How Do You Become a Nurse After Military Service?

NurseAfter retiring and leaving the military behind, you may find yourself wondering how you can become a nurse after military service. The time that you spent in the military taught you how to respond to feedback and criticism, what to do during emergency situations and how to follow orders. Even if you did not work as a nurse in the military, you can still become a nurse later, but you will need to follow the same steps that other nurses take.

Attend Nursing School

Before you can become a nurse, you must attend nursing school. Many nurses earn an associate’s degree in nursing, go to work in the field and later enter an RN to BSN program that allows them to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing and make more money. If you have an interest in a specific field of nursing, including oncology or pediatrics, keep in mind that you will typically need to graduate and spend two to five years gaining more experience before working in one of the specialized fields.

Pass the NCLEX

You cannot become a nurse after military service just because you have a nursing degree and finished school. Every nurse working in the United States today must pass the NCLEX, which is an extensive examination that looks at how well you understand nursing and medical topics. The questions cover everything from legal and ethical issues to symptoms of different diseases and the treatments of those diseases. Prior to taking the test, you must pass a background check in your state and submit your fingerprints for testing at a local police station. If you do not pass the examination on your first attempt, you can take it again and continue taking it until you pass.

Things to Consider

If you worked as a nurse in the military, finding work after leaving the military may be easier. The military requires that all nurses go through nurse training and be a commissioned officer. This means that you will need to go through boot camp and fulfill all the other requirements of being an officer before working as a nurse. The experience you gained in the military may also help you find work in a specialized form of nursing. For example, many military nurses can take the certification examinations needed for working as field nurses or ER nurses.

Income and Outlook

Many men and women express an interest in nursing because of the job stability. If you want to become a nurse after military service, you probably care about what the future holds. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median rate of pay among nurses working in the United States is $31.48 an hour or $65,470 per year. BLS figures also show that this field will grow by approximately 19% between 2012 and 2022, which means the nursing field will add more than 526,000 new jobs.

Related Resource: Jobs in Business After Military Service

Whether you spent a few years or a significant portion of your adult life in the military, you likely want to find a great job when you leave. Nursing gives you good job stability and ensures that you make enough money to support yourself. To become a nurse after military service, you will need to finish a nursing degree and pass the NCLEX examination while in the military or after you retire.