Becoming a nurse as an Air Force wife


Hey everyone! just wanted to see if there was any air force wives out there. My boyfriend is joining the airforce and we plan on getting married after his tech school. I am just wondering what it would be like for me to become a nurse while living the air force life? Is there on base schools or is online schooling a good choice? What are the education opportunities like for me while he is still active? Any advice would help from any military wife. THANKS!:)

Specializes in Telemetry.

I'm an AF wife currently in my first year of nursing school. I was able to do some of my pre-reqs online however once you start actual nursing school, you will have to go on campus somewhere. *To the best of my knowledge. :-)

We were lucky that we ended up at a duty station for a long enough period of time for me to get into a program and be able to finish. Becoming a nurse is something that I've wanted to do for long time and I actually really enjoy school. I wish you the best of luck in finding a program that works for you and your situation. I know first hand how difficult it can be to try to finish school or start a career with a spouse in the military. Good luck!


27 Posts


I'm an Air Force wife as well :) I'm actually an RN already, but I haven't graduated yet with my BSN (Calif allows you to take the NCLEX w/o graduating as long as you complete the required classes). Right now I'm doing online classes. In regards to online schooling, if you're just starting nursing school, it might be hard to find a program that offers exclusively online because of the clinicals. If you don't mind me asking, where are you located at? You can just PM that. My school offers some of the nursing classes that do not require a clinical online (those are the ones that I'm taking right now).

Ok, I just re-read your post and I just saw that you stated that your BF is just joining. I suggest you wait then until you get to his actual duty station! From my experience (my dad used to be military) usually you'll be at a duty station 2-3 years, so if you can get into a nursing program near his duty station then you'll be able to finish up your nursing degree before you guys PCS again.

I don't know about your financial situation, but if you want some grants go to this site: I applied for that last school year and got a good grant!

Best of luck to you and PM me if you have anymore questions!


76 Posts

My mom was an Army wife when she became a nurse. It took a long time for her since she was raising three children as well. She was able to complete her education when my dad was in Iraq, we had been stationed at one place for several years so that helped. She now works with my Dad at an Army hospital. The key is waiting till you have a duty station you'll be at for a while as not all credits are transferable.


120 Posts

This may be a bit off topic but My boyfriend as well is in the airforce. I have been a RN for 2yrs and we have been dating for 6years. (yes....marriage soon hopefully). But he is actually in afghanistan right now for 6months. While he is away, I decided I wanted to become a travel nurse so I can keep occupied while he is gone. He left in october, I left for Texas in November. I return home in May, he returns home in June. Being a nurse and being with a military man is awesome I must say. Your options are so widespread and although not always a good thing, you get alot of "ME" time in case you need to focus on school.

Jules A, MSN

8,863 Posts

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

I'd also consider getting your LPN first and then bridging to RN. That way you are only stuck in one spot for a year of school at a time and could join your husband sooner. Good luck.

Guest 360983

1 Article; 357 Posts

You'll probably be at your first base for two years or so. My suggestion is to either get your prereqs done before he finishes tech school or do your prereqs at the first base to prepare for nursing school at the second. Even if colleges near bases are more understanding than normal schools, it's tough to transfer in the middle of nursing school.

Pre-reqs vary by school, but you'll generally need 2 classes of Anatomy & Physiology (take both at 1 school! The classes can be split differently so you need both for the best chance of transfering), Microbiology, Psychology, a lifespan/growth & development psychology course, and at least a basic college level English. Beyond that depends on the school you're going to (you might need sociology, nutrition, algebra, two englishes...). Save your syllabuses (syllabi?) and a copy of your course catalog in case you need it when transferring.

You can do most prereqs online, but you can't do your nursing degree online (places like University of Phoenix are for people who are already nurses and want a bachelor's). There will probably be a community college located near the base; they may even have classes on base but you'll probably be in a small town so it doesn't matter too much in distance. The tough thing is going to be timing your start of nursing school to the start of your time at a new base.

(thought I should add I was a solider, an Army wife, and did my first year of college in an Army town)


9 Posts

I am in my second semester of NS and I am also an AF wife. I was actually in for several years and then got out, so I have the experience of being a vet and a dependent wife. My husband is currently stationed in a remote location for a yr ( it will be a yr in Aug 10). I have two school aged kids and I have done well managing everything m,y first semster successfully.

I would advise you to wait until after he has completed tech school to start applying for actual Nursing schools. It is usually a 2 yr prgm, so you want to make sure that you can stay together. As a first term airman he should be able to make a list of places he wants to get stationed. However, they only consider this request...its not always guarenteed. As far as prerequisites, you can take them anywhere. I completed mine while I was still active duty. I just took night classes. Online classes are good, but for the major science classes, I recommend taking them in a classroom.

Hope all goes well with your plans.


50 Posts

Specializes in OR. Has 2 years experience.


I am an Air Force wife and I am currently in nursing school. I have a previous degree that I completed first which took care of some of my prerequisites for nursing school, but I had to take courses at a community college when we moved before I could apply to the nursing program down here.

I don't know if you have any college under your belt now or if you would be starting for the first time once you move. If you are just starting it may be difficult because every school has different requirements for their nursing prerequisites (certain anatomies or a computer class). Get as much done as you can at a reputable college (it may be more expensive but it will transfer more easily). Also, if you have not moved away from family now, you may want to consider staying locally so you can start and finish at the same school. It will suck to have to live apart (we had to so I could finish my first degree) but you'll be able to finish without having to retake courses or stop a program midway.

Also, I don't know if this is thinking too far ahead, but my husband and I decided that we would change his "dream sheet" to the base he is currently at so that when it comes time to get new orders he will be more likely to stay here so I can finish school (we are at Keesler AFB and there seems to be a slower process moving med techs to different bases).

My are going to be an Air Force wife. It will be hard because you will have to be separated for deployments, take on the stresses of moving and learning new areas away from what you are used to. Just don't forget that your future is important too. He chose a career that asks (will ask) a lot of your marriage/relationship, you may need to do the same so that you can have a rewarding career. That may mean living apart until you finish school.

Also, if you don't have kids now, hold off until you are done school. I have a toddler and it is not easy doing nursing school, raising a child and handling my husband's deployment living (literally) a thousand miles away from our family and friends who could help me. But hey, we figure we are pretty strong so we push on.

Also, apply for scholarships through the Air Force, I got one through the spouses club at this base.

Good luck! It will be worth it!


50 Posts

Specializes in OR. Has 2 years experience.

One more thing, there is usually a continuing education office at most bases. If you wait until he is stationed at a base, they will have information on schools close to that base. Down here at Keesler AFB, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (MGCCC) has classes that are offered on base, but there are also plenty of schools locally, I travel to Mobile, AL where there are several good nursing programs.

Or you can start at a college where you are from and go visit your husband during the summer semesters and take online classes if the school offers them.

Just do your homework so you can find out as many options as you can to make a decision.


3 Posts

I see this hasn't been active for a while, but I would really like some insight on a tough decision I may need to make. My husband just got his first station 3 months ago, and we are originally from Hawaii. I am currently finishing pre requs and plan on applying for Spring entry to UHawaii, and a CC here, and if I dont make those, Fall entry for a university here. We are trying to decide that if I get in to a program in Hawaii, that I should go back, which would be for 3 years. In that time he plans to volunteer for deployment and tour. We both really dislike living here, San Antonio. It's a tough transition from Hawaii. The only thing is the separation which is a major strain. I'll be able to visit in the summers, but still, its 3 years. Also, the possibility that he could suddenly get orders to PCS, or if he gets deployed and I'm here by myself i would be miserable. Or I can wait and hope I get acceptance here, and tough it out. Does anyone have experience being separated for such a long period of time?


323 Posts

Specializes in CT stepdown, hospice, psych, ortho.

Marine wife here. I've never had a problem obtaining a job when we move but that is because I have a BSN. I've been told many times the BSN was the key in me getting the position over another interviewer. If you are not doing a BSN off the bat, immediately get into a RN to BSN program and finish it post haste. Also, I'd go directly to a hospital to get experience, in the most intensive position you can find. Try for an ICU or CCU or at the very least telemetry and get in at least a year of quality experience. The more specialized units are the ones that tend to have openings for experienced nurses around the country. Also, when you interview, try not to emphasize that you are a military wife. I have found that there is a certain amt of prejudice in hiring us because we tend to pick up and move every 2 to 3 years. Not saying you should lie about it, but keep it on the DL if you want to be taken seriously as a candidate. In that same spirit, try to keep each job you get for the entire length of time that you are stationed in that area - your case looks much more convincing to an employer if you have 2-3 years in each position you've held rather than a string of 1 year stints in various places. Keep up with your certifications and become a fantastic interviewer. Apply for your nursing license in the various states AS SOON AS YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING. Some states (cough GA cough) take forever to give you a license. Be aware you may have to drive, my current commute is about 40 miles from the base but its only 3 days a week. Expect to have to work nights as you will always be the new kid on the block with your move schedule and, as such, you will probably be the low man on the totem pole for prime shifts. Finally, collect excellent references from employers. Do not burn your bridges and make sure you give ample notice prior to leaving each job. Hope this helps, from a nurse that's been there, done that.