Senior Commissioned Officer Student Training and Extern Program (SRCOSTEP)

Are you looking for financial assistance to complete your education for a public health career?


This highly competitive program is available to full-time students about to begin their final year of academic study or professional training. Those selected for the program will become Commissioned officers in the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) and receive full pay and benefits of an active duty officer for up to 12 months just for finishing their education and training. In return for financial assistance, SRCOSTEP participants agree to work for the USPHS sponsoring agency as a Commissioned Corps officer immediately after graduation. The service obligation is equal to twice the time sponsored. For example, for nine months of financial support a SRCOSTEP participant commits to 18 months of employment with the division or organization that provided the support as a Commissioned Corps officer. To continue in a career as a USPHS Commissioned officer, SRCOSTEP participants must concurrently complete a 24-month obligation upon graduation.

SRCOSTEP Quick Facts
Applications received for SRCOSTEP from students graduating in 2017 86
Students selected to be SRCOSTEP Participants 5 Nurse
9 Pharmacy
1 Physician Assistant
Federal agencies that selected SRCOSTEP Participants Federal Bureau of Prisons
Indian Health Service
Application period for students graduating spring or summer or fall of 2019 only September 1, 2017 - October 13, 2017

*Students in good standing in the following programs are especially encouraged to apply:


Pay and Benefits

SRCOSTEP participants receive the basic pay and allowances of an Ensign (pay grade 0-1) during each month they are enrolled in the program. Your base pay will be adjusted for prior service in any other uniformed service.

Additional benefits include:

  • Full-time position serving your country the day after graduation
  • Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH): Tax-free allowance intended to be used on housing (e.g., rent, mortgage, etc.). The exact amount is based on the cost of living of the duty station.
  • Free health care provided through TRICARE
  • The same privileges and benefits accorded to active duty Corps officers


All SRCOSTEP participants must be enrolled full-time in an academic/professional training program which upon completion will qualify them to receive a commission in the USPHS Commissioned Corps. Refer to the FAQs for more information about the Commissioned Corps entry criteria.

In addition, applicants for SRCOSTEP must also meet certain physical, medical, and security/background requirements.

How to Apply

To apply to SRCOSTEP, visit the How to Apply page and follow the steps provided. Good luck on your continued studies and we hope to see you on tour for SRCOSTEP.

SRCOSTEP Testimonials

Read this series of testimonials from recent SRCOSTEP participants to learn what the program is all about.