New grad or FQ?


Thanks in advance for anyone who can guide me on this...

My husband is AD Navy and getting out next month. I am considering joining the AF. I just graduated with my BSN. I have a job, but I have not started yet (waiting on NCLEX). I want to begin the process of joining the AF. Since I will most likely be working by the time I start the paperwork, will I apply as a new grad and do the training program, or will I be applying as full qualified?

I know this is asked often, but, are AF nurses deployed often and to what type of areas?

I also would like to apply for the ADHPLRP (loan repayment program) or at least hope for some type of sign on bonus to help with my student debt. Is the AF offering bonuses at this time?

Lastly, if I select to work as a med-surg nurse, is it possible that I could be assigned to a different position? Would I be able to change to a different position later? For example, say I'm assigned as a med-surg nurse and later would like to move to ED?

Thanks!! I'm coming in to this completely clueless.

jfratian, MSN, RN

1,559 Posts

Specializes in Adult Critical Care. Has 11 years experience.

I would encourage you to read some of the other military nursing threads on this site; most of these questions have already been answered numerous times. With 1 year of nursing experience, you can skip new grad training. If you think you're interested in ER or ICU, you need to get a civilian job in that area and get a year of experience before joining the military. The military specialty fellowships are a total pain in terms of delaying your career advancement (getting advanced academic degrees).


176 Posts

Agreed, there are plenty of past posts that will answer your questions, as well as meeting with a healthcare recruiter. I'll quickly address some of your questions. If you're applying for next year you may have enough experience to apply FQ, just depends on when you start work and when the board meets. Air Force nurse deployments vary depending on need and where you'll be stationed. Some places have higher rates, but deployments are slowing down lately. Deployments are usually 6 months long, again to whatever area the Air Force needs nurses. As of this past board, the loan repayment is still an option. If you accept loan repayment, you do not get a bonus as well. It is one or the other, and if you apply as NTP you may not have the bonus option, it is unclear if that is continuing. If you're a medsurg nurse, that is your specialty, however they can and will ask you to do other areas if needed, even if you haven't been trained for that area. Switching your official title though takes a long time, as JFratian said. It would be easier to get a year experience and then apply FQ if you want a specialty area like OR, ICU, ER, etc. Best advice is to talk with a recruiter. Good luck!

jfratian, MSN, RN

1,559 Posts

Specializes in Adult Critical Care. Has 11 years experience.

Just to clarify, certain nursing areas, such as PACU, day surgery, outpatient clinics, inpatient med-surg, and peds, aren't considered 'specialty areas' in the Air Force; any nurse can fill those spots. Other areas, such as ER, OR, ICU, OB/L&D, psych, and NICU require a specialty code; you can only get them from lengthy training programs (3-12 months).

Going to one of these training programs almost always carries some kind of catch: you extend you service comitment and/or you're locked into your new specialty for 2 assignments (often 8 years) and/or you don't get any say where you move for those 2 assignments. New grad nurses can only start in OB or med-surg; hence they can easily bait you into re-training into a more desirable area for a price.


303 Posts

excellent. I've been doing some searching through old threads and nothing really addressed what I was asking in recent years. All older threads. Anyway, thanks everyone for the words! I really appreciate it. I am thinking about joining for 3 years as a new nurse. So I am going to start gathering all my paperwork.


15 Posts

Specializes in Labor & Delivery/ OBGYN. Has 5 years experience.

May I add that if your nursing experience is not in a hospital you still apply for the new grad program and not the FQ program. In my case I have 3 yrs nursing experience at a clinic but had to apply to the new grad program however will go in a rank higher because of my experience. It is extremely competitive word of advice apply for new grad, FQ applicants have extensive years in their specialty and it is difficult for a fairly new nurse to compete. Whereas if you apply to the new grad program with some nursing experience you're at a little bit of an advantage. Good luck