What do Army Psychologists do?
Jan 31, 2015 | 9:00 am
Choosing to be an Army Psychologist can be a rewarding career decision for the right person. As a psychologist in the Army, you will work with military personnel and their families, who often require the same services available to them that are available to the public at large—this includes psychological services. Army personnel and their families experience additional issues and problems that are not common to the public at large, so an Army Psychologist must be uniquely qualified to help with issues such as frequent relocation and possible combat trauma.
Educational and Other Requirements
An Army Psychologist must hold a doctoral degree in clinical psychology, counseling psychology, or another subspecialty of psychology. To obtain a doctoral degree, the candidate will need a bachelor’s degree, and usually a master’s degree as well, in psychology or a related field from an accredited college or university. In addition to holding a doctoral degree, the individual wishing to pursue a career as an Army Psychologist must have a current, unrestricted and valid license to practice psychology.
The United States Army requires all persons joining to complete a basic training program designed to teach the basic skills required to be a soldier regardless of the person’s Military Occupational Specialty. The Army also restricts service to those between the ages of 21 and 42. There is an exception to this restriction in that the Army will allow officers between the ages of 43 and 60 to serve a two year contract under the Officer Accessions Pilot Program. For active duty personnel, the Army requires U.S. citizenship, but for permanent residence who wish to practice psychology in the United States Army reserve duty is open to them.
Duties and Responsibilities
As an Army Psychologist, you will have a vast number of opportunities to apply your training to both practical situations and further research. Some Army Psychologists conduct research using cutting edge technology in state of the art facilities, while others work directly with Army personnel and their families, or supervise other mental health care professionals.
Army families have to deal with unique situations that most other families never, or seldom, have to face. A very common issue faced by members of an Army family is the requirement to relocate many times in a short amount of time. Children living in an Army family routinely change schools as they are uprooted every time their parent is transferred. With the nature of the work done by soldiers, the loss of a parent or spouse is a real, and ever present, possibility. The Army Psychologist will be uniquely qualified to understand and help children and families cope with these situations.
Pay and Benefits
In the United States, military salary is based on rank and number of years of service. An Army Psychologist who is a captain with five years of experience will earn the same as any other captain with five years of experience. As of 2013, an Army Psychologist with the rank of second lieutenant (O-1) and two years of service was paid $42,588 per year while a captain (O-3) with more than ten years of experience would earn $70,351 per year.