Below are common questions about a military internship. Although not an exhaustive list, they provide insight into a military program.
- Q: If I join the military do I have to live on post?
A: You will be given what is known as BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) which will vary depending on duty station location and whether the service member has dependents. This is a sum of money (tax free) that you will receive each month toward housing. Depending on availability, on-post housing may be an option to those who desire it; however, if you choose to live on post you will not receive BAH.
- Q: I’ve never been in the military before. How hard will I find it to fit in?
A: If selected for an Army psychology internship, you will attend a ten-week Officer Basic Leadership Course (OBLC) in San Antonio, Texas before you begin your internship. This program is designed to fully prepare Army Medical Department healthcare providers for service as an officer in the military. Having no previous military experience will not be a hindrance to your internship experience or your time in service following the internship.
- Q: Will I be deployed (sent into a combat theater) if I join the military?
A: Our Nation is currently at war. As a member of the U. S. Army, there is a strong likelihood of being deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom. You will not be deployed during your internship year, however, at some point during the three years of active duty following your internship year, it is expected you will deploy as a military psychologist (e.g., as part of a combat stress detachment, as a division psychologist, etc).
- Q: How will I prepare for licensure if I end up getting deployed after my internship year?
A: The Army is very interested in seeing that you get licensed. Just like doctors in the civilian world, doctors in the military must hold a valid state license (a license in any state is acceptable) to practice independently. You will be afforded time to obtain your license prior to being deployed.
- Q: I’m a fairly laid back person. Is the military all about formality, and saluting, and other customs?
A: Customs and courtesies are important in the military; however you need not be formal every minute of the day while in uniform. The degree of formality that is required depends on the context and situation. For example, meeting your commanding officer will require greater formality and decorum, but the greetings and interactions with your fellow interns and other junior officers are less formal.
- Q: You say I can get deployed, where are psychologists likely to get deployed?
A: As noted above, psychologists deploy as a Brigade Combat Team (BCT) asset or as part of a Combat Stress Control Team. They may also deploy in support of strategic/tactical missions (usually reserved for more experienced psychologists). Psychologists remain in consultant or clinical practitioner roles when deployed in support of combat troops. Many find this type of support to our soldiers and sailors to be the most rewarding experiences in their professional careers.
- Q: Does the military pay for uniforms?
A: Yes and no. When you first enter active duty service you receive an initial uniform allowance of $600.00. After the initial allowance, all other uniform purchases come out-of-pocket.
- Q: Does the Army internship have a basic theoretical focus?
A: During your internship, you will be exposed to a variety of clinical and theoretical approaches in your conceptualization of cases and delivery of treatment services. The Army does not endorse any one particular approach, although short-term treatment models do lend themselves better to the transient nature of our patient and provider population.
- Q: How much control do I have over where my first duty assignment is after internship and how long is this first assignment?
A: You have some but not total control over your duty assignment after the internship year. Around August or September of your internship year, you will begin to communicate with the Psychology Consultant to the Surgeon General regarding which duty assignments are available to the current year interns. The first assignment will be dependent on such factors as licensure status and how much interest the intern has in the assignment. The duration of the first assignment tend to be for 2-3 years, although some variation may apply to cases where individuals are assigned to overseas bases.
- Q: What employment opportunities are available for my spouse?
A: Students who find themselves coming to EAMC will often find a very welcoming atmosphere for their spouse at various employers of their choice. Besides having 5 major hospitals in Augusta, opportunities abound in teaching in public and private institutions, small and large business, and government employment at Fort Gordon, Savannah River Site, and the National Security Agency.
- Q: Does the program support my preparation for the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology?
A: Yes. The internship program covers the cost of EPPP Licensure study materials, which are typically provided to the student at approximately the mid-point of the year and once dissertation has been defended.
- Q: What administrative resources and support will I have access to during internship?
A: Interns are supported by multiple Medical and Administrative Support Assistants who coordinate scheduling and checking in of patients, completion of pre-appointment paperwork, and assist in management of overall schedules. Other military and administrative support is provided by the Non-Commissioned Officers in Charge (NCOIC) of both Outpatient Behavioral Health and the Behavioral Health Careline.
- Q: What technical and academic support resources will I have access to during internship?
A: Interns are provided dedicated office space and their own laptop computer with a full range of software and remote login capability. The facility’s Information Management Department provides all onsite technical assistance, and students also have immediate access to remote log-in technical assistance for hardware/software issues. Students also have access to the hospital’s Health Sciences Library, which maintains a large variety of medical and psychology texts and journals, online journal access, and inter-library loan services. The library currently has approximately 1000 journal subscriptions and approximately 3400 books. Interns can access approximately 20 professionally-relevant databases to include MEDLINE, OVID, PsychInfo, and the AMEDD Virtual Library.
- Q: What about testing and assessment resources?
A: The program has an extensive catalog of available assessment instrument in both hard-copy and computer-based formats to include the PAI, MMPI2, MCMI-III, the various Beck inventories, the most recent versions of the Wechsler instruments, and various neuropsychological instruments.