How Do I Go About Being An Occupational Therapist In the Army?

Q: Jon, one of our readers, sent us a snippet of his background as it relates to two questions he wanted to ask. "I have my master's degree in Occupational Therapist and am working as a therapist at a Level One trauma hospital. I am interested in receiving more information about a career in the Army as an Occupational Therapist.

  1. Whom do I contact in order to get that information?
  2. Secondly, I'm interested in getting my doctorate degree in Psychology. Could I work as an Occupational Therapist for the Army while going to school to become a clinical psychologist?

Thanks for your help, Jon."
 
A: Great questions Jon and I'll answer both of them. In regard to who you would contact, you would start with an AMEDD (Army Medical Department) or Healthcare Recruiter, specializing in medical recruitment.
 
The Army Healthcare system encompasses over 90 specialties broken down into six departments, called Corps:

  • Dental
  • Medical
  • Medical Service
  • Medical Specialist
  • Nurse
  • Veterinary.

 
As an Occupational Therapist, you would fall under the Medical Specialist Corp, which also includes Physical Therapists, Dietitians and Physician Assistants, among other specialties. However, Clinical Psychologists fall under the Medical Service Corp, which includes other healthcare specialists, such as Optometrist, Podiatrist, etc.
 
You will want to ask your Recruiter about the best way to go - if you should sign up as an Occupational Therapist on your original enlistment, and then switch, or sign up to be a Clinical psychologist right away when you enlist. Here is why you should ask.
 
The Army has a $20,000 signing bonus, but I don't think you would get it if you sign up as an Occupational Therapist and maybe not if you were already in and switched to be a Clinical Psychologist. It might be only a benefit available if you sign up from the beginning to be a Clinical Psychologist, so ask a Healthcare Recruiter first before signing up. I would hate to see you miss out on $20,000.
 
The Army has a great education program for their healthcare specialists. If you meet the qualification requirements, you could go to school under a Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) at any accredited psychology program in the United States. The scholarship pays 100% of your tuition, books, required equipment, most academic fees, plus gives you a $2,000 per month living stipend for 10 months a year. Because the Army is paying your way, you could go to the school of your choice instead of what you could afford. For six weeks out of the remaining two months a year, you would get paid officer pay to work as a U.S. Army Reserve second lieutenant at an Army medical facility.
 
To qualify for the scholarship, you have to:

  • Be a U.S. Citizen
  • Hold a BA degree from an accredited school
  • Enrolled, or have a letter of acceptance, at an accredited graduate program
  • Maintain full-time student status while in the program
  • Qualify for a commission in the Army Reserve as an officer.

 
In return, you would obligate yourself to serve a minimum of three years in the U.S. Army - more if you also go through a residency training program. But that is a small cost to pay for the career training you would receive. As you well know, a year of medical graduate school can cost upwards of $60,000.
 
You can learn more about their program by reading the HSPS factsheet. Joining the Army and letting them pay your way through Clinical Psychology school is a great way to go, plus you get honor and experience of serving your country while doing something you love to do.

Share this
Your rating: None Average: 4 (26 votes)

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

CC Form 174-R

Does anyone know where I can find CC Form 174-R in PDF format in this website, "army.com?"

Re: CC Form 174-R

Try this link -

http://www.has.vcu.edu/mil/Forms/usacc/CCF174-R_Aug_05.pdf

There may be others if you use a Google search.