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Air Force Psychologist

In the past, Air Force psychologists were typically responsible for assisting officers select qualified aviation cadets. To do this, they utilized various psychological evaluations to determine aptitude and skills. Currently, demand for qualified Air Force psychologists to provide clinical mental health services, initiative interventions, and organize prevention programs has increased because of troop deployments overseas.

The burden placed upon military personnel and their families resulting from multiple deployments and combat has increased demand for psychologists in every branch of the armed services. Many members of the military and their families struggle with depression, anxiety, and marital problems.

Those whoíve been involved in combat often work with counselors and psychologists to cope with post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) and other emotional problems resulting from combat. If not dealt with properly, military personnel and veterans coping with PTSD can struggle with anxiety, suicidal thoughts, anger management, depression, and substance abuse.

Additionally, to make mental health services more accessible and less stigmatized, the Air Force has organized the Behavioral Health Optimization Program, a program where psychologists and mental health professionals are staffed in veteransí hospitals and other medical facilities. Since mental health professionals are now being staffed in hospitals with medical doctors, they can be identified easier, which increases the likelihood that someone needing help will seek it.

Psychologists working for the Air Force are also frequently staffed at deployment centers to work with military personnel getting ready to be deployed in warzones. At these facilities, psychologists organize substance abuse and suicide prevention programs, provide instruction about stress coping techniques, and meet with service members struggling with anxiety related to their scheduled deployments.

Civilians typically do not understand the stresses, emotional suffering, and physical strains many members of the armed forces must endure. Air Force psychologists spend a substantial portion of their time diagnosing problems and recommending treatment strategies for service members returning from combat zones. Those employed at medical clinics and veteransí hospitals frequently assist individuals struggling with chronic pain, severe depression, sleeping disorders, and various mental health problems.

Air Force psychologists also work closely with the family members of military personnel since they frequently must cope with anxiety and depression as their loved ones are deployed overseas or struggle while transitioning to civilian life. Additionally, family members frequently must cope with depression and major life changes if their loved ones are injured while serving in the military. Psychologists also often organize and preside over marriage, relationship, and group counseling sessions.

In addition to their clinical responsibilities, Air Force psychologists still train and assess individuals training to be combat pilots. Many also recommend pilots for certain assignments and missions.

Aspiring Air Force psychologists must be trained in psychology and possess some knowledge of aviation science, which is often developed by serving in the Air Force. Licensed civilian psychologists are often hired by the Air Force to work in veteransí hospitals and other medical clinics.

Air Force psychologists typically have the following responsibilities:
  • Finding Pilots
    Air Force psychologists are usually responsible for conducting psychological evaluations for aspiring pilots. Military officers and leaders rely on these evaluations when determining whether certain individuals are qualified to begin pilot training or participate in certain missions.

  • Training Pilots
    Air Force psychologists frequently participate in pilot training, especially training programs intended for pilots responsible for selecting targets to bomb.

  • Clinical Psychology
    Air Force psychologists diagnose mental health conditions, administer treatment, and organize group counseling sessions and substance abuse prevention programs.

  • Deployment Therapy
    Since military personnel preparing to be deployed frequently struggle with anxiety, psychologists are readily accessible to recommend stress management and substance abuse prevention techniques.

  • Returning Soldiers
    Psychologists frequently assist military personnel returning from combat zones since many struggle with PTSD, chronic pain, depression, substance abuse, and anxiety.

  • Families
    Family members of Air Force personnel often do not cope well with their loved onesí long deployments. Likewise, itís typically very emotionally stressful to assist a veteran struggling with PTSD or chronic pain, especially when these issues negatively impact relationships and marriages.

Since psychologists are in high demand, the Air Force has begun to offer very generous signing bonuses and tuition assistant programs for aspiring Air Force psychologists. Civilian psychologists often specialize, so those interested in multiple career opportunities should consider working for the Air Force or another military branch. Begin a career as an Air Force psychologist by first completing an accredited college degree program.
 
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- Psychology Specialities -

Air Force Psychologist
Army Psychologist
Child Psychologist
Clinical Psychologist
Cognitive Psychologist
Consumer Psychologist
Counseling Psychologist
Developmental Psychologist
Educational Psychologist
Engineering Psychologist
Experimental Psychologist
Forensic Psychologist
Geropsychologist
Health Psychologist
Industrial-Organizational Psychologist
Media Psychologist
Military Psychologist
Navy Clinical Psychologist
Navy Research Psychologist
Neuropsychologist
Psychotherapist
Rehabilitation Psychologist
School Psychologist
Social Psychologist
Sports Psychologist

- Counseling Specialities -

Career Counselor
Child Counselor
Child Abuse Counselor
Community Counselor
Domestic Violence Counselor
Gerontological Counselor
Licensed Professional Counselor
Marriage and Family Counselor
Mental Health Counselor
Military Chaplain
Military Counselor
Multicultural Counselor
Rehabilitation Counselor
Substance Abuse Counselor
Veterans Counselor
Victims' Advocate

- Social Work Specialities -

Army Mental Health Specialist
Child Welfare Social Worker
Clinical Social Worker
Disability Policy Worker
Disability Case Manager
Geriatric Social Worker
Medical Social Worker
Mental Health Social Worker
Public Health Social Worker
Substance Abuse Social Worker

- Therapy Specialities -

Art Therapist
Exercise Therapist
Existential Therapist
Marriage and Family Therapist
Music Therapist
Primary Therapist

Career Spotlight
Industrial-Organizational Psychologist

Organizational psychologists, often referred to as Industrial-Organizational Psychologists or I-O Psychologists, are some of the highest paid psychology professionals in the world.

I-O psychologists develop techniques meant to enhance productivity, assist managers assigning employees to project groups, and improve product testing methods for private corporations and government agencies.

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Licensure Requirements
Psychologists
Counselors
Social Workers
Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT)