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Clinical Psychologist

A Navy Clinical Psychologist works with another officer to maintain mental health.

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As a Clinical Psychologist and Officer in America’s Navy, you will provide clinical care to service members and their families. You will encounter a wide array of clinical conditions, including those unique to the military environment. In addition to providing clinical care to address the full spectrum of mental health concerns, Navy Clinical Psychologists provide support to the Navy and Marine Corps by:

  • Conducting therapy and providing clinical care to service members in deployed settings
  • Administering and interpreting assessments and evaluations
  • Conducting seminars to help service members, including upper leadership, maintain positive mental health
  • Participating in military training exercises that enhance our ability to reach service members in a wide variety of settings
  • Providing training and mentorship to new generations of psychologists
  • Serving in leadership and policy positions aimed at sustaining mental health within the military
  • Presenting at professional conferences

In your role providing therapy and clinical care to service members, you may gain experience in the following mental health specialties:

  • Post-traumatic stress
  • Family relationships
  • Crisis intervention
  • Stress management
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Grief after loss
  • Anger management
  • Financial issues and planning
  • Career, productivity and leadership issues

Work Environment

Navy Clinical Psychologists serve all over the world, from both U.S. coasts, to overseas locations such as Spain, Japan, Italy or Guam. You may find yourself working at one of our major Medical Centers located in San Diego, CA, Portsmouth VA, and Bethesda, MD. You could also be assigned to a smaller hospital or clinic at other locations around the globe. Navy Clinical Psychologists serve aboard aircraft carriers, alongside SEAL Teams, with Marine Corps Units and at the Naval Academy.

Training & Advancement

Navy Clinical Psychologists must either be licensed psychologists or must enter the Navy through one of our advanced training programs listed below.

Upon entering the Navy and before beginning any advanced training, you must attend Officer Development School (ODS) in Newport, RI. ODS is a five-week program that provides a comprehensive and intense introduction to the responsibilities of Navy Staff Corps Officers. Here you will learn about the military structure of the U.S. Navy, its rich history of traditions and customs, leadership development and military etiquette.

Advanced Training Programs

Psychologists may partake in advanced training as a means to enter the Navy or to further education. Available programs include:

  • Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology Program at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS)
  • Doctoral Internship Program in Clinical Psychology at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD, or at Naval Medical Center in San Diego, CA
  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Clinical Psychology at Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth, VA
  • Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP)

Promotion opportunities are regularly available but competitive and based on performance.

Post-Service Opportunities

It’s also important to note that specialized training received and work experience gained in the course of service can lead to valuable credentialing and occupational opportunities in related fields.

Education Opportunities

Wherever you are in your professional career, the Navy can help ease your financial burdens and advance your career with generous financial assistance and continuing education programs. Opportunities for further education within this platform include:

Through the Navy Health Professions Loan Repayment Program (HPLRP), you may be eligible to receive financial assistance to pay down the cost of your graduate education.

Practicing Professionals

There are advanced education opportunities available to Navy Clinical Psychologists:

  • Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology Program at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS)
  • Doctoral Internship Program in Clinical Psychology at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD, or at Naval Medical Center in San Diego, CA
  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Clinical Psychology at Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth, VA

Offers have many variables. To get details and find out which offer would benefit you most, request a medical recruiter contact you.

Qualifications & Requirements

A degree from a four-year college or university is a minimum educational requirement to become a Commissioned Officer. You must also attend Officer Training. There may be exceptions to the degree requirements based on extensive service experience.

To qualify for employment consideration as a Clinical Psychologist in the Navy Medical Service Corps, you must meet these basic requirements:

  • Be a U.S. citizen currently licensed in the U.S.
  • Be willing to serve a minimum of three years of Active Duty
  • Be between the ages of 18 and 41
  • Be in good physical condition and pass a full medical examination

Internship Qualifications

  • Completion of all academic requirements for a doctoral degree in clinical psychology or counseling psychology from a university or professional school program accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA)
  • Completion of all other requirements, including doctoral committee approval of dissertation topic
  • Applicants are encouraged to visit at least one of the two internship sites in Bethesda, MD, and San Diego, CA
  • Applications must be completed by December 1 (selection board meets in late January, with applicants informed of its decision the second Tuesday of February, date is set nationally for internships by the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers [APPIC])

Direct Accession Qualifications

  • Doctoral degree in clinical or counseling psychology from a program accredited by the American Psychological Association
  • Current state license to independently practice as a clinical psychologist
  • Doctoral degree from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS). A bachelor’s degree is required to enter this five-year program. Upon completion, you are commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Navy

Preferred Internship Qualifications

  • GPA of 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale
  • Completion of doctoral dissertation
  • Experience with inpatient and outpatient care (either as part of training or employment) as well as assessment (testing)
  • Health psychology/behavioral medicine experience

Preferred Direct Accession Qualifications

  • Inpatient and outpatient experience
  • Experience in crisis intervention or disaster mental health, or working with individuals who have been traumatized
  • Health psychology/behavioral medicine experience
  • Professional references that indicate superior clinical knowledge and supervisory/leadership skills

General qualifications may vary depending upon whether you’re currently serving, whether you’ve served before or whether you’ve never served before.

Part-Time Opportunities

Serving part-time as a Navy Reserve Officer, your duties will be carried out during your scheduled drilling and training periods. During monthly drilling, Clinical Psychologists in the Navy Reserve typically work at a location close to their homes. This gives you the flexibility to expand your profession in the Navy without compromising your civilian practice at home.

For annual training, Clinical Psychologists may serve anywhere in the world, whether at sea, in hospitals stateside, or on bases in countries around the world.

Take a moment to learn more about the general roles and responsibilities of Navy Reserve Sailors.

Most of what you do in the Navy Reserve is considered training. The basic Navy Reserve commitment involves training a minimum of one weekend a month (referred to as drilling) and two weeks a year (referred to as Annual Training) – or the equivalent.

Clinical Psychologists in the Navy Reserve serve in an Officer role. Before receiving the ongoing professional training that comes with this job, initial training requirements must first be met.

For current or former Navy Officers (NAVET): Prior experience satisfies the initial leadership training requirement – so you will not need to go through Officer Training again.

Officers who previously held a commission in another United States Military Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Public Health Service, or United States Coast Guard are exempt from attending ODS or LDO/CWO Academy.