First off, I spent over 10 years in Active Army and National Guard as a Medic. I'm a combat vet and although I'm ING now for school hardship reasons, I'm an NCO and in good standing with my NG Unit and plan on going back to drills when my weekend clinicals are done.
With that said, I'm currently a Registered Nurse working on my graduate degree in public healthcare. I have about 1 1/2 years left and depending on a few things the Army might tell me, I may or may not get my Nurse Practitioner License. This would bring me to about 33-34 years old when I graduate.
My intentions are to commission as a Captain through Active Duty Army. With over a decade of experience, many awards, lots of combat time in medical units, and letters of recommendations, I was hoping this would be an easier process than it has been. Since it's still a couple of years away, I haven't been able to get a straight answer from a recruiter. If anyone has the time, I'm wondering the following:
1. Will my age be an issue? I understand the Nurse Corps caps off around 29 yo. and as I said earlier, I'll be in my mid-30's when I'm fully graduated/licensed beyond my RN.
2. Will my nearly $100k of student loans be paid in full?
3. Will I be able to commission with or without my NP as a CPT? If I don't need my NP I wont waste another year prior to joining to get it when I can get my NP while already in. I'm hearing conflicting stories that some MSN get direct commission as a CPT and others as 1LT but always that NP gets CPT.
4. Will I also be eligible for a bonus? I understand that sometimes it's either/or with tuition reimbursement.
5. Last, I have about a year or so left of my enlistment contract and I would also like to know if commissioning prior to the end and doing a transfer would be better than waiting until I ETS.
Thank you so much for your time, any info would be great!