I have been contemplating attempting to join the commissioned corps for some time now. Since graduating nursing school I have worked for the Department of Veteran's Affairs, as well as the DOD. My wife is an active duty officer (non medical) and that means we move quite often. I have been weighing the pros and cons of joining, and have a lot of unanswered questions even after speaking with the corps and individuals who have served personally.
My main concern is the filling of positions. Anyone who has worked in civil service knows how tedious it is applying to, and waiting for, a civil service position (even direct hire positions). It has been months to begin work in my positions with the VA and DOD. Has this been the experience for anyone within the corps?
Secondly, how easy is it to relocate within the corps, and is it recommended to switch agencies for career progression? For instance, if your first position is within the BOP, and due to dual spouse status we have to relocate and there are only positions within another agency or in an area that I don't have experience, how easy would it be to secure a position?
Finally, how quickly can you promote through the ranks? Being a GS12 currently, it is a bit frightening to look at the salary of an 01 or 02 (which is what I understand that I would probably go in as). Of course dual BAH would be nice, but I still am not sure if the salary and benefits would be comparable to my salary/benefits now (already have TSP, tricare, time toward 20 year retirement) for the foreseeable future.
Any information would be greatly appreciate.
Last edit by JowinsRN on Oct 25
How many years of experience do you have as an RN? That would help determine your initial rank. Admittedly I don't know as much about the USPHS, except that they seem to follow the Navy in rank structure. I worked with some members of the USPHS very peripherally when I was in the Army because they had some kind of hand in our behavioral health services. However, I don't think they are recruiting nurses at this time. But I feel like you would have more flexibility in staying near your spouse if you continue in a civilian role. I know, selection and on boarding is slow; I went from active duty to a GS position in my same ER, and I had to start the process in March to start working at the end of June. Yikes.
They do not recruit like the other services, you will have to do most of the work.
I am not sure you will get dual BAH. Only The highest ranking spouse get the BAH with dependent rate. But you should double check on that.
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