With around 4,000 personnel serving active duty or in the Navy Reserve, the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps is a major component of Navy Medicine, the “doing business as” name of the Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. Nay Medicine provides top-notch health care not only to those in the Navy and Marine Corps, but also their family members and other beneficiaries. The demand for qualified Nurses has been consistently high over the years, a situation that is unlikely to change as the United States conducts its Global War on Terror. For the Navy, making opportunities in the Nurse Corps available to qualified candidates is a top priority.

One way that Navy has sought to encourage Sailors to seek a career the Nurse Corps is through its Seaman to Admiral-21 program, or STA-21, which combined eight commissioning paths into a single program. While open to all ratings and providing exemption from the requirements for two semesters of Calculus and Calculus-based physics found in the STA-21 Core program, applicants for the STA-21 Nurse Corps Option do have to meet certain standards for acceptance. Among these are a minimum GPA of 2.5 (on a scale of 4.0), credit for at least 45 quarter (or 30 semester) credit hours in courses required by undergraduate nursing programs, and meet the minimum physical standards required for active-duty service. Also, those selected for the STA-21 Nurse Corps Option are obliged to serve five years of active duty after they are commissioned.

Another career path is the Medical Enlisted Commissioning Program, or MECP. All enlisted ratings are eligible to earn an entry-level nursing degree through this program and become appointed an Ensign in the Nurse Corps. A major advantage of MECP is that Sailors accepted into the program still earn full pay and receive full benefits while attending classes to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing; Sailors can also use Montgomery GI Bill funding or other financial assistance to help pay for their education.

Yet another option is through the Navy’s Medical Accessions program and its Nurse Candidate Program, which can also assist Sailors seeking to work the fields of dentistry, medical care, clinical psychology, and nursing. Students in these fields commit to join Navy Medicine as Officers upon graduation from college and receive all the opportunities and benefits that accrue with the position: the chance for regular promotions, retirement benefits, opportunities for further education for free or at reduced costs, a month’s paid vacation, and more. More importantly, they will begin a career of serving thousands of people around the world in a profession they truly love.

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