Military Psychology Service Options

So you think you want to...
Join the U.S. Public Health Service

Ways they serve:

Clinical Psychologist

Epidemiologist (Epi-Psychologist) 

Research Psychologist

What they do:

  • Traditional clinical work including therapy, assessment, and diagnosis
  • Health psychology
  • Assessment and selection of personnel
  • I/O assessments and recommendations
  • Embedded operational clinical and organizational interventions
  • Policy making and program development
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Epidemic Intelligence Service
  • Community needs assessments
  • Disaster response

Where they serve:

At a variety of federal agencies, including:
  • Center for Disease Control
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Federal Bureau of Prisons
  • Food and Drug Administration
  • Healthcare Research and Quality
  • Health Resources and Services Administration
  • Immigration Health Services
  • Indian Health Services
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • National Park Service
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • US Coast Guard
  • US Department of Agriculture
  • US Marshals Service

Benefits:

  • Internship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students
  • Federal government compensation and benefits, including retirement/pension
  • Educational resources (e.g., GI Bill)
  • Loan repayment programs
  • Diverse career options in a variety of settings with portability between federal agencies

To join, you must have a PhD or PsyD from an accredited institution and a current, unrestricted psychologist license from any US state or territory (for Clinical Psychologists).

For more information

Become a Navy Psychologist

Ways they serve:

Aerospace Experimental Psychologist 

Clinical Psychologist

Research Psychologist

Navy Psychologists may serve at any one of more than 250 Navy and medical facilities around the globe. Opportunities are available stateside and abroad in a variety of settings, on board a surface ship or aircraft carrier, working closely with a nearby aircraft squadron, SEAL team, submarine fleet, or with Marine Corps units.

Aerospace Experimental Psychology:
  • Work to optimize human performance in the flight environment through advancements in Human Systems Integration, personnel selection, training, safety, and human factors engineering.
  • All job positions are located within the continental US. The work settings include research laboratories, test and development agencies, academic institutions, and headquarters commands.
  • PhD scientists with expertise in human factors and the behavioral sciences, including non-clinical areas of psychology such as cognitive, experimental, and industrial/organizational psychology, neuroscience, or an interdisciplinary program emphasizing human factors or behavioral science.
  • If you are a PhD student who has not yet defended a dissertation, you are encouraged to contact them early; the recruitment team will work with you to track your progress, work with your recruiter where applicable, and answer your questions – For more information
Research Psychology:
  • Focus on basic and applied research in areas of military medicine, human performance, and psychological issues.
  • PhD scientists with specialization in any number of non-clinical branches of psychology and related fields, including cognitive, experimental, social, industrial/organizational, human factors, engineering, personnel, neuroscience, and physiology.
  • Employed at Naval hospitals and facilities located throughout the world, as well as the major Naval research centers and laboratories. – For more information
Clinical Psychology:
  • Focus on the diagnosis and treatment of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders, as well as the application of psychological science within an organizational and operational setting.
  • Requires a doctoral degree in Clinical or Counseling Psychology (PhD or PsyD), completion of a clinical internship and ability to obtain an unrestricted state licensure as a Psychologist.

What they do:

  • Traditional clinical work including therapy, assessment, and diagnosis
  • Health psychology
  • Assessment and selection of personnel
  • I/O assessments and recommendations
  • Executive coaching and command consultation
  • Embedded operational clinical and organizational interventions
  • Policy making and program development
  • Officership and leadership
  • Teaching, training, and instruction (e.g., Naval Academy, internship sites)
  • Preventative resilience building
  • Psychological first aid

Where they serve:

  • Hospitals and clinics
  • Embedded with operational commands (e.g., SEALS, Marine Corps units, submarine units, aircraft squadrons)
  • Aircraft carriers and surface ships
  • Hospital Ships (USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy)
  • Deployments with ground troops
  • The White House
  • SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape) School

When and how to join:

Prior to graduate school:
  • Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS):
    • Fully funded, APA-accredited, PhD in Clinical Psychology while receiving pay as an active duty Navy Officer
    • Open to civilian and military applicants
    • 2 individuals are accepted into the Navy program per year
    • Program is 4 years with 1 year of internship (guaranteed slot)
    • Officers incur a 7-year active duty Navy commitment upon successful completion of internship.
  • For more information
During graduate school:
  • Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP):
    • Funds either the final 1 or 2 years of academic coursework (not internship year) while enrolled in an APA-accredited PhD or PsyD program in Clinical or Counseling Psychology
    • Includes payments for tuition, book stipend, fees, and a monthly stipend (as of 2021, more than $2,300 per month)
    • Must have 1st year of program completed prior to applying
    • 2 separate scholarships (must apply to just one). 1 year: funds the last year of academic coursework (so year 4 if you are completing a 5 year program with internship as your final year). 2 year: funds the last 2 years of coursework (so years 3 and 4 if you are completing a 5 year program with internship as your final year)
    • Those who receive the 2 year scholarship will likely have the ability to complete Active Duty Training (ADT) during the summer and receive pay as an Active Duty officer during this time
    • Receiving the HPSP scholarship guarantees placement at a Navy internship (at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth VA)
    • Applicants must meet the medical and administrative qualifications to serve as an active duty Navy officer.
  • For more information 
  • Email div19studentrep@gmail.com to request an HPSP mentor
Predoctoral Internship:
Postdoctoral Fellowship in Clinical Psychology:
Post-Licensure:
  • Direct Accession: Available for licensed Psychologists to join following licensure for competitive early career pay and benefits and unique clinical opportunities.
    • Accept applications on an on-going basis
    • Must have graduated from an APA-accredited doctoral-level clinical and/or counseling psychology program (PhD or PsyD)
    • Must have graduated from an APA-accredited doctoral internship. This may be waived if applicant is Board Certified from American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP)
    • Must have an unrestricted psychology licensed from any US state
Postdoctoral Fellowships:

The Navy offers 1-2 year specialty postdoctoral fellowships at various locations to active duty Navy psychologists who have obtained independent licensure and have completed at least their first duty assignment. Navy psychologists are selected to attend fellowships and typically incur an additional 2-4 year active duty obligation. Following fellowship, a “utilization tour” is completed in which the psychologist practices in the specialty.

  • Operational Psychology (1 year): Advanced training in a wide range of applications of operational psychology principles in practice, specifically within Navy Psychology.
    • Completed through rotations with various civilian and military federal government agencies in the National Capital Region.
  • Pediatric Psychology (1 year): Advanced training in the child psychology.
    • Can be completed at any approved, accredited civilian institution.
  • Clinical Neuropsychology (2 years): Advanced training in the application of brain-behavior relationships for patients suffering from disorders of the central nervous system.
    • Can be completed at any approved civilian institution.
  • Clinical Psychopharmacology (2 years): Advanced training culminating in the attainment of a Masters of Science in Clinical Psychopharmacology to prepare Clinical Psychologists to work within the military setting as Prescribing Psychologists.
  • Forensic Psychology (2 year): Advanced training in forensic psychology with emphasis on military unique legal system requirements.

Additional information:

Division 19 In-Uniform Clinical Psychology Webinar 

For more information on the process for pursuing any of these options, visit the Navy Psychology Recruitment page 

To contact a Navy Officer Recruiter, go to: http://www.navy.com/careers/healthcare

Click on “Find a Recruiter” located at the bottom of the page. Type in the zip code where you will be located at the time you would like to work with a recruiter. Click on “Officer Recruiter.”

When contacting a Navy recruiting office, ask specifically to speak with a Medical Programs Officer Recruiter. Small recruiting offices may not have Medical Programs Officer Recruiters, but they can easily direct you to the nearest one.

Or you can also contact Dr. John Ralph, PhD at john.a.ralph.civ@mail.mil (National Director for Navy Psychology Training Programs).

Become an Air Force Psychologist

Ways they serve:

Behavioral Science/Human Factors Scientist 

Clinical Psychologist 

Air Force officers may serve in a variety of psychology-related fields at locations stateside and abroad in a variety of settings, conducting traditional clinical work, as well as operational psychological support services.

Behavioral Science/Human Factors Scientist:
  • Focus on basic and applied research in areas of behavioral science and human factors in order to enhance the safety and effectiveness of Airmen to complete their respective missions.
  • Requires a Bachelor’s degree in a related discipline such as behavioral sciences, psychology, anthropology, sociology, sociology and anthropology or rural sciences and a minimum 24 months of experience in a Behavioral Influence Specialist position or a master’s degree in approved disciplines
Clinical Psychology:
  • Focus on the diagnosis and treatment of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders, as well as the application of psychological science within an organizational and operational setting.
  • Requires a doctoral degree in Clinical or Counseling Psychology (PhD or PsyD), completion of a clinical internship and ability to obtain an unrestricted state licensure as a Psychologist.

What they do:

  • Traditional clinical work including therapy, assessment, and diagnosis
  • Health psychology
  • Assessment and selection of personnel
  • I/O assessments and recommendations
  • Executive coaching and command consultation
  • Embedded operational clinical and organizational interventions
  • Policy making and program development
  • Officership and leadership (e.g. Element Lead, Flight Command, Squadron Command)
  • Teaching and education (e.g. Uniformed Services University, Air Force Academy)
  • Population health initiatives
  • Prevention/resilience building
  • Disaster Mental Health

Where they serve:

  • Hospitals and clinics
  • Embedded with operational commands (e.g., aircraft, security forces, intelligence squadrons)
  • The Pentagon and The White House

When and how to join:

Prior to graduate school:
  • Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS): a 4-year, APA-accredited PhD program in clinical psychology, with emphasis areas in medical and military psychology; get paid as an active duty Air Force Officer while in school, with a guaranteed internship spot and postdoctoral supervision.
  • For more information
During graduate school:
Predoctoral Internship:
Postdoctoral Residency (Pre-Licensure):
  • “Notch” Fellowship – Program available for individuals who have graduated from an APA accredited program, but are not yet licensed.
Post-Licensure:
  • Direct Accession: Available for licensed Psychologists to join following licensure for competitive early career pay and benefits and unique clinical opportunities.
Postdoctoral Fellowships:

The Air Force offers 1-2 year specialty postdoctoral fellowships at various training sites to active duty Air Force psychologists who have obtained independent licensure and have completed at least their first duty assignment. Air Force psychologists are selected to attend fellowships and typically incur an additional 2-3 year active duty obligation. Following fellowship, a “utilization tour” is completed in which the psychologist practices in the specialty. Postdoctoral training spots are offered based on need and not all specialty fellowships are available each year.

  • Aviation Psychology (1 year): Advanced training for psychologists to provide direct aeromedical support to aircrew and act as a human factors/safety expert, with emphasis on the overlap between aircrew and mental health related conditions, aeromedical waivers, prevention / intervention / optimization of aircrew with emphasis on utilizing mental health provider skillsets in operational aviator environments, and assessment and selection of aircrew and special operators. The fellowship trains a psychologist to provide direct support to Air Force Safety Investigation Boards, conduct aerospace and organizational safety assessments, conduct human factors research, and apply psychological principals for mishap prevention.
    • USAF Safety Center, Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico
  • Operational Psychology (1 year): Advanced training in military operational psychology, focused on principles and application of operational skillsets, including Assessment / Selection, SERE, IO and MISO, HUMINT consultation, adversary profiling, personnel recovery, aircraft mishap investigations, and other critical operational functions.
    • Joint Special Operations Command, Ft Bragg, NC
  • Clinical Health Psychology (2 year): APA-accredited advanced training in the biopsychosocial model and the most up-to-date evidenced-based interventions associated with clinical health psychology. The goal spectrum addresses health concerns and illness through population health research, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. Emphasis on behavioral sleep medicine as it pertains to operational readiness.
  • Clinical Neuropsychology (2 year): APA-accredited advanced training in the specialty area of Clinical Neuropsychology in the application of knowledge of brain-behavior relationships for the benefit of patients suffering from disorder, disease, or injury to the central nervous system.
  • Other fellowships offered: Child Psychology, Forensic Psychology, Psychopharmacology
  • Additional information

To contact an Air Force Health Professionals Recruiter, go to www.airforce.com/#connect

  • Click on “Find a Recruiter.” Type in the zip code where you will be located at the time you would like to work with a recruiter. Select “Healthcare student or professional.” You will be provided with an address and phone number of the closest Health Professions Recruiter. You will also have the opportunity to “Chat Live” with a Recruiting representative.

If you experience challenges or desire assistance in the commissioning process, contact Dr. Ann Hryshko-Mullen, PhD at ann.s.hryshko-mullen.civ@mail.mil (Air Force Internship Training Director).

Additionally, you can reach out to airforcepsychology@gmail.com for additional information and assistance.

Become an Army Psychologist

Ways they serve:

Clinical Psychologist 

Research Psychologist 

Army Psychologists may serve in a variety of psychology-related fields at locations stateside and abroad in a variety of settings, conducting traditional clinical work, as well as operational psychological support services.

Research Psychology:
  • Focus on research examining how physiological, psychological, and social variables impact the health and performance of Army members.
  • Help develop programs, such as interventions and prevention training, to improve the health and lives of Soldiers and their Families.
  • PhD scientists with specialization in any number of non-clinical branches of psychology and related fields, including cognitive, experimental, social, industrial/organizational, human factors, engineering, personnel, neuroscience, and physiology.
Clinical Psychology:
  • Focus on the diagnosis and treatment of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders, as well as the application of psychological science within an organizational and operational setting.
  • Requires a doctoral degree in Clinical or Counseling Psychology (PhD or PsyD), completion of a clinical internship and ability to obtain an unrestricted state licensure as a Psychologist.

What they do:

  • Traditional clinical work including therapy, assessment, and diagnosis
  • Health psychology
  • Assessment and selection of personnel
  • I/O assessments and recommendations
  • Executive coaching and command consultation
  • Embedded operational clinical and organizational interventions
  • Policy making and program development
  • Officership and leadership
  • Teaching
  • Preventative resilience building
  • Psychological first aid

Where they serve:

  • Hospitals and clinics
  • Embedded with operational commands (e.g., special forces units, aircraft squadrons)
  • Deployments with ground troops

When and how to join:

Prior to graduate school:
  • Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS): a 4-year, APA-accredited PhD program in clinical psychology, with emphasis areas in medical and military psychology; get paid as an active duty Naval Officer while in school, with a guaranteed internship spot and postdoctoral supervision.
  • For more information
During graduate school:
Predoctoral Internship:
Postdoctoral Residency in Clinical Psychology:
  • 1-year, APA-accredited postdoctoral residency is offered at each of the 4 Army internship sites, providing guaranteed postdoctoral supervision and support for licensure.
    • Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas
    • Madigan Army Medical Center, Joint Base Lewis-McCord, Washington
    • Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, Hawaii
    • Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg, North Carolina
  • For more information
Post-Licensure:
  • Direct Accession: Available for licensed Psychologists to join following licensure for competitive early career pay and benefits and unique clinical opportunities.
Postdoctoral Fellowships:

The Army offers 24-month specialty postdoctoral fellowships at various training sites to active duty Army psychologists who have obtained independent licensure and have completed at least their first duty assignment. Army psychologists are selected to attend fellowships and typically incur a 4 year active duty obligation. Following fellowship, a “utilization tour” is completed in which the psychologist practices in the specialty.

  • Clinical Child/Pediatric Psychology: APA-accredited program in advanced training in child/pediatric psychology. Program emphasizes general clinical child psychology services as well as focus on work in a medical setting with medically ill children.
  • Clinical Health Psychology: APA-accredited advanced training in the biopsychosocial model and evidenced-based interventions of clinical health psychology to addresses health concerns and illness through prevention, treatment and rehabilitation.
  • Clinical Neuropsychology: APA-accredited advanced training in the application of brain-behavior relationships for the benefit of patients suffering from disorder, disease, or injury to the central nervous system.
  •  Forensic Psychology: Advanced training in forensic psychology with emphasis on UCMJ and military unique legal system requirements. Conducted in partnership with the Army’s forensic psychiatry fellowship at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
  • Trauma Treatment and Health Care Delivery: Advanced training in traumatic stress disorders with emphasis on combat related trauma. Fellows develop expertise in psychological treatments of traumatic stress, and for designing and evaluating programs that address trauma and risk.

Additional information:

For more information on the process for pursuing any of these options, visit the Army Clinical Psychology page 

To contact an Army Health Care (AMEDD) Recruiter, go to https://www.goarmy.com or call 1-888-550-ARMY. If you encounter issues or need assistance navigating the commissioning process, you can reach out to Dr. Patrice Shanahan, PhD at Patrice.e.shanahan.mil@mail.mil (Army Psychology National Training Coordinator).

Become a Non-Uniformed Military Psychologist

Psychologists serve the military psychology community in a number of diverse capacities, in diverse ways that impact active duty service members, veterans, and their family members:

Department of Defense:

Department of Veteran Affairs:

Training opportunities: the VA is the largest provider of training in Psychology in the nation, most of which are APA-accredited.

Additional information:

Civilian arenas:

  • Academic institutions (research and clinical/academic services to AD, veterans, and family members)
  • Private institutions (research and clinical services to AD, veterans, and family members

Research institutes

(advancing psychological science that impacts AD, veterans, and family members)

Resources

Free Military Psychology Training

Academic Programs with Military Psychology Specialty Programs

Conferences

Podcasts

Other Resources