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Who joins the Corps?

The Commissioned Corps is an elite team of more than 6,000 well-trained, highly qualified public health professionals dedicated to delivering the Nation’s public health promotion and disease prevention programs and advancing public health science. Driven by a passion for public service, these men and women serve on the front lines in the Nation’s fight against disease and poor health conditions.

What are the requirements to be a nurse officer in the Commissioned Corps?

Please refer to the following link for the Basic Requirements:

All Commissioned Corps officers must meet several basic qualifications: you must be a U.S. citizen, be less than 44 years of age, and pass a physical examination. To be a nurse officer, you also need a:

  • Bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree from a nursing program that is accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Current, unrestricted, and valid nursing license from one of the 50 States; Washington, DC; the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; the U.S. Virgin Islands; or Guam
  • Passing score on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

If you just graduated from nursing school and do not yet have a license, you may still apply to the Commissioned Corps. Your call to active duty will occur after you have provided documentation of a current, unrestricted, and valid nursing license.If you are a nursing student or nurse interested in the Commissioned Corps, take the next step!

Contact Us with your questions using our online form,call us at 800-279-1605, or apply online now.

How much will I earn if I join the Commissioned Corps?

Starting base pay and potential bonuses vary depending on the number of years of training and experience, specialty training received, credentials and certifications, geographic location of duty station, and number of dependents, if any. Base pay increases with promotions and years of service. Tax-free compensation is provided for housing and meals. The following charts show base pay by rank and length of service. Click on the pay calculator to compute your estimated salary. 

What benefits would I receive as a Commissioned Corps officer?

Commissioned Corps benefits are generous:

  • Competitive starting pay that increases with promotions and years of service
  • Health care and dental care at no cost
  • Tax-free housing and meal allowances
  • Thirty days of paid vacation per year-beginning the first year
  • Paid sick leave
  • Paid maternity leave
  • Paid Federal holidays
  • Malpractice insurance coverage
  • A retirement plan with benefits eligibility beginning after 20 years of service
  • Thrift Savings Plan [retirement savings and investment plan similar to a 401(k)]
  • Low-cost life insurance
  • Low-cost health care for your family


Am I eligible to receive the same benefits that military members receive?

In the majority of cases, benefits are identical for members of all seven Uniformed Services. The uniformed services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, the Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.

What does a nurse officer in the Commissioned Corps do?

Nurse officers in the Corps:

  • Perform traditional clinical services, including inpatient and outpatient care ranging from newborn care to geriatric services, from obstetrics to orthopedics, from prevention services to chronic care or acute disease management.
  • Conduct research.
  • Manage the review and approval of drugs and medical products.
  • Respond to public health emergencies.
  • Develop and implement national health policies.
  • Develop and implement clinical practice guidelines and evidence-based reports on health care.
  • Coordinate prevention and education efforts on a variety of public health issues.
  • Develop nursing training and education programs for basic and advanced practice nurses.

In some assignments, the focus is on improving clinical care for an entire community of patients. While there is plenty of direct patient care, there are opportunities to work on organized national disease prevention and health promotion programs that can make an impact on disease rates, health disparities, and individual patients’ lives.

Where can I get more detailed information about the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service?

Visit the Commissioned Corps website at