Military Psychologists Salary Outlook

Months or years of military service on the frontlines can lead to severe mental and emotional stress for military personnel and their families. War can affect the member’s actions and thoughts. Some studies indicate that most enlisted military members are affected by a mental or emotional disorder.

Their family members also can have mental and emotional problems stemming from their loved ones overseas for months or years. Thoughts of their military members being in possible danger can also cause mental anguish.

Military Psychologists Work With Military Members and Their Families

Military psychology is a special form of the field that focuses on military members and their families. Military psychologists often perform psychiatric evaluations, assess and treat mental and emotional problems stemming from military service, and offer counseling services tailored to military personnel and their families.

Many military psychologists specialize in clinical and counseling psychology. They spend most of their time assessing, diagnosing, and treating military members with mental and emotional problems.

They could need to discover the degree of the member’s emotional trauma and recommend treatment. Some of the other common problems that plague military members are depression, anxiety, PTSD, and sleeping problems.

Military psychologists need to be highly educated to earn the highest salaries. For example, the U.S. Army is hiring clinical psychologists. They require a doctorate in clinical psychology or clinical psychology from an APA-accredited program. You also need to have completed an APA-accredited clinical psychology internship. The Navy also requires a doctoral degree.

Because of the intense educational requirements, it is wise to review the salary potential for military psychologists. Below is more information.

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Salary Outlook for Military Psychologists

Several authoritative websites provide detailed salary information for psychologists, and some provide salary information for military psychologists specifically. They are listed below.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not report salaries for military psychologists. However, its median salary for all psychologist careers – $80,370 – is in line with other websites’ estimates of salaries in this specialty.

BLS also states that the lowest 10% of psychologists earn less than $45,300, and the top 10% earn more than $132,000.

Additional psychologist salary information:

The data also shows salaries for the top industries; government workers, including those in the military, tend to get top psychologist salaries:

  • Government: $96,800
  • Hospitals: $88,480
  • Ambulatory healthcare services: $82,250
  • Elementary and secondary schools: $76,900

This website states that the national average salary for military psychologists is $80,460, with a range between $22,000 and $154,000. It also notes that most military psychologists earn between $45,000 and $103,500. reports the average salary for a US Army psychologist is $104,885, with a range between $45,000 and $188,000. reports that the average military psychologist’s salary is $72,661, with a range between $50,000 and $96,000.

Military Psychologist Job Outlook

The job outlook for military psychologists is strong. BLS reports jobs for all psychologists will rise by 14% by 2028, much faster than average compared to other occupations.

Overall, employment for clinical and counseling psychologists will grow because of more demand for mental health services in hospitals, mental health centers, and social service agencies. In addition, Americans are living longer and healthier lives and want to address their psychological problems to get the most out of life.

BLS also reports more psychological services will be required for military veterans suffering from PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.

What The Experts Say

To learn what the experts have to say about working as a military psychologist, we checked some trusted sources:

Question: “Is it possible to become a military psychologist as a civilian?”

“Yes. Eighty percent of the mental health providers employed by the Department of Defense are DoD Civilians – civil service. Only those positions which are deemed deployable are filled by uniformed personnel.” – Michael Lee Russell, Forensic Clinical Psychologist and Neuropsychologist.

“The term “military psychologist” has several meanings. If you are asking about becoming a clinician, where one actually works directly with military personnel in a clinical setting, the hierarchy of the “chain of command” is important to the function of any military installation, including hospitals. The Veterans Administration, on the other hand, does employ civilian clinicians in several capacities.” – Barry Lauritzen, Former Infantryman, US Army 1975, Designer and Drafter at Honeywell E&TSC.

“You do not become part of the military but are either hired on contract, become a DOD civilian, or do temporary work for them. I have met [several people] who have done this and it can be a great career. The best way to do it is to become a Department of Defense civilian. You are in the civil service and get good benefits. Contract work usually has no benefits, and you [work at will]. That means that they can say at any time, ‘the contract is ended – goodbye.’” – Stewart Marshall, B.A. Sociology & Psychology.

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A psychology career in the military can be a solid choice. You will earn a good salary and enjoy many military benefits, and a pension if you stay in the service for 20 years. Job demand for psychologists is rising, so this can be a good career path, especially if you have a passion for working with military personnel.