Education and Training Opportunities

Are there opportunities to further my education and/or earn continuing education credits while on active duty in the Commissioned Corps?
Yes, however the opportunities are determined by the agency and/or program that an officer serves and are offered on a case-by-case basis.

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What other sources are available for advanced degrees?

As a Commissioned Corps officer you may have access to the educational benefits provided in the Post-9/11 GI Bill if you have not used the bill previously. After 90 days of active duty service, you are eligible to use the Post-9/11 GI Bill. For more information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, visit the Veterans Affairs Web site.

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What is officer basic course (OBC)?

Officers attending the 14-day OBC will receive an introduction to the Commissioned Corps. Emphasis is placed on the Corps as a uniformed service. This course is designed primarily to assist the transition of new officers to the Corps. Military bearing and courtesy, career development, promotions, leave, compensation, awards, and resource utilization are some of the many topics introduced during this course. In addition, it presents an overview of the requirements needed to deploy as a public health and medical resource to meet the response requirements of the Secretary and the Nation in congruence with the National Response Plan.

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As a Corps officer, am I required to attend OBC upon my call to active duty?

Yes. All active duty officers will begin their career in our OBC class that is held monthly. This class is held in Rockville, Maryland and is 2 weeks in length.

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Are there student training and/or funding opportunities available? What about loan repayment programs?

USPHS understands the financial burden of professional education and, in coordination with certain Federal agencies, may offer loan repayment and other educational support programs.

The Commissioned Corps offers two excellent opportunities for students through the Junior Commissioned Officer Student Training and Extern Program (JRCOSTEP) and the Senior Commissioned Officer Student Training and Extern Program (SRCOSTEP). Both programs are highly competitive and are available for students pursuing a commissionable course of study. The Indian Health Service (IHS) Loan Repayment Program (LRP) offers health professionals the opportunity to pay off their qualified student loans while assisting the IHS in meeting the staffing needs of Indian health programs. The LRP awards loan repayment to health professionals practicing in specific health profession disciplines who are willing to commit to a service obligation while working in health facilities serving American Indian and Alaska Native communities.

The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) also offers a scholarship program and a loan repayment program. For further information about these programs:

Several other opportunities through the CDC, NIH, and U.S. Army are described on the Additional Student Opportunities page under Student Opportunities and Training.

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