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Commissioned Corps

Commissioned officers

The federal government also offers a career path through the Commissioned Corps of the US Public Health Service (USPHS). Health professionals interested in pursuing this path will serve as a commissioned officer assigned to the Indian Health Service for a minimum two-year service commitment.

The USPHS is one of the seven Uniformed Services of the United States. However, it is not a branch of the Armed Forces. It provides a spectrum of outstanding federal benefits available to all Uniformed Services.


  • Accession bonus (sign-up bonus) varies by specialty and requirement.
  • 30 days paid vacation.
  • 10 paid federal holidays.
  • Sick leave as needed.
  • Comprehensive health care.
  • Tax-free subsistence housing allowance.
  • No-cost malpractice coverage.
  • Non-contributory retirement.
  • Thrift savings (contributory) retirement.
  • Annual continuing education where available.
  • Space-available flights on military aircraft.

Eligibility Requirements

  • US citizenship.
  • Meet current physical, medical, and security requirements
  • Must be under 44 at the time of commission.
  • Bachelor's of science in nursing or a master's of science in nursing (with no qualifying baccalaureate 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 Registered Nurse 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)

Visit the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) website Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving  for more information on employment and benefits as a Commissioned Corps officer.