How to Become a Marine Psychologist

What Does a Marine Psychologist Do?

A marine psychologist is the person who does the work of helping other servicemen or women keep healthy psychologically and mentally. This is a very important professional because of the severe psychological and emotional issues that occur during the service. When these mental and sometimes even psychological traumas occur, they need to be handled professionally. If not, the outcomes can be damning. Usually, the active servicemen and veterans including their families require lots of counseling to be able to handle the pressures of the nature of work of a marine.

Marine psychologists also assist senior officers in terms of decision making aspects.

  • Conducting research on the issues that influence the mental health of marines and veterans.
  • Providing counseling to active marines and veterans concerning the traumatic events in their lives. They may even be counseled together with their families which also go through problems when the marines are not in the best psychological health.
  • They work to prevent problems that may come with the duties that marines have to contend with before they get to extremely catastrophic levels.
  • Develop training strategies that will have the best impact upon the ability of the marines.
  • Treatment of psychological and mental problems or ailments that the marine or veteran is facing.
  • They work with the top commanders in determining the personalities best suited for certain ranks within the unit. This ensures that servicemen get responsibilities that they are best placed to handle.

What are the Education Requirements to Become a Marine Psychologist?

Usually, the person who wishes to become a marine psychologist can either be a civilian or an active service person. Following are the options available to one who wishes to follow this career path:

  • One can get required education and training from a military-based institute. Military institutions normally offers coursework in such areas as clinical psychology and even medical psychology. One has the option of joining this kind of study as a civilian or a serving marine.
  • One can also complete a doctorate degree from the normal, civilian based universities. This would need to be a degree in counseling psychology or clinical psychology. Thereafter, the student would need to apply for an internship at a military based institution. This is usually for a period of one year and comes after five years of post-baccalaureate training.

As a precursor to this doctoral degree, a bachelor’s degree is important. The bachelor’s degree should ideally be in the field of psychology. However, other programs too are usually acceptable for admission into a graduate school. Studies in statistics and psychology are very beneficial to a student wishing to apply for a master’s degree.

For the marine psychologist, a doctoral is important. To this end, one has the option of going for a Doctor of Psychology, Psy.D. Alternatively, the student can choose to enroll for Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology. To successfully earn a PhD degree, one needs to have done an original research work with a comprehensive dissertation. For Psy.D, it takes lots of practical training as well as passing examinations to be able to make it.

Depending on the institution one chooses to go for the doctorate, it might be necessary to go for a master’s in psychology to be given admission.

Related: How to Become a Clinical Psychologist

Why Do We Need Marine Psychologists?

Marine psychologists are highly specialized and trained in assessing and treating the psychological needs of people in military. One might argue that a general psychologist would be adequate in treating military personnel. But this assumption disregards the unique culture and set of issues experienced by Marine personnel.

In most branches and fields of the military, personnel are thoroughly trained in all skills that might be required of them during their service. Whether an enlisted individual is a machinist, medic, strategist, or officer, the government ensures that their training is of the highest quality for their specialty and focuses on the specific skills, systems, and issues they will be working with. This caliber of training needs to be extended to the mental health care provided to active personnel.

Most psychologists obtain their education and training in universities and facilities focused on the needs and customs of civilians. While there is some crossover, there is certainly a need for mental health professionals who are literate in issues relating to transitioning to civilian life from the military. Individuals currently in the military have special needs that deserve assessment and treatment from highly skilled psychologists.

Military personnel face stressors, traumas, and relational dynamics that are often incomprehensible to civilians. To offer them mental health assessment and care from a civilian psychologist would be doing them a disservice. It is critical that the field of marine psychology remain its own specialty.

What is the Salary for a Marine Psychologist?

The experience, rank and the number of years the marine psychologist has worked will determine the pay one gets. In 2011, for example, those with two years’ work experience earned around $ 51,600 per year. On the other hand, one with ten years’ experience earned around $92,400.

Of course the benefits of being in service are also reaped by these professionals; bonuses and free medical cover are some of them.

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