Amount: Over $10,000
Scope (Full or Partial): Full-time scholarship
Target Country: United States of America
Target Audience: Students enrolled in baccalaureate nursing programs
The Navy Nurse Candidate Program (NCP) provides over $10,000 in financial assistance to students enrolled in accredited baccalaureate nursing programs. This full-time scholarship opportunity is open to students in the United States attending nursing schools accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC). Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, with no specific deadline.
The Nurse Candidate Program serves as a financial support system for students pursuing their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees. To be eligible, students must be currently enrolled in a four-year baccalaureate nursing program with proper accreditation.
Applicants can apply following their sophomore year of nursing school. If accepted, they receive an initial grant of $10,000, which is distributed in two installments of $5,000 each. Additionally, participants get a monthly stipend of $1,000, which continues for up to 24 months as they complete their remaining two years of nursing education.
A major advantage of the NCP is that it allows full-time students to concentrate completely on their demanding nursing curriculum and clinical rotations without incurring any military training or commitments during enrollment. This allows them to focus fully on academics rather than financial concerns. Upon graduation and meeting all degree conferral requirements, NCP participants become obligated to accept a commission as an officer in the Navy Nurse Corps.
Benefits of Commissioning
Commissioning as a new Nurse Corps ensign opens doors to an array of rewards, including:
- Competitive starting salary with regular promotion opportunities
- Low-cost, comprehensive medical and dental coverage
- Reduced-rate military travel benefits for themselves and their family
- Highly-regarded retirement package after 20 years of service
- Full educational benefits and opportunities for advanced nursing degrees
- Chance to expand skills through continual technical and leadership training
- Prestigious Nursing Corps title and coveted officer status
- 30 paid vacation days annually
- Access to military fitness centers and recreational facilities worldwide
Additional advantages include the prospect of serving in diverse locations around the world and becoming part of an elite community of highly skilled nursing professionals. Participants can also look forward to a challenging and fulfilling clinical practice caring for military members and their families.
Nurse Candidate Program Service Commitment
The service commitment connected with the NCP only goes into effect once students have graduated, been commissioned as officers, and commenced their period of active duty. All Naval officers, including those in the Nurse Corps, carry an obligatory eight-year service commitment upon commission.
For NCP participants who entered the program during their fourth and final year of nursing school, they must serve an active duty term of four years as a Nurse Corps officer upon graduation.
Meanwhile, students who joined the NCP during their third year of studies incur a five-year active duty service obligation in order to fulfill their contract. The remaining years of the eight-year commitment can be completed in the Navy Reserve’s inactive component if desired.
Formalizing the Commitment
When joining the Nurse Candidate Program, individuals agree to and sign a contract formalizing their future service commitment and appointment. Key aspects of this agreement include:
- Accepting a commission as an ensign in the Navy Nurse Corps after earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited institution. Those with prior military experience may be eligible for a higher initial rank.
- Committing to serve four years on active duty if entering the NCP during the fourth year of a BSN program, or five years if entering during the third year.
- Repaying any recruitment incentives or monthly stipends received if an appointment is ultimately not offered
- Fully reimbursing any stipends or bonuses if failing to complete nursing school, withdrawing from the program, or not maintaining an active RN license as required by the Navy.
- Recoupment of funds is typically not required for reasons like medical discharge, regulations preventing service, or death. Misconduct and illegal absence necessitate repayment.
The Navy Nurse Candidate Program provides noteworthy benefits to assist students financially, including:
- Accession Bonus: A $10,000 total bonus paid out in two $5,000 installments at acceptance and 6 months.
- Monthly Stipend: $1,000 paid twice monthly in increments of $500 on the 1st and 15th. Ceases at graduation.
- Reserve ID Card: Provides access to commissaries, exchanges, and recreational facilities on military bases.
- Active Duty Obligation: Commitment duration correlates to the length of benefits received.
Commissioned Service Advantages
Once students complete the NCP and required BSN curriculum, they are commissioned as nurses in the Navy Nurse Corps, gaining:
- Competitive starting salary with a structured promotion pathway
- Comprehensive low-cost medical, dental, and vision coverage
- Additional training and professional development opportunities
- Chance to serve in facilities around the globe
- A tight-knit community and support system among Nurse Corps peers
- 30 days paid vacation time annually
- Space-available travel for family at reduced costs
- Excellent retirement plan after 20 years of service
- Access to fitness centers, clubs, and resorts on a worldwide basis
- Appropriate accommodations and benefits for families
NCP Eligibility Requirements
Students interested in the Navy Nurse Candidate Program must meet the following standards:
- U.S. citizenship, either native-born or naturalized. Children born abroad to American parents also qualify.
- Complete a bachelor’s degree and be commissioned by age 42 to allow for a 20-year retirement. Waivers allowing service until 64 may be possible for niche specialties.
- Accepted or enrolled in a CCNE or NLNAC-accredited four-year baccalaureate nursing program.
- Maintain a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average.
- Graduate as full-time students taking regular course loads.
- Licensed or eligible for RN licensure through NCLEX testing after earning a BSN
- Meet Navy physical fitness, height, weight, and body fat standards.
- Possess sound moral character without a major legal or drug history.
Transition to Active Duty
As NCP students approach graduation and transition to active duty, they can expect certain milestones:
- Receiving a Duty Preference Sheet 6-7 months prior to graduation to indicate preferred first assignment
- Common first-duty stations include Portsmouth, Walter Reed, and San Diego Naval Medical Centers.
- Promptly furnishing final transcripts after graduation to confirm completion of BSN requirements.
- Taking the NCLEX nursing exam within 45 days of finishing the nursing program
- Receiving official orders 1-2 weeks after graduating and passing the NCLEX licensing test
- Commissioning as an Ensign through a local Navy recruitment office upon program completion
- Attending a 5-week Officer Development School (ODS) in Rhode Island before reporting to the first command.
Contact a Navy medical officer recruiter for more information about the NCP program. Those interested in the Health Services Collegiate Program can request guidance on applying.