Senior Nursing Student Applying for USAF Nurse Corps

Specialties Government

Published

Hello all!

If there are any AF nurses out there, or other nursing students that are also applying to the USAF, please join in the discussion! I have decided to join the USAF after I graduate with my BSN in May 2010. I have started the application process to NTP. I will go to MEPS in July and will be applying for the boards that are held this October (October 2009). My recruiter says I will go to COT in August 2010. I started the process LATE in my junior year when I found out about the USAF Nurse Corps, so from reading the posts on this website, I feel like I am incredibly behind in the application process. Does anyone know if this will affect my application, and if yes, in what way(s)?

To the students or recently commissioned USAF nurses, can you tell me a little bit about the process to apply? Since I started so late, my recruiter is doing the best he can to explain it to me and help me along the way but I'd like to hear about others' experiences so that I can be prepared. Plus, I still don't fully understand the "board" process that supposedly starts in October. I have filled out all the paperwork, gotten all the required supporting documents and now am setting up my MEPS and Chief Nurse appointments.

Are there any AF nurses out there that could tell me a little bit about their experiences? I have read all the posts here on allnurses.com but I'm just still very curious as to your experiences in the nurse corps with things like particular bases, starting out as a 2nd lt. and other specific questions. I only have experience with civilian acute care nursing, and I'm very curious as to how hard it will be for me to adjust to AF nursing (my specialty is L&D/NICU).

I really appreciate you taking the time to read this incredibly long post. Thank you so much for your help in advance, I am really grateful!

NursePamela

330 Posts

I am not sure I understand your question about timing? The sooner the better I believe. The one thing you can count on is you can't count on the timing being exact. When you go to meps if they want more proof of something that pushes your calender back. If you recruiter has a lot on his plate he may go slower than you think. If you have an aggressive recruiter, could be faster. Military people are still people and people are unpredictable. To me it sounds like you are on the right track.

Good luck!

DrCOVID, DNP

461 Posts

Specializes in psych/medical-surgical.

Yea I was looking for someone to talk about their experience in the AF because I am looking to join it too. I just got my ATT today (excited), and will take the NCLEX soon. I am positive I'll pass in 75 questions. I saw a recruiter recently, and they have much to offer such as free graduate school, and travel... But you have to be a regular RN for 4 years in general medicine before they sponsor you for graduate school, hmm...

Starting out at o1 is horse manure too, considering you start at o2 in the usphs, but the AF signing bonus is lower...

o1 is like 16 dollars an hour if u work 40 hours a week... and that is 4 dollars less than where I am (Missouri)... Nurses generally start out at 20$/h here.

But then you have to calculate housing and food allowances, and it gets even more complicated!

allnurses Guide

wtbcrna, MSN, DNP, CRNA

5,125 Posts

Specializes in Anesthesia.
Yea I was looking for someone to talk about their experience in the AF because I am looking to join it too. I just got my ATT today (excited), and will take the NCLEX soon. I am positive I'll pass in 75 questions. I saw a recruiter recently, and they have much to offer such as free graduate school, and travel... But you have to be a regular RN for 4 years in general medicine before they sponsor you for graduate school, hmm...

Starting out at o1 is horse manure too, considering you start at o2 in the usphs, but the AF signing bonus is lower...

o1 is like 16 dollars an hour if u work 40 hours a week... and that is 4 dollars less than where I am (Missouri)... Nurses generally start out at 20$/h here.

But then you have to calculate housing and food allowances, and it gets even more complicated!

In general it is two years time on station before you can apply (and then you start the next year) to go to graduate school full time in the AF, but you can use tution assistance (which is 100% of tution and fees) and start going to graduate school on your own as soon as you get to your permanent duty station. The actual rules and process to apply go to graduate school full time/fellowships comes out every summer (the rules/timing usually vary slightly year to year). You can always ask your recruiter for a copy of the latest "Call for Candidates" to look over the requirements for yourself.

You can't simply compare military pay by comparing hourly pay. No civilian job/non government job that I know of are you going to get 30days paid leave and 10 holidays a year, plus tax free housing and a substinence allowance. Also, don't forget that most years we enjoy a cost of living raise (usually about 3%), longevity bonus starting your 2nd year and then every odd year after that. On the bad side you will rarely ever work only 40hrs in the military. Your pay will increase dramatically over your 1st 4yrs in the military with each rank you increase your pay goes up, but your housing allowance also increases with rank.....just things to think about.

Good Luck with whatever decision you decide to make!

NursePamela

330 Posts

Yea I was looking for someone to talk about their experience in the AF because I am looking to join it too. I just got my ATT today (excited), and will take the NCLEX soon. I am positive I'll pass in 75 questions. I saw a recruiter recently, and they have much to offer such as free graduate school, and travel... But you have to be a regular RN for 4 years in general medicine before they sponsor you for graduate school, hmm...

Starting out at o1 is horse manure too, considering you start at o2 in the usphs, but the AF signing bonus is lower...

o1 is like 16 dollars an hour if u work 40 hours a week... and that is 4 dollars less than where I am (Missouri)... Nurses generally start out at 20$/h here.

But then you have to calculate housing and food allowances, and it gets even more complicated!

If you have no military experience and no nursing experience, consider yourself blessed to start at an O-1. If you are worried about the pay, then you might want to rethink joining.

Specializes in critical care: trauma/oncology/burns.
If you have no military experience and no nursing experience, consider yourself blessed to start at an O-1. If you are worried about the pay, then you might want to rethink joining.

Right On, NursePam, you took the words right out of my mouth.....

Hooah!

Specializes in L&D, mother/baby, antepartum.
To the students or recently commissioned USAF nurses, can you tell me a little bit about the process to apply? Since I started so late, my recruiter is doing the best he can to explain it to me and help me along the way but I'd like to hear about others' experiences so that I can be prepared. Plus, I still don't fully understand the "board" process that supposedly starts in October. I have filled out all the paperwork, gotten all the required supporting documents and now am setting up my MEPS and Chief Nurse appointments.

Are there any AF nurses out there that could tell me a little bit about their experiences? I have read all the posts here on allnurses.com but I'm just still very curious as to your experiences in the nurse corps with things like particular bases, starting out as a 2nd lt. and other specific questions. I only have experience with civilian acute care nursing, and I'm very curious as to how hard it will be for me to adjust to AF nursing (my specialty is L&D/NICU).

Just my opinion, but I don't think you have started the process late at all. In fact, I think you are right on target. Starting the application one year out from graduation should leave you plenty of time to prepare to leave for COT. In my case, I began the application in October, my application went to the board in January, and I finally heard about my acceptance in March. I was off to COT in May. It went by quickly but was also nerve-wrecking!

Sounds like you have your ADN and are working toward your BSN, is that correct? Have you already worked L&D? That should certainly work in your favor if that is the case. I'm L&D at Langley AFB in Virginia. We are one of the busiest L&D units in the AF (second only to Lackland I believe). I've only got one year in the AF but I absolutely love it. I worked civilian nursing for 3 years before going AF and the experience has been wonderful. I've received excellent training opportunities and have already been sent TDY to a 4 day inpatient OB conference--100% paid! I also just attended ALSO (Advance Life Support in Obstetrics)--a course that can be hard to find and is primarily targeted toward providers. I've only been off orientation to my unit for 8 months and I'm already precepting new LTs and I'm a charge nurse. Granted I have previous experience but the AF has utilized that and I certainly feel appreciated. Transitioning to the AF was pretty easy for me. It took a little time to acclimate to the military itself, but nursing is the same.

If you do have previous exp as a nurse make sure to speak to your recruiter about getting credit toward rank. I have and MSN (which got me automatic 1LT) and I got 6 months TIS toward Capt. I'll make Capt later this year. When I started the recruiting process no one told me about the possibility about coming in at a higher rank. It was only after my Chief Nurse interview that I found this out. Make sure to ask lots of questions so you can get the most out of your commission!

Yea I was looking for someone to talk about their experience in the AF because I am looking to join it too. I just got my ATT today (excited), and will take the NCLEX soon. I am positive I'll pass in 75 questions. I saw a recruiter recently, and they have much to offer such as free graduate school, and travel... But you have to be a regular RN for 4 years in general medicine before they sponsor you for graduate school, hmm...

Starting out at o1 is horse manure too, considering you start at o2 in the usphs, but the AF signing bonus is lower...

o1 is like 16 dollars an hour if u work 40 hours a week... and that is 4 dollars less than where I am (Missouri)... Nurses generally start out at 20$/h here.

But then you have to calculate housing and food allowances, and it gets even more complicated!

Also, keep in mind MEDICAL CARE IS ONE HUNDRED PERCENT FREE. I pay over two hundred dollars a month for my DH and I for health insurance at the hospital I currently work at - I'm looking forward to that premium going away!

And remember this as well - since you get a housing allowance, the sixteen bucks an hour you make as an O1 w/o prior service IS FOR EVERYTHING ELSE (in most cases - I'm prior service so I'm well aware of the possible pitfalls of a housing allowance). Housing and BAS (your 'food allowance') is NON-TAXABLE as well - so it's sort of worth about twenty to thirty percent more than what you're getting because you're not paying taxes on it.

Current BAS for an O1 is about $223, if I'm remembering correctly (I'm too lazy to go downstairs and get my paperwork). The lowest housing allowance is about $800 a month, and while I know that's not always enough, it is adjusted according to whether you have dependents or not and to where you live. And still - $800 a month puts a HUGE dent in your bill. . .

DrCOVID, DNP

461 Posts

Specializes in psych/medical-surgical.

Thanks everyone for bringing these points up... most of them I have already taken into consideration. I am in the process of applying to the Air Force now. The application process is so darn lengthy/redundant.

pkid3183

118 Posts

Specializes in NICU, intermidate nursery. PICU..

hey i am taking my nclex on august 5 and i started my process for AF reserve already i just need to take the asvab test which is schedule two weeks after my nclex. i been studying so much for the nclex havent look at any material for the asvab. i am really excite about joining but at this point the recruiter was telling me that there is no nursing jobs in my area. i hope once i take the test and get settle in i get do nursing. Any advice?

jeckrn, BSN, RN

1,868 Posts

Specializes in EMT, ER, Homehealth, OR.
Yea I was looking for someone to talk about their experience in the AF because I am looking to join it too. I just got my ATT today (excited), and will take the NCLEX soon. I am positive I'll pass in 75 questions. I saw a recruiter recently, and they have much to offer such as free graduate school, and travel... But you have to be a regular RN for 4 years in general medicine before they sponsor you for graduate school, hmm...

Starting out at o1 is horse manure too, considering you start at o2 in the usphs, but the AF signing bonus is lower...

o1 is like 16 dollars an hour if u work 40 hours a week... and that is 4 dollars less than where I am (Missouri)... Nurses generally start out at 20$/h here.

But then you have to calculate housing and food allowances, and it gets even more complicated!

You also need to consider the housing allowance (BAH), food allowance (BAS), free medical & dental, free retirement into your pay.

Here is what you would be making as an O1 with BAH as CONUS Average.

base pay 2655.30

BAH 1150.00

BAS 223.04

total 4,028.34

tax advange 330.61

total 4,358.95/ month

yearly income 52,307.39

which works out to $25.14 a hour if you work a 40 hour work week which is a total of 2080 hours. If you work a 36 hour work week (1872) the hourly wage is $27.94/hr.

In 2 years you would be making a equalivent of $72,550 per year or $34.85/40hr week or $38.75/36hr week. Plus you have to add in what you are not paying for medical/dental.

Just because you start out a an O2 in the USPHS does not mean you will be promoted as fast with them since they have a different promotion system.

jeckrn, BSN, RN

1,868 Posts

Specializes in EMT, ER, Homehealth, OR.
yea i was looking for someone to talk about their experience in the af because i am looking to join it too. i just got my att today (excited), and will take the nclex soon. i am positive i'll pass in 75 questions. do not go in over confidant, it can bite you in the butt. continue to study, good luck. i saw a recruiter recently, and they have much to offer such as free graduate school, and travel... but you have to be a regular rn for 4 years in general medicine before they sponsor you for graduate school, hmm...

starting out at o1 is horse manure too, considering you start at o2 in the usphs, but the af signing bonus is lower...

o1 is like 16 dollars an hour if u work 40 hours a week... and that is 4 dollars less than where i am (missouri)... nurses generally start out at 20$/h here.

but then you have to calculate housing and food allowances, and it gets even more complicated!

nnnnn

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