Flight Nurse Army vs Air Force

  1. First post on this site so go easy on me.

    I graduated with my BSN in May 2017. I have been working in a rehab center for a few months and have now accepted an offer for an RN position in the ER. It has always been my goal to become a nurse in the military. I did 2 years of Army ROTC in college and I loved every second of it. I only left due to issues with my scholarship.

    I am interested in flight nursing. I know the Air Force does fixed wing flight nursing, but I am mostly interested in rotor wing. I've looked online, but have only found small tidbits of info on the CCATT nurses. In addition, I am also interested in the Army as well.

    I hope to get my experience in the ER and get all the certifications that come with that. I have heard that the Army has JECC, but I couldn't really find more information about it.

    Any insight would be greatly appreciated.


    If it helps, here some questions I have.

    1. Opportunities in both branches for ER nurses as well as Flight nurses.

    2. Differences between AF flight nurses and CCATT nurses.

    3. Army JECC.

    4. I've also read that the majority of AF flight nurses are reserves?

    Thanks
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   Dranger
    You are are talking about a really niche job in the Army....99% of Army nurses have no involvement with FSTs, JECC etc. You can't bank on it....

    In my Army career I have met 1-2 Army flight nurses and a handful of FST nurses. There just aren't many opportunities. Most likely you'll be in a CSH, fixed hospital or rarely a brigade nurse slot.

    I am a ROTC grad by the way.
  4. by   traumaRUs
    Moved to Gov't/Military nursing
  5. by   jfratian
    If air evac is what you want to do, you really need to do Air Force. The Air Force has the vast majority of the flight nursing positions. We have flight nursing, which is fixed wing med-surg patients. CCATT is fixed wing ICU patients. TCCET is rotary wing triage and damage control.

    TCCET and CCATT nurses have an ER or ICU background; they are completely patient focused and are not considered flight crew. TCCET and CCATT are deployment teams, and the needs are high; it's likely that if you want to do either you'll be able to.

    Flight nurses come from a variety of backgrounds. Their focus is really more on in-flight safety and mission planning; they are flight crew, get the aeronautical badge, and crew rest. Flight nursing is a full-time job and they are always short-handed (due to their constant transient lifestyle)).

    Beyond the flight stuff, the AF has SOST (Special Operations Surgical Team). It's a formalized elite medical team of 6 members per team that travels with special tactics/spec ops personnel. They have try outs and have physical requirements far beyond the AF's standard PT test.
    Last edit by jfratian on Dec 4
  6. by   Pixie.RN
    In my Army nursing experience, the flight nurses I encountered while deployed (I was with an FST) were ICU, not ER. Definitely a niche/rarity as Dranger said. AF might be best for you.
  7. by   dropkickRN
    Thank you for all of your responses. I will have to take into consideration my own goals, but after reading what you said I am leaning towards AF. Something about flight really interests me.


    from what I've heard, the paperwork process for a commission can take awhile. When do you recommend getting that rolling?
  8. by   jfratian
    The process takes 1 year from start to beginning training. You've got 6 months of experience. I'd say study for the CEN and take the CEN ASAP. I believe there's no minimum experienced required to test for that.

    Then, contact a recruiter and start applying this spring. The AF will generally let you apply for the ER specialty code (46N3-J) with 1 year of full time experience.

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