Can Medics Receive Course Credit for Nursing Skills Learned in the Military?

If you’ve worked as a medic in the armed forces, then you may be wondering whether you can apply your experiences and training to become a nurse by earning course credit. Until recently, many colleges did not recognize military service as transferable, which means that you wouldn’t have been able to receive course credit for skills that you learned while in the military. However, today’s educational landscape is changing. Several schools have instituted programs that are specifically designed for former military medics who want to become nurses.

High Demand for Nurses

There’s a shortage in the nursing community. In May 2014, Time magazine wrote about military vets wanting credit for their skills. The report noted that “the nation will need 260,000 more registered nurses than it’s scheduled to produce” by 2025, an estimate produced by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. With an aging Baby Boomer population and more widespread access to health care under the Affordable Care Act of 2010, there’s a higher demand for medical professionals across the board. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that registered nurses will see a job increase of about 16 percent by 2024, which is much faster than the average for other occupations. Despite the increased demand for more nurses, many colleges do not have a direct access program in place for veterans to earn their degrees. Fortunately, this practice is changing due to a better understanding of the skill set involved in military medical careers.

Transferable Skills and Training

A military medic undergoes intense on-the-job training in combat, trauma and emergency medical care. While they primarily practice on the field in difficult situations, medical professionals within the military also handle routine tasks like blood pressure checks, patient monitoring and administration of medications. High-stress circumstances give veterans a solid background in dealing with medical problems under pressure, which is a skill that can’t always be taught in simulations during nursing school. Several schools in the U.S. have started to recognize that these transferable skills help veterans achieve success as nurses.

Related Reading: Is Nursing a Good Degree for Former Military?

Slow but Steady Changes

In December 2015, Military Times reported on the schools that are offering course credits for military service, particularly those in the nursing field. George Washington University in Washington, D.C., for example, offers a program specifically for veterans who meet nursing prerequisites. The program is expedited, requiring just 15 months or four semesters to complete. In Texas, Collin College allows veterans to enter a fast-track nursing program that can be finished on a flexible schedule in three semesters. These changes have been brought about in part by grants set aside by the Health Resources and Services Administration, a division of the Health and Human Services Department. Since 2012, the HRSA has been working with schools to ensure that veterans gain access to fast-track programs in an effort to recognize military service members for their skills and training. If these programs are successful, it’s likely that other universities will follow suit.

Over the past few years, several schools in the U.S. have begun recognizing that veteran students bring significant life experience and training to the table, which has spurred the creation of military-to-career programs in high-demand fields. If you’re wondering whether you can earn course credit for your service as a military medic, then the answer depends on the school that you choose.