How old is "too old" to get commissioned?


Hi everyone! I've gotten conflicting answers so I thought I'd try to get a few more ;) I am seriously debating about finishing my BSN and getting commissioned but, I'll be about 35 or 36 by the time I can do so. I have tried talking to a USAF recruiter here on base (we're currently stationed in the UK, husband is USAF) but he wasn't much help. I've been told that 35 is the cutoff unless it's something medical and then you can try to get a waiver. I also had someone who is an officer with the Dept of Public Health and they said there was no age cutoff. I'm probably leaning towards going USAF but my husband is pushing me to go Navy.

My question though really is- what is the age requirement and has anyone here joined after 35+? Should I even consider joining at that age? I'm currently a GS employee (phlebotomist) at the base hospital if that matters at all. Thanks in advance!

Specializes in Psych, Maternity, ER, Ortho. Has 12 years experience.

The Navy website says the cutoff age is 41, but I would talk to an OPO (officer programs officer) to get the full info. There are waivers for certain things/positions. Much of their bottom line is to ensure you can get your 20 years in before a certain age. Have you ever had any enlisted time? They can give you credit for time in previously. Enlisted and regular officer recruiters may not know the details, you'd be better off locating an officer recruiter specific to medical programs.


27 Posts

Has 5 years experience.

I personally went in at 39 and had no issues. No waivers needed. Hope this helps! Go Navy!

Editorial Team / Moderator

Lunah, MSN, RN

33 Articles; 13,741 Posts

Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN. Has 15 years experience.

I commissioned into the Army Nurse Corps at 38. :) Per the Air Force website, you must be between the ages of 18 and 47. They have a brochure here:


59 Posts

Has 9 years experience.

thanks all! I had found that info as well but the recruiter here didn't seem to know anything and just told me flat out 35. we won't be back in the states for almost another year and due to time differences, it's hard to talk to people there regarding this... plus I have no clue who to contact besides the website (which I tried previously).all of you that joined later, would you do it again? I've been in banking and real estate in NC before becoming a vampire 3 years ago. Was accepted into nursing school in charleston, sc before I moved here in 2011. I'm excited and nervous about taking another leap!

Editorial Team / Moderator

Lunah, MSN, RN

33 Articles; 13,741 Posts

Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN. Has 15 years experience.

Army nursing is like my ... 4th career, I think? Haha. I went from graphic designer/desktop publisher/publications manager to paramedic/ER tech to ER RN to Army ER RN, over the course of many years. No regrets! :D

Sounds like you talked to a general recruiter, not a healthcare recruiter. A healthcare recruiter will have better information for you. Good luck in school!


357 Posts

As a RN, the Navy will commission you until you turn 42, without a waiver.

nurse2033, MSN, RN

3 Articles; 2,133 Posts

Specializes in ER, ICU.

I commissioned at 46 into Air Force as a nurse (currently up to 48 for medical). This is the oldest by far. I don't know about the other services because I was too old for them all. You need to contact a medical recruiter. This is a speciality. Or contact a recruiter at a unit that you know has medical services, they will be familiar with age exceptions for medical. Good luck.

nurse2033, MSN, RN

3 Articles; 2,133 Posts

Specializes in ER, ICU.

Oh and finish your BSN. It will serve you well, even if you don't go military. Some employers require it, and many prefer it.

midinphx, BSN

853 Posts

Specializes in ED. ICU, PICU, infection prevention, aeromedical e. Has 28 years experience.

I came in at 42. AF is 42 - unless you get an age waiver (fewer given now with cuts) then it is up to 47yrs.

I thought I'd be the oldest person at COT - there were 48yr and 54yr old doctors.

I think your asking the wrong recruiter. you need a medical recruiter. Home - Benefiting the US Air Force with jobs and careers on I think is the website you can e-mail for the right contact.

jeckrn, BSN, RN

1,868 Posts

Specializes in EMT, ER, Homehealth, OR. Has 17 years experience.

From what I understand you can come into any service in the medical field upto the age of 42 without prior service. This is because you must be able to complete 20 years of service (retirement) before the manditory retirement age of 62.


69 Posts

Specializes in Cardiovascular. Has 8 years experience.

Jeckrn is correct. Also if you are less than 6 months until 40 or 40 and over there are more requirements to pass MEPS.