How to Become a Naval Psychologist

Why Do We Need a Naval Psychologist?

One has heard many times that having a career in the military or armed forces is surrounded by mental, emotional and psychological challenges and stresses. Such careers are known for causing mental problems in and navy careers are of no exception. To try and ensure that naval officers and personnel do not suffer from mental of emotional problems that can hamper their work performance, we have naval psychologists.

The primary objective of a naval psychologist is to accurately determine and diagnose any possible mental and psychological issues or disorders that naval officers might have. It is necessary to provide treatment to correct any psychological issues and a plan must be devised to ensure the issue does not relapse. If you wish to have a fast paced career in the medical field and enjoy the water, then you should become a naval psychologist.

What is the Work Environment for a Naval Psychologist?

As a naval psychologist, you may find yourself working in a number of different settings. It is no surprise that you need to spend a lot of time with your patients – this field of psychology requires high patient involvement and interaction. This could mean that you may have to accompany naval officers and the crew during missions, deployment or training. You may have to board vessels, submarines or ships to assist and treat patients. On the other hand, you may also work in military hospitals, clinics, training grounds or recruitment centers.

What are the Requirements to Become a Naval Psychologist?


As with most psychology careers, a great deal of emphasis is given to educational qualifications. To become a naval psychologist, you must successfully complete a bachelor’s program (general psychology, clinical psychologycounseling psychology, or related field is preferred) along with a master’s in psychology with relevant specialization. However, many positions require a doctorate in psychology. Depending on your undergraduate degree, experience, and the (target) university/program, you may skip master’s degree and enroll directly in a Ph.D. program. The program you enroll in for psychology should be recognized and accredited by the American Psychological Association. Candidates also have the option of enrolling in a military or naval program at the Uniformed Services of Health Sciences.


Naval psychologist usually require one year internship before starting their career. Furthermore, depending on the type of work and the work environment, naval psychologists may be expected to accompany naval personnel during training or deployment, for which it is necessary to be familiar with swimming. Being familiar with the technical jargon and terminology of the navy may also be a plus point.


Certification is not mandatory for naval psychologists. However, board certified psychologists may be given preference by employers as a minimum standard of excellence is guaranteed. To learn about certification needs you should consult with the American Board of Professional Psychology.

Necessary Skills and Qualities

A naval psychologist must be familiar with the hardships and challenges a naval officer or personnel may face. Doing so will allow the psychologist to connect and understand the patient at a deeper level. As a naval psychologist you must also be familiar with the mental and physical demands of a naval officer. You need to have good communication and listening skills so that the patient is comfortable opening up to you.

Opportunities for Advancement

There are many opportunities for advancements for psychologists who are interested in entering the navy as a physician. At first you may start by evaluating and studying new recruits. As you gain experience and knowledge about the industry dynamics, you may get the opportunity to work with naval officers and personnel who are serving. Growth in this career is greatly dependent on the level of experience you possess.

What is the Salary of a Naval Psychologist?

The salary of a naval psychologist is something that is determined primarily by experience. As the years go by serving as a naval psychologist, you will witness increases in rank and ultimately earning potential. The average annual salary of a naval psychologist is $64,000 (  Those candidates that possess many years of experience in treating various patients and handing different cases are usually in a position of strong bargaining powder in the labor market.

What is the Job Outlook for Naval Psychologists?

The job outlook for naval psychologists is quite favorable. This is because the government and project directors have witnessed the correlation between a health mind and personnel output and performance. Due to this strong correlation, naval psychologists are heavily used to ensure that the navy’s assets and team members are performing up to the standard.

At the same time, naval psychologists are heavily used during screening, recruitment and evaluation of new entrants to the field to ensure that only the best of the best are enrolled. In these times when national security is given priority and defense budgets expand, governments are ready to expand their naval fleets and therefore recruit and hire more personnel. This in turn has triggered an increase in the demand for naval psychologists to ensure that naval personnel are well looked after.

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