More information on the COSTEP opportunities that exist with the Public Health Service can be found at the following link: http://www.usphs.gov/corpslinks/pharmacy/student_costep.aspx
Essentially the Junior Commissioned Officer Student Training and Extern Program (JRCOSTEP) is a program that allows students to work in a Federal Agency, typically during school breaks like the summer months for anywhere from 31 to 120 days, although other opportunities do exist. Participants are not required to serve in the Commissioned Corps after graduation.
Any student who has completed their P-1 year is eligible to apply. The deadline for application for this summers program would have been December 31, 2012, so unfortunately this opportunity has passed for students who would have been interested in participating this summer. The deadline for next summers program is December 31, 2013, so interested students may want to begin researching the application process now so they are prepared come application time. Otherwise, more information on JRCOSTEP can be found at: http://usphs.gov/student/jrcostep.aspx
Senior Commissioned Officer Student Training and Extern Program (SRCOSTEP) is a program for students that have already decided they want to work for the Commissioned Corps after graduation. If selected, a student will become a Commissioned Officer in the U.S. Public Health Service and receive the full pay and benefits of an active duty officer for up to 12 months during the final year of their degree. The service obligation is equal to twice the time sponsored (i.e. if a student receives 9 months of financial support through SRCOSTEP they are committing to 18 months of service upon graduation to the organization that provided the support).
As mentioned, this program takes place during the students final (P-4) year of their pharmacy degree. Interested students should begin preparing to apply after finishing their P-2 year because the window for applying to SRCOSTEP is from September 1st to December 31st of their P-3 year (i.e. students graduating in 2016 will be applying from September 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014).
For more information, students are encouraged to contact the Commissioned Corps 1-800-279-1605
for questions regarding these COSTEP opportunities.