10 Pros and Cons of Being an Air Force Nurse + Steps to Become + Salary
Written By: Jennifer Schlette MSN, RN
Nurses are typically seen as angels in scrubs, but what do you know about being an air force nurse? What is it like to be a member of the military and work for the Air Force Nurse Corps? It has been said that all jobs have their pros and cons, but what are the pros and cons of being an air force nurse? Being an air force nurse has its challenges but do the pros of this profession outweigh any negative aspects. Well, that is why I wrote this list of the top 10 pros and cons of being an air force nurse. This list will help you figure out if you should pursue this career and help you decide which side sounds more appealing!
What Does an Air Force Nurse Do?
Do you want to know what an Air Force nurse does? A U.S. Air Force Nurse is a registered nurse who works for the United States Air Force. They work in a military role and care for the medical needs of airmen, their families, and military retirees in various care settings. Air Force nurses may work with medical teams on the battlefield or in hospitals during natural disasters. They work with dangerous equipment in high-pressure situations with multiple casualties. They must be able to take care of themselves and others when things get dangerous.
Air Force nurses also work in clinics and on bases, where they may see patients for routine maintenance such as check-ups and immunizations and more severe conditions. They may also be called on to provide mental health care to airmen and their families. Air Force nurses are highly trained and skilled professionals who play an essential role in the health and safety of our troops.
Where Does an Air Force Nurse Work?
You can find an air force nurse working in a variety of settings. Some of them work on the front lines, such as those working at military bases
. At times they will be stationed in war zones and remote areas. Other air force nurses serve in more traditional nursing roles, such as caring for patients back home. They may also be involved in research or teaching. No matter where they are working, air force nurses provide an essential service to the country and its people.
How Much Does an Air Force Nurse Make?
As with many careers in the world of nursing, your salary as an air force nurse will be based on your level of experience. The average air force nurse salary is around $68,267 a year. This annual salary means that you will be earning $32.82 an hour. If you are just beginning your career as an air force nurse, you will be earning around $17.07 per hour, which is about $35,500 a year.
Once you have gained some experience and are considered to have mid-level experience, your salary will make quite a jump. You will earn an annual salary of around $85,000 a year, about $40.87 an hour. Now, if you have reached the top level of experience, you can expect to make $124,000 a year, which is around $59.62 an hour. Keep in mind that since an Air Force nurse is part of the United States Armed Forces, your salary will also correlate with your military rank
| Level of Experience || Hourly || Annual |
| Entry-Level || $17.07 || $35,500 |
| Mid-Level || $40.87 || $85,000 |
| Top-Level || $59.62 || $124,000 |
| Average Salary || $32.82 || $68,267 |
4 Steps To Becoming an Air Force Nurse
The first step to becoming an air force nurse is that you will need to attend and graduate from a nursing program accredited by the Air Force Surgeon General
and the National League for Nursing
or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
. Please note that the entry-level requirement to be an air force nurse is a bachelor's
Next, you must pass the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses NCLEX-RN
The next step to complete in order to become an air force nurse is that you will have to begin the application process. This application process can occur during your last year of school after you graduate.
You must then complete a transition course. This course will help you train and transition from the life of a civilian nurse to that of a military nurse. This training course will have some physical demands, but you will be guided by the help of a preceptor.
TOP CONS OF BEING AN AIR FORCE NURSE The following are the top 10 disadvantages of being an Air Force Nurse.
1. You cannot be an air force nurse without a bachelor’s degree.
Your education counts when it comes to being an air force nurse. The Air Force requires all nurses to have a bachelor’s
degree upon entering the Air Force Nurse Corps. If you already have a job as an associate’s prepared nurse, it is even more important to get your R.N., BSN degree. Now, why do they want a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree? Nurses need to know critical thinking, research methods, leadership, and management skills which a bachelor’s program teaches. With technology ever-changing in the health care field, nurses need to be able to keep up with the latest trends and practices.
2. You will need to be in tip-top shape at all times.
As an air force nurse, you must remain physically fit at all times. You will be required to complete physical training throughout your time in the air force. You may also be required to participate in physical fitness tests. You basically cannot ever lighten up on your diet or exercise at any time. To some people, this is one of the pros and cons of being an air force nurse that you will have to consider. This is because physical fitness is essential for the safety of both you and your patients. You may be called on to provide medical care in difficult or dangerous environments in the air force, so you need to be physically prepared for anything.
3. You may have to deploy overseas.
One of the top disadvantages of being an air force nurse is that you may get deployed overseas. For example, suppose you are sent to Afghanistan or Iraq. In that case, there is a big chance that you will not be able to come home on time during the holidays, birthdays, wedding anniversaries, etc. You also have to be mentally and emotionally prepared for the possibility of working in a war zone. In fact, you may even see dead bodies or wounded soldiers. So, if you are not comfortable with the idea of being deployed overseas, then it would be best to reconsider joining the air force nursing corps.
4. You may have to work in the field.
Another one of the biggest disadvantages of being an air force nurse is that you may have to work in the field. Depending on your job, this could mean that you will be deployed to a war zone. This means there is always a chance of you getting injured or wounded yourself. Working in the field can be stressful and can take a toll on your mental and physical health. You will need to take care of injured soldiers who are hurt in the line of duty and are in a lot of pain in the field. This can be very challenging and emotionally draining work. Emergencies can also occur at any time, so you need to be prepared for anything that comes your way.
5. You may have to relocate many times with your family.
One downside to being an air force nurse is that you may have to relocate yourself and your family many times. This can be difficult, as you have to uproot your family and leave your friends and support system behind. It can also be tough to find new friends, as you are always the new person in town. If you have children, they will always be the new kid. This can be hard on them, as they may not have the opportunity to form strong friendships.
6. You may have to leave your family.
One of the most significant cons of being an air force nurse is that you may have to leave your family at times. You may often be required to go on deployments that can last for months at a time. This means that you will be away from your loved ones for long periods of time, and you may not be able to see them very often. This can be difficult for you and your family, as it can be hard to be apart for long periods. You will miss a lot of firsts and milestones in your families' lives.
7. You will have to serve a certain amount of time with the air force
When you decide to enter the air force as a nurse, you must be willing to enlist for four years. That is quite a long time to have minimum control over your life. You are under contract and cannot break that contract. It is not as easy as quitting a job.
8. You will not be able to express your individuality.
As an air force nurse, you are part of the military. You will not be able to express your individuality. You must dress the same and have the same hair. This ensures that you are easily identifiable as a member of the air force and show unity among all nurses. You will be better equipped to serve your country by having a standard appearance. Additionally, it will be easier for patients and their families to identify you and know that you are there to help them.
9. You will have to take orders from others
If you are somebody who does not want to take orders from other people, then this may not be the career path for you. As an air force nurse, you will have to take orders from your commanding officer and other nurses on the team. It is crucial to be able to respect authority and follow directions in order to provide the best care for your patients. If you cannot do this, the military may not be a good fit.
10. You will have to work long hours.
One of the disadvantages of being an air force nurse is that you find that you will have to work long hours. This is because there is always a need for nurses in the military, and the hours can be demanding. This can leave you feeling exhausted and stressed, impacting your work performance.
TOP PROS OF BEING AN AIR FORCE NURSEThe following are the top 10 advantages of being an Air Force Nurse.
1. You can retire after 20 years.
One of the top pros of being an air force nurse is that you will be able to retire after 20 years of service. This is a huge benefit, as many civilian nurses only get to retire after 30 or more years of service. This means that you will be able to enjoy your retirement sooner and with fewer years of service under your belt. This is a great benefit and can allow you to start your retirement sooner.
2. You will not lose your medical benefits when you retire.
One of the pros of being an air force nurse is having your medical benefits for life. This means that even after you retire or leave the military, you will still have access to quality healthcare. This is a significant benefit that can help you maintain your health and wellness for years to come.
3. You can have your education paid for.
As an air force nurse, you can look forward to having the military pay for your education. You can essentially advance your career through education for free. This is a great way to achieve your dreams if you do not have a built-up savings account. Receiving a free education through the air force will also help you avoid taking out loans for school and ending up in debt. One of the pros and cons of being an air force nurse you will need to think about is that if the military pays for your education, you may be indebted to them for a certain amount of time in exchange for that free education.
4. You will get a certain stipend.
As an air force nurse, you will be entitled to certain stipends, including a stipend for housing off base. You will also be entitled to free accommodation on the military base where you work. These benefits can really cut down on your cost of living. Plus, you'll have access to the tremendous military base store, where you can buy items at a discount. Be sure to take advantage of these benefits, and you will be able to save money while serving your country.
5. You can get incentive pay.
Another one of the biggest advantages of being an air force nurse is receiving incentive pay. What is the incentive
pay system you may ask? The incentive pay system is the idea of receiving extra money if you are an air force nurse in tough-to-fill specialties or work under challenging conditions. For example, suppose you are assigned to a remote location with difficult living conditions. In that case, you can get an additional amount of money per month added to your base pay. If you are deployed overseas into a war zone, you can get an additional money per month added to your base pay. There is pretty much incentive pay for any other duties and circumstances you may encounter.
6. You can see the country.
If you are somebody who loves to travel and see all that this country has to offer, then a great way to do it is as an air force nurse. Air force nurses are able to see all parts of the United States, and they often get to do it very quickly. This is an excellent opportunity for those who love to travel because it allows them to see many different places in a relatively short amount of time. If you are somebody who wants to see the country and find a rewarding career, air force nursing could be perfect for you.
7. You can see the world.
Another one of the top pros of being an air force nurse is the opportunity to travel and see new places around the world. Nurses in the Air force are often given a chance to travel worldwide, from Europe to Asia. This is an excellent opportunity for nurses who want to see more of the world or those looking for a new adventure. No matter where you go, you can be sure to experience new cultures and learn new things. So, if you are looking for an opportunity to see the world, Air force nursing may be an excellent option.
8. You will have job security.
As an air force nurse, you will have job security. The air force is always in need of nurses. You will not have to worry that you will be jobless one day. The United States Air force will always have a new and exciting opportunity in nursing waiting for you. You can be confident that your career as a nurse in the air force is secure.
9. You will be well respected.
One of the advantages of being an air force nurse is that you will be well respected by your colleagues and patients and those you come in contact with. The profession of an air force nurse is highly respected and admired by many, and you will be able to take pride in your work. You will have the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of those you serve and will be able to help keep them healthy and safe.
10. You will stay fit and healthy.
An air force nurse needs to stay healthy and fit. You will have to participate in training exercises as part of your employment. You can expect to run several miles, do pull-ups, sit-ups, push-ups, and do other activities daily. This exercise will keep you physically fit. You will also have to maintain a healthy diet.
My Final Thoughts
A career in the Air Force is one of honor, commitment, and adventure. Nurses in the air force are in one of the most honorable professions, but they also have to endure some tough challenges. As with any profession, there are pros and cons to being a nurse in the Air Force. If you are considering a career in nursing and think that being an air force nurse might be for you, you should understand what are the pros and cons of being an air force nurse. The article that you have just read with the top 10 pros and cons of being an air force nurse will give you the tools to decide if this is the career path for you.
Jennifer Schlette MSN, RN
Jennifer Schlette is a registered nurse in pediatric critical care in New York City. She is the former Director of Undergraduate Nursing at a college located in New York. After obtaining her BSN from the College of Mount Saint Vincent, she went on to complete her MSN.