InYourHead

7+ Year Member
Apr 1, 2010
59
0
Status
Psychology Student
I am very interested in working with our service members and veterans, but I am not comfortable with joining the military. What are my options for working with this population without enlisting? Can I still work on a base, or is a VA my best bet?

I know there are a ton of threads discussing HPSP and other aspects of serving the military, but I did not see my question covered. If I missed, please merge this with an existing thread.
 
Jul 29, 2010
630
2
Status
Post Doc
I would say that if you are ambivalent then do not join the military. It is a serious commitment and there is little room for people who are not 100% committed. There are civilian psychologists at some of the larger bases. For example, I know of some at Wilford Hall Medical Center on Lackland Air Force Base (San Antonio, TX) and some at Malcolm Grow Medical Center, which is another AF center outside of DC. Also the VA offers great opportunities to work with our nation's heroes.
 

Markp

Clinical Psychologist
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Nov 19, 2007
2,262
20
Status
Psychologist
I am very interested in working with our service members and veterans, but I am not comfortable with joining the military. What are my options for working with this population without enlisting? Can I still work on a base, or is a VA my best bet?

I know there are a ton of threads discussing HPSP and other aspects of serving the military, but I did not see my question covered. If I missed, please merge this with an existing thread.
First, Ph.D. level military psychologists do not enlist, they are commissioned. There is a big difference between being enlisted and commissioned, just ask any one who has done both.

Second, yes, there are positions at the larger hospitals for civilians. You preferably want to get practicum placements at military facilities during your training in order to enhance your chances. Working with service members is unique and unlike working with a civilian population in many ways. Yes, it's all psychology, but military members have their own unique environmental and social factors that are not found in the civilian world. I believe that experience with this population is VERY helpful during graduate training to enhance your chances at securing a position at a military mental health clinics. These positions are usually very competitive placements and usually very demanding jobs, as you might imagine many successful applicants were once military psychologists.

Mark