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JRCOSTEP Frequently Asked Questions

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Where do JRCOSTEP participants work?
JRCOSTEP participants work in the various operating divisions (OPDIVs) that make up the health agencies with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):

JRCOSTEP participants also may work in other OPDIVs within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including:

Other Federal agencies for which JRCOSTEP participants may work include:

Click here for a listing of the Commissioned Corps liaisons for each of the preceding organizations.

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What are the eligibility requirements for JRCOSTEP?
To be eligible for JRCOSTEP, you must:

  • Have completed at least 1 year of study in medical, dental, or veterinary school; at least 2 years of study in a professionally accredited baccalaureate program in one of the following disciplines: dietetics, engineering, medical record administration, physician assistant training, nursing, pharmacy, sanitary science, computer science, dental hygiene, medical laboratory technology, or therapy (e.g., occupational, physical, speech-language pathology, or audiology); or be enrolled in a master's degree or doctoral program in a health-related field.
  • Return to college or to a post-graduate training program in a commissionable profession immediately following participation in JRCOSTEP.
  • Be enrolled full time in a program of study accredited by an acceptable accrediting body.
  • Be free of any obligation or responsibility that would conflict with your ability to serve in the Corps, such as membership in or a service obligation to another uniformed service (Indian Health Service scholarship recipients may participate in JRCOSTEP).
  • Qualify for appointment in the Commissioned Corps. A successful applicant must:
    • Be a U.S. citizen
    • Be younger than 44 years of age
    • Meet the medical requirements

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How much will I earn?
JRCOSTEP participants receive the basic pay and allowances of an Ensign (pay grade O-1) officer (For 2006, this was approximately $2,500/month.). You also will receive certain costs of travel and transportation between your home base and your program participation location. Your base pay will be adjusted for prior service in any other uniformed service.

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What benefits will I have?
JRCOSTEP participants are entitled to some, but not all, of the rights, benefits, and privileges accorded to Corps officers serving on extended active duty. Annual leave (vacation) is accumulated at the rate of 1 day for each 12 consecutive days of active duty. You will need to use all of your annual leave during your JRCOSTEP active-duty tour or forfeit it. Sick leave is authorized as needed. If you go on to become a full-time Commissioned Corps officer, your JRCOSTEP service will count toward your time in service, which affects pay and promotion rates. In addition, once you have completed your JRCOSTEP tour, you will become a member of the Inactive Reserve Corps and, as such, will continue to accrue credit towards future base pay.

Health care is restricted to emergencies and space-available care at a military/medical treatment facility. You are not entitled to space-available flights on military aircraft. JRCOSTEP participants are not required to wear a Corps uniform unless directed to do so by the director of the Office of Commissioned Corps Operations, in which case you will receive a uniform allowance of $250 to help defray the cost of a basic uniform.

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How do I apply?
Both JRCOSTEP and SRCOSTEP applicants will apply to the Commissioned Corps via the electronic call to active duty (eCAD) system. Applicants who encounter problems with the eCAD system should contact the Division of Commissioned Corps Recruitment at 800–279–1605. Applications for JRCOSTEP are accepted on a rolling basis for positions that are available throughout the year. You may apply to the program according to when you would like to be called to active service. (Some flexibility may be allowed at the request of an Agency/Operating Division/Program.)

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How does the selection process work?
After the application deadline, there is a short period of time during which the Division of Commissioned Corps Assignments processes and organizes files, collects documents, and takes other steps to prepare complete files for review. Next, a selection panel consisting of representatives from the agencies that wish to select JRCOSTEP participants meets to review application files and make selections. Individual agencies will contact the students they selected to offer them a JRCOSTEP assignment. The student may decline the offered assignment, but there is NO GUARANTEE that another agency will subsequently make the student an offer. Once a student declines an offer, the agency has the right to extend the offer to another student and has no obligation to make any further accommodation for the declining student.

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Last updated on 6/10/2008