  • Upon successful graduation from the college/ROTC program you will be commissioned as an officer.
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Students