Canadian Forces

  1. 0
    I've been trying to do some research about joining the CF but it's getting confusing. I was hoping someone here has been through the experience :S

    So basically what I know is that when you enlist you have to go through some sort of training in the summer? But how long is this? Also I've heard you owe them 2 years/ every year of schooling they pay for. But do you get paid while you're doing your commitment? So basically if I signed on now I'd owe them 6 years and that means I won't see friends/family for 6 years?

    I dunno I thought this would be a good opportunity since I don't have to take summer courses (all i really do is work anyways) like the rest of my classmates and I've always been interested in the military also I'm really broke from school (LOL). I'll talk to the recruiter probably in the beginning of the school year but I wanted to come here for a more honest opinion.

    Thanks
  2. Get the Hottest Nursing Topics Straight to Your Inbox!

  3. 13 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    Look for posts by AirForce RN. They are currently serving.

    What you have described "summer training" only sounds like joining the Reserve while in College. One of my kids is currently doing his summer training.

    You get paid during training periods. If you parade during the school year, you get paid for that parade. Not a huge amount but enough to keep a guy in beer or gas money.

    After graduation when your service time begins, of course you get paid. Nobody works for free. Your rate of pay is based on your rank and your trade (all jobs in the Forces are referred to as trades). A medic gets paid more than an infantryman as does an Aviation Technician make more than a Signaller. As you get promoted your basic pay rate rises. The government posts you where they need your skills and their are vacancies. So expect it to be the Victoria region, Edmonton, Ottawa, Winnipeg region, Borden, Gagetown, St. Jean, Gander. You don't get to pick your posting usually. But you do get leave and if you go visit family that's your business.

    I've known more than a few medics work in local hospitals during the weekend and their leave periods to make extra cash and utilize their skills.
  5. 0
    Everyone who joins the CF has to do their basic training which is 13 weeks in St. Jean, Quebec. For nurses, after they have completed their basic training they go to Borden to complete their training. You may also require up to a year of second language training as all officers in the army are required to be bilingual now. This is if you are joining as a direct entry officer.

    You only "owe" if you join as a student and require the army to pay for your schooling. You would then owe them 2 years for every year they pay up to a maximum of 5 years, so the most you would be obligated to stay in is 5 years.

    If staying away from family and friends is a concern for you then the army is not the place for you. The training can be intense, you need to keep up with your triage skills and you will need to train in the field as well as be ready to go overseas. (Going overseas is not mandatory if you join as a reservist). This is not a decision to be taken lightly - being in the army is not just a job it becomes your life. I can vouch for this having now been a military wife for almost a decade.

    My suggestion would be for you to look it up on the CF website and talk to a recruiting officer if you are seriously thinking about joining. And remember, it's not like you just get to sign-up and you're in. You will still need to meet the physical requirements and go through the application process as well. Good Luck!
  6. 0
    Just to be clear, Officers are not required to be bilingual. To progress to Major or above you will have to have a second language "profile" but that doesn't mean you are bilingual (or even proficient in some cases). This applies to both ROTP and direct entry officers.

    Quote from 7angeldust
    So basically what I know is that when you enlist you have to go through some sort of training in the summer?
    If you go the ROTP route your summers will be taken up with training...as was said above, in St. Jean, Quebec.

    But how long is this?
    15 weeks.

    Also I've heard you owe them 2 years/ every year of schooling they pay for.
    True, but as kimmer4 stated it is capped at 5 years.


    But do you get paid while you're doing your commitment?
    You get paid from the day you are hired until the day you retire. This includes while you are in school and while on training.


    So basically if I signed on now I'd owe them 6 years and that means I won't see friends/family for 6 years?
    No, it means that you would be working for 5 years after you graduate. You go home after your day of work just like everyone else. You may be posted away from your family and friends but you have vacation time and you will make new friends (plus there is always facebook right?)


    I dunno I thought this would be a good opportunity since I don't have to take summer courses (all i really do is work anyways) like the rest of my classmates and I've always been interested in the military also I'm really broke from school (LOL). I'll talk to the recruiter probably in the beginning of the school year but I wanted to come here for a more honest opinion.
    Like kimmer4 said, its not for everybody, and its not just a job, its a career. If you decide to speak to a recruiter bring a list of your questions and make sure you get everything answered. If you have any other specific questions I'd be happy to answer if I can.
    Thanks No problem
    (Fiona, its been a long time eh? How you doing?)
  7. 0
    Quote from AirforceRN
    Just to be clear, Officers are not required to be bilingual. To progress to Major or above you will have to have a second language "profile" but that doesn't mean you are bilingual (or even proficient in some cases). This applies to both ROTP and direct entry officers.



    (Fiona, its been a long time eh? How you doing?)
    Okay thanks that was really helpful. Just a few more things though.

    So the first summer you do training then go back to school in the fall but what about the subsequent summers (next 3)? I don't mind giving up my summers at all since I don't do much of anything anyways. And you said they pay you while you're in school for the entire 4 years of your degree? How much are we talking here? Also is this something that's really competitive? Asumming I pass the training etc do I have to compete with people to get in?

    Also when you've graduated do you get to pick where you're posited? I mean would they put you in village in the middle of nowhere with a population of 200 or something? :S And what type of work would you be doing the same thing nurses do in civilian hospitals? I heard you get paid significantly less than your civilian counterparts as well...I'm not sure if that's true either.

    I'm leaning more towards yes but a the few things above confuse me. Thanks
  8. 0
    What happens during the summer varies with what opportunities are available. In my case (I joined after my first year so it was only 3 summers) I did the first half of basic training the first summer, the second half of basic training plus french language training the second summer and spent the third summer up in Yellowknife and Whitehorse doing "on the job training" or OJT and working at a cadet camp. Most students do some sort of OJT during their summers after basic. This usually consists of working at a base Medical Inspection Room or "MIR" which is like a military doctor's office. This is a good opportunity to get some experience with the way basic health care is delivered in the Canadian Forces and exposes you to a lot of the paper work that we deal with.
    As far as pay goes, you can look at the pay scales here DGCB - Regular Force and Class C Officer Rates - 2012
    You would fall under pay level A as an ROTP candidate. Basically, while in school you would start at about $18400/year (plus your tuition and books are paid for). Once you graduate and become an officer you jump to $57500/year. After roughly 10 years in you are looking at $78500/year.
    Yes it is competitive but you are accepted before your training and not afterwards. So basically if you are accepted for ROTP you are already a member of the CF, the training comes after that. Basic training is tough but it is not about competition it is about teamwork, learning and leadership.
    Once you graduate you can expect to be posted. You are able to submit preferences as to where you would like to go but in the end the military will move you to where they need you. For nurses this is usually in Edmonton, Ottawa, Valcartier or Halifax, with some nurses ending up in Vancouver and Petawawa as well. There are some postings in some other places but they are few. For what its worth, I have been posted to all the places I have listed as my top preferences, but other's mileage will vary greatly.
    The work we do also varies greatly. The CF doesn't have military hospitals anymore so that isn't an option. Once you are an RN you will be placed in a civilian hospital for a period of time (around 6 months now I believe) to gain experience in that setting. After that the road splits into many directions. You can apply for specialty training (Critical Care, OR or Mental Health) or you can work on base in the MIR. There are also many administrative positions that nurses frequently fill in areas such as training and operations.
    Finally...you can't join the military to get rich, but as you can see from above, the pay isn't bad either. Getting paid to go to school plus having your tuition and books paid for is a huge bonus. To make it simple, right out of school you earn the equivalent of roughly $27/hr (of course you are on salary so its not really "per hour" but you get the idea) and this goes up every year. Plus paid vacation time (20-25 days a year) plus full medical and dental.
    Obviously money is important but I'll reiterate, this isn't a normal job. We have periods of quiet and we have periods of craziness. We are sent to places that few would want to go and are placed in situations that many would never want to be in. We do this without questioning and without the option of saying no.
    Food for thought.
    Keep the questions coming...I obviously love my job and could talk about it for hours.
  9. 0
    I was actually very much ready to fill out an application but after finding out there are only 5 positions for the ROTP nursing route in the ENTIRE country I'm having second thoughts. I was told thousands of students apply and it's extremely competitive but that the quotas change every year (it could be 5 this year and 15 next year - but considering we arent in a war it'll stay around that number), either way my odds are extremely low considering how intense just applying is. It really did sound like the perfect avenue for me but I've already fought tooth and nail to get into nursing I don't have any fight in me for a little while longer, shame about the quota. Thanks though you've been helpful.
  10. 0
    No problem. Best of luck with nursing school!
  11. 0
    I have a question.... i was reading this thread at work and someone asked me this so i thought i would ask and give her the answer..

    What happens if you have a children/family when you are doing your training in summers? Obviously boot camp they don't go to but what about the other summers...
  12. 0
    Forces wife. The basic answer is your children and their care needs are the members responsibility. I remember my husband having to present a careplan for our boys when he deployed about a decade ago. Basically, it was me and if I got sick a friend would care for them until one of the grandma's could arrive to take over.

    As an old RSM once said to the husband "if we'd wanted you to have a family we'd have issued you one.

    How the Forces present themselves to the media and the public is one thing, how they actually treat their families is another. Some units are far better than others. Support units seem to be more friendly, Combat Arms, really depends on the CO of the moment.


Top