Alright- This is intended to be the first post in a sticky about HPSP for clinical psychology. I will attempt here to cover the basics, and then check in periodically if there are specific questions not answered. 1. What is it? HPSP stands for Health Professions Scholarship Program. It is a scholarship in the sense that you don't have to pay the money back, but in return for the tuition, books and stipend you owe the military time as an active duty psychologist. HPSP is also for dentists, MD's, nurses, and what not, but the clinical psychology part of the program is quite different in several key ways. 2. Which services offer it? Army, AF, Navy. The Marines receive their medical care from the Navy, so there is no such thing as a Marine psychologist. (At least not a provider) 3. When do you apply? You should begin the process in or around December, as it takes about 3-5 months to actually find out if you are accepted. You must go through MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) to get your physical, fill out a huge application packet, go through a background investigation, and wait. While you are waiting, your packet goes to Ft. Sam Houston (Army--The Navy and AF do something similar) and is reviewed by a centralized board of officers. This is called being "borded." If there is anything missing from your packet (and there will be) you will be asked to produce it. After all of these errors are corrected, the US Senate must confirm your nomination to be a military officer. THEN you are sworn in as a 0-1. (Army/AF Second Lieutenant or Navy Ensign, Junior Grade.) 4. What happens next? In the fall of the next academic year, you begin to receive your stipend, and the school gets paid tuition. About a million things will go wrong with this part as well. Get used to it, it's the military. 5. What are my obligations while in school? Pass all your classes, comps and finish your dissertation if possible. 6. What year can I apply? You can start in December of your first year, but most people do not get it that year, because the military would rather pay less of your tuition. You can reapply, the 2nd and 3rd years, but the committment is the same (3 years--POST LICENSURE). 7. If I get it, what happens in the 4th year? The same things that happen to everyone else, except your APPIC Application is a little different. You are obligated to apply to the military sites and you must rank them 1-5 (for the Army) and I think the AF and Navy have 2 sites. You can apply for civilian sites as well, but why? You have about a 99.9% chance of matching with the military and you have to take it when you do. You have to rank those civilian sites below the military sites, and there is no doubt that if you take a civilian deferment to one of them you will make WAY LESS MONEY while an intern. Internship on Active Duty is the start of your time as such, but NOT YOUR PAYBACK. 8. What is the pay? Assuming you have no prior service, it will be 0-3 (Army/AF=Captain, Navy=Liuetenant) with 0 years time in service. I am not going to post pay scales here, because they change almost every year. Just type in "Military Pay Tables" and it is all over the internet. Look up "0-3, 0 years in service." That's the monthly pay. Plus you get BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) and BAS (Basic Allowance for Sustinence). These are both untaxed and BAH is based on zip code. Add all that up, and that's how much you will make, starting from the FIRST DAY of your internship on active duty. That is better than just about any internship in the country with maybe the exception of some prisons. 9. When does my payback start? AFTER YOUR LICENSE IS ACQUIRED. The Military does not care what state you have your license, but you have to have one before you start your payback. That means you will probably do a couple of "free" years for them before you start whittling away at the 3 year committment. 10. Do psychologists deploy? YES. Everyone in uniform has a mission they perform "in garrison" (on post) and "in the field." It is usually the same thing. Psychologists have a field mission, which means they go to scary places like Iraq. Do not let a recruiter tell you "oh, you'll just be in a medical center the whole time." They are lying. Now for a few pearls of wisdom that only come from having been in the Army for minute. ("For a minute" is sarcastic Army slang, for "for a while.")- Since HPSP is primarily used up by MD's, Dentists, and such AND since recruiters rotate out about every 2 years a clinical psychology student who calls them and wants to apply is an anomaly, and therefore firghtens and confuses them. While you go through the process it will feel as if they have NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE. This is because they haven't. MD's and everyone have very different timelines, internships, residencies, etc and so their programs are different. The Army only recruits about 18 HPSP students per year, as opposed to 100's of MD's. To use our terminology, your application is a "low base rate phenomenon" and therefore they will mess it up. Do not lose hope however. There is light at the end of the incompetent recruiter tunnel. If you absolutely love the idea of doing this as an Army/AF/Navy officer, all the BS is worth it. But DO be ready, patient and willing to harrass people at the local recruiting station, for they will: 1. Lose paperwork. 2. Not know the answers to routine questions. 3. Not return your phone calls. 4. Change who your assigned recruiter is and neglect to tell you. 5. Go on leave RIGHT AT THE TIME the Senate is confirming candidates. 6. Etc. The lesson is this: In the miltary, you have to MAKE PEOPLE do their job. It is a bummer, but an unfortunate by-product of an organization of over 1 million people. Caveat!!! DO NOT TAKE HPSP FOR THE MONEY!! Do it because you LOVE the idea of being a military psychologist, not a psychologist who happens to be in the military and you are just biting your time until your comittment is up. You will be miserable, and make your colleauges miserable. Thats all I have for now. T4C said he would move it or whatever and make a sticky out of it.