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Commissioned Corps

How to Join in Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service as a Nurse

Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service or USPHS Commissioned Corps.

USPHS Commissioned Corps are the front line workers of public health. They work under different fields like medical, health and engineering and they contribute to fight disease, research, and care for patients in underserved communities across the country (USA) and throughout the world.

It’s one of the nation’s uniformed services who serve in agencies across the government, as physicians, nurses, dentists, veterinarians, scientists, engineers and other professionals. These professionals works in CDC, FDA, Indian Health Service (PHS), NIH, Department of Justice (Federal Bureau of Prisons) and Department of Defense (USA)


  1. Nurse Practitioner
  2. Registered Nurse



  1. Master’s of science in nursing from a program accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing
  2. Passing score on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX)
  3. Nurse need to have Current, unrestricted and valid Registered Nurse (RN) license from any U.S. state, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, or Guam


  1. A Public Health Service officer must be a U.S. native or naturalized citizen
  2. Public Health Service Officers are adults with college degree (Minimum Age 18 and above)
  3. Educational Qualification (minimum) – Nursing (B.S. or higher)



  1. Nurse need to submit their application.
  2. Application will be reviewed by a board of officers
  3. If application passes all criteria the nurse will be called for interview
  4. Along with board review, nurse need to pass a medical exam to be accepted in USPHS.


  1. Nurse need to apply for job opportunities at any one of the partner agencies. There are 20+ partner agencies in USA.
  2. Security clearance has to be done by the nurse during job search and interview.
  3. If selected, nurse will be offered a position within an agency to begin his/her journey as an active duty officer.


Nurse can work at one of 20+ partner agencies. List of agencies are

  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
  • Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Food and Drug Administration
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • Indian Health Services
  • National Institutes of Health
  • Health Resources and Services Administration
  • Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health
  • Office of the Secretary
  • Program Support Center
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Federal Bureau of Prisons
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • National Park Service
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • U.S. Department of Defense
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Division of Immigration Health Services
  • U.S. Coast Guard
  • U.S. Marshals Service


College Loan Repayment

The Indian Health Service awards up to $40,000 in loan repayment to health Professionals in exchange for at least two years of service in health facilities serving American Indian and Alaska Native communities

The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) offers select medical professionals $60,000 in loan repayment in exchange for two years of service at a community-based site in a high-need health professional shortage area. The recipients must apply to and accept a position at an NHSC website

The CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Program provides federal loan repayment in exchange for two years of service practicing epidemiology in CDC or state/local health departments.

Career Advancement and Payroll increases with years of service

Nursing Officers are grow professionally within their agencies, with pay increases based on promotions and years of service

Health and dental care at low or no cost

Nursing officers and their families receive medical and dental care at little or no cost through TRICARE insurance. Coverage begins on the first day of service

Mobility between government agencies

Nursing officers are encouraged to expand their knowledge base and pursue professional opportunities across agencies throughout their tenure in USPHS Commissioned Corps

Tax-free housing and meal allowances

The USPHS Commissioned Corps offers a Basic Allowance for Housing, a tax-free amount to cover rent or mortgage that is calculated by rank/grade, duty station location, and dependent status

Retirement pension plan

Public Health Service officers are enrolled in a Thrift Savings Plan, a retirement plan similar to a 401 (k), and a retirement pension plan with benefits eligibility beginning after 20 years of service

Flexibility to work in a variety of settings

The USPHS Commissioned Corps offers a variety of jobs in rural, urban, tribal and international communities. Nurse Officers serve in 800 different locations across all 50 states and numerous foreign duty stations

Long Term Care and Insurance

Nurses have the maximum of $40,000 of life coverage through Service Members Group Life Insurance (SGLI) plans. Nurses can access to low cost life insurance options for their family

Vacation and Leave Benefits

Nurse will receive thirty days of paid vacation per – beginning the first years. Nurse will be paid for federal holidays. Nurse can have paid sick leave as needed

How to Join in Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service as a Nurse
How to Join in Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service as a Nurse


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