Benefits Of A Military Nursing Career

Military nurses provide care to active-duty military personnel and their dependents, retired military personnel and dependents, often in harsh conditions.

Nursing professionals come from diverse backgrounds, cultures, races, and religions. They are mostly men, but some are also women with children. A physician may be assigned to a medical facility anywhere globally, from outpatient clinics to large medical/trauma centers with hundreds of beds.

Military nurses provide care to active-duty military personnel and their dependents, retired military personnel, and occasionally civilian emergency patients. Nurses serving in the military provide medical assistance throughout the world, often in harsh conditions. Furthermore, they may work with medical professionals from foreign countries and care for our allies’ military personnel.

The following are military nurses benefits during service and after they retire.

Pay

Nursing commissions, or pay, are competitive with national standards for the U.S. military services. Nurse Corps officers earn a base pay between $58,000 and $103,000 annually – an average of $70,559 per year.

Additionally, nurses in each branch can earn bonus incentives, usually around $22,000 per year. A nurse who joins or recommits to a contract is eligible for an additional $20,000, known as the accession bonus. Several military incentive-pay programs can significantly boost nurses’ income above their basic salary, including hazardous duty pay ($150 per day) and imminent danger pay ($225 per day).

Additionally, nurses who move forward in their career path will receive special bonuses. Board-certified nurses can earn a $6,000 bonus upon obtaining a specialty certification.

Travel

Among the biggest perks and benefits of nursing in the U.S. military is the opportunity to travel around the world. Every branch of the military offers opportunities to serve at military installations worldwide. Besides the opportunity to travel during service, being a nurse also offers the opportunity to take part in free flights on military planes, known as hops or space-available flights.

Nurses with spare time can take advantage of hops flights as a cheap and adventurous mode of travel. There is no guarantee that the flights will happen, and one may have to wait at a base for several hours for the plane to divert, or no seats will be available. This mode of travel is unreliable, so it should be used cautiously to avoid disciplinary measures for not returning to work on time.

Housing

During the acclimatization process, newly commissioned single nurses may choose to live in barracks, which are dormitories similar to college dorms, which have a room and a common area. The community services on base are similar to those in town, including grocery stores, clothing, specialty stores, gas stations, restaurants, etc. Many bases offer other housing, such as single-family homes or apartments for married nurses.

The basic allowance for housing (BAH) is a perk for officers who qualify to live off base, such as nurses. In addition to being provided monthly, BAH is calculated based on the nurse’s rank, the cost of housing in the area, and the number of dependents. No matter where the installation is located, the military strives to provide nurses with the allowances they need to cover all living situations, whatever they may be. An example would be a nurse living in Fort McCoy, WI, who requires less BAH than one living closer to a base in an expensive urban area like Oceanside, CA.

Paid Vacation

A nurse in the United States Military receives 30 days of paid vacation each year. It is significantly different from the average civilian nurse’s ten days. Military personnel are also entitled to 10 other federal holidays that federal employees observe and paid leave.

Free Medical and Dental Care

The military provides nurses free medical and dental care while on active duty. Spouses and dependents may also access military healthcare services for a small enrollment fee.

Life Insurance

Nurses serving in the Nurse Corps can purchase up to $400,000 in life insurance for a small monthly fee deducted from their paycheck in a catastrophic event.

Veterans Administration (VA) Programs

Veterans Affairs offers a variety of benefits to veterans and their families, including disability compensation, equity loans, and education aid.

GI Bill

Servicemembers and their families can receive the GI Bill education benefit through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Some programs are available to service members who are eligible and on duty to help with training and education goals. 

Currently, there are six GI Bill programs available. These programs are designed specifically for veterans and their families, considering those who have lost a loved one to a line of duty. This benefit allows for training, including a college degree, technical/vocational school, internships, certifications and licenses, work-study programs, correspondence courses, tuition assistance, and tutorial assistance.

After 2013, those leaving the military do not have a time limit to take advantage of the GI Bill. Since those funds are paid directly to the recipient, these programs are not considered financial aid. As a result, most institutions require students to sign promissory notes or apply for actual financial aid to ensure all costs are covered. It can be applied to a range of educational levels and used by beneficiaries in pieces. It depends largely on the number of college credits being pursued and the years of military service.

Thrift Savings Plan

The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) provides retirement savings for armed forces members similar to those offered by the civilian side of the 401(k). Nursing employees can choose from various investment plans and deduct money from their pretax pay. This fund does not tax its assets until they are withdrawn in retirement.

Pension

Unlike most civilian jobs today, a military pension still exists for those who have served at least twenty years in the military. There are two programs available for military retirees. In addition, there is now a new blended retirement system for those who have served at least 20 years and entered the military before January 1, 2018. In addition to the defined benefit, the plan offers a matching TSP contribution and two bonus payments for continuing pay, and a lump sum at retirement. Base pay is used for calculating retirement funds near the time of retirement.

Low-Cost Healthcare Insurance

TriCare health and dental care are available for a significant discount to qualified military personnel and their dependents. The annual cost of full-coverage health insurance with a low deductible and low out-of-pocket costs can be as low as $600 for a family of three. According to where the retiree resides, the care a retiree receives is either provided at military installations or privately in medical offices and facilities.

Individual State Benefits

Military retirees in many states are entitled to additional benefits. Alabama doesn’t tax retired military pay, while California waives college tuition for retired military and disabled veterans. Additionally, retired members enjoy continued access to military facilities such as shopping tax-free at the Commissary and Exchange and other amenities such as golfing, lodging, theaters, bowling alleys, gyms, etc. There are several military hotels, resorts, and RV parks worldwide that retirees enjoy staying at.

Autonomy of Practice

It is consistently reported by nurses serving in the Nurse Corps in every branch of the military that autonomy of practice benefits them in their work. The military uses standard operating procedures (SOPs) to guide work and practice, but nurses are encouraged to use evidence-based practice solutions and processes. Nurses can achieve the highest level of their scope of practice while remaining an integral part of the healthcare team.

Camaraderie

Nurses and their teams can build camaraderie as they pursue missions and provide day-to-day care for our service members and their families, regardless of their status as reserve or active duty nurses. Nurse Corps members frequently cite the development of lifelong friendships worldwide as a huge benefit of their service.

Training and Advancement

Nurse Corps programs encourage advancement and offer numerous opportunities to train for advanced practice nursing. While serving their contracts, nurses can become Nurse Practitioners, Clinical Nurse Specialists, Nurse Midwives, or Nurse Anesthetists. Besides receiving their full commissioned salary while attending courses also receive tuition assistance. Nursing professionals are likely to remain in the military for many years and benefit from these advancement benefits.Learn more about physical security at PA Guard today. Start with our blog post on whether law enforcement officers can refuse to identify themselves.

Natasha Hardy
Community Manager Natasha has worked for cryptocurrency companies before joining the team. Has helped tremendously in managing our community and online presence since.