Special Pay for Nurse Corps Officers

Capt. Michelle Gauthier, 52nd Medical Operations Squadron certified registered nurse anesthetist at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, injects medication into an IV during a scheduled surgery. (US Air Force/Senior Airman Eydie Sakura)
Capt. Michelle Gauthier, 52nd Medical Operations Squadron certified registered nurse anesthetist at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, injects medication into an IV during a scheduled surgery. (US Air Force/Senior Airman Eydie Sakura)

If you are thinking of becoming a nurse in the military, you should know that you can get financial assistance for your schooling as well as nice sign-on bonuses and special pay.

The military pays full-time students enrolled in an accredited bachelors degree program in nursing up to $2,300 per month. Once you sign the contract you become eligible for an accession bonus (AB) of up to $20,000 as well as the monthly stipend. 

This is only at schools that don't have a Senior Reserve Officers Training Corps (SROTC) program, and you must agree to a service commitment after you get your degree. You must also have completed at least two years towards your nursing degree.

After graduation you must agree to accept a commission in the reserves and agree to a four or five year active commitment. If you don't graduate or fulfill your reserve or active duty commitment you have to pay back any money you get. 

Once you graduate, you will receive a commission as a Health Profession Officer (HPO) and become eligible for incentive pay and a retention bonus.

Retention Bonus (RB)

After the initial period of obligated service ends, HPOs may sign on for an additional length of time and get an RB. The bonus varies by specialty and length of time. The RB is paid annually when the extension is signed and on the anniversary date. Depending on the situation, an HPO can sign a new service agreement while they are under an existing RB contract. They can do this to get more money, but they have to serve the additional time. This depends on the needs of the military.

Incentive Pay (IP)

IP is paid to HPOs in designated specialties. It is a monthly pay, and paid to HPOs who agree to serve at least one additional year. The amount varies by specialty and length of additional service. HPOs can get IP and and RB at the same time if their specialty warrants it. Like the RB, HPOs can sign a longer IP agreement for more money at any time depending on the needs of the service. 

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