If you enjoy helping others and have considered a career in healthcare, you may wonder about the possibility of getting a nursing degree while enlisted in the military. The military provides several ways to help students pay for college. Should you join an ROTC program in order to offset college expenses? You could wait until after your service and take advantage of the GI Bill. How do these options compare to getting a degree while being enlisted?

Nursing Degrees and the Military

The simple answer to whether or not you can get a nursing degree while enlisted in the military is “yes.” However, a number of factors contribute to whether you will want to do this. First, you need to look at what type of nursing degree you are seeking. You can become an RN by completing a two-year associate’s degree program, or you can get your BSN at a four-year school (please see: 30 Best RN-BSN Degree Programs). Some nurses pursue master’s degrees as well. If you completed your BSN through an ROTC program and wish to pursue an MSN while enlisted, your educational and career path will be much different from military personnel pursuing an associate’s degree while enlisted.

Getting a degree during your military career is similar to getting a degree while working full time in the private sector. Many individuals do it, but it does take a lot courage and stamina. For military personnel, the possibility of deployment can also cause issues with completing a degree program on time. While getting a college education during your military service is possible, you may also wish to consider other opportunities.

Reserve Officers’ Training Corps

ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) is an alternative to getting a degree during your military service. ROTC members are given scholarships based on a service obligation signed with a branch of the military. The program pays for all or part of a college program and provides officer training to participants. In exchange, upon graduation, participants complete specified obligatory service. The terms of service vary depending on commissions, scholarship contracts and other circumstances. By participating in ROTC, graduates enter the military as officers. For many, this is an ideal means of paying for a college education.

GI Bill

Many military veterans take advantage of the GI Bill to help them pay for a college education. This is a great way to get your nursing degree after your military service. The GI Bill pays for all or part of a college education for veterans. You can learn more about how this program can help you get a nursing degree from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Many military members have careers in the private sector before or after their military careers. You certainly can get a nursing degree while enlisted in the military, but this is only one of several different ways that enlisting in the armed services can help you with a career in healthcare. Now that you know more about your options, you can decide how might you fund your nursing degree through service to your country.