Develop your psychology expertise in unique situations, providing advice at all levels of our fascinating organisation.

  • Service
  • Specialisation
  • Location
  • Starting Trade Training

WATCH | How our Psychologists help enhance the performance of individuals and teams across the NZDF.

About the role

As a Military Psychologist, you’ll be employed as a Commissioned Military Officer. You will be involved in a broad range of organisational and military psychology activities. These range from conducting recruitment and selection activities, performance-orientated coaching, and supporting operational deployments, humanitarian relief, and peacekeeping activities.

Applicants must have a Master’s Degree in Psychology or be in their final year of study, preferably with at least one paper in Industrial and Organisational Psychology. A minimum of a B average in the last two years of full-time psychology study is required.

If already registered as a psychologist, you will be introduced to the role through a series of projects relevant to the Defence Force. If unregistered, the Directorate of Psychology will finance and supervise you through your journey to become an NZ-registered psychologist.

Job on base

Army Psychologists have a relatively autonomous role and also have high levels of responsibility from an early stage in their career. New Zealand Army Psychology Officers also undertake a host of research to help the NZ Army with our goal of becoming a world class Army with Mana.

Specific duties include:

  • Support to Operational Deployments
  • Critical Incident Mental Health Support (CIMHS)
  • Officer Selection
  • Support to Recruiting Activities
  • Other Personnel Selection
  • Personnel Research
  • Performance Related Referrals
  • Training and Instruction
  • Performance Coaching
  • Assistance to other countries

Job on deployment

The majority of the support a psychologist provides to an operational deployment is done during the pre-deployment and post deployment stages. This includes providing all the personnel deploying, and their families with various training packages and briefs prior to the deployment. Psychologists will also deploy overseas prior to personnel returning home from operations and will conduct in-theatre debriefing to prepare soldiers for their return to NZ. Currently Psychologists typically deploy to any of our larger operations for a period of several weeks at a time.

Career progression and training

Basic Training

Job Training

Career progression

Officer Cadet School (OCS)

(12 weeks) Location: Waiouru Military Camp

Initial training begins in early January. Attendees at this training will be a mixture of Regular Force General List Officer Cadets, Regular Force Special List Officer Cadets, and Reserve Force Special List Officer Cadets.

The training will be split into three modules and attendance at Modules One, Two and Three is required for all Regular Force Officer Cadets. Reserve Force Special List Officer Cadets must attend Modules One and Three; this can be in the same year or in consecutive years.


Training covers:

  • NZ Army Ethos and Values
  • Self-leadership
  • Physical Training
  • Basic field-craft
  • Military Unarmed Combat
  • Weapon handling
  • Navigation
  • Battle-craft
  • Radio telephone procedure
  • Weapon handling
  • Drill
  • NZ Army tactics
  • Leadership

There are opportunities to further your professional development including tertiary study. After registration, there are often opportunities to improve knowledge in particular areas such as training and development, organisational development and even sports psychology if that’s what is of interest to you.

After you complete your registration as a psychologist, you will work as a regional psychologist on one of the Army's three main camps. Further opportunities exist within the tri-service environment that allow you to specialise in areas such as selection, training, organisational development and support to operations. Opportunities for promotion and additional advancement exist in the form of senior psychology posts.

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Salary and benefits

Careers in the Army are well-rewarded, diverse and exciting. As you become more experienced and move up through the ranks, gaining additional skills and qualifications, your salary will rise accordingly.


Starting Trade Training


Future Potential Earnings

Figures updated on July 1st 2023

Military Factor

Earn a competitive salary while training or learning your trade, along with additional allowances for time spent in the field, at sea, overseas, or deployed on operations.

In addition to salary and allowances, other benefits of joining the New Zealand Defence Force include:

Access to your Service marae or tūrangawaewae

Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels

Free access to gyms and swimming pools on camp and bases

Opportunities to travel

Free and subsidised medical and dental care

Subsidised food and accommodation on camps and bases

Free and subsidised insurance cover

Help to buy a home and save for retirement

Entry requirements


Fitness and Medical


Period of Service

  • Hold a Master’s Degree in Psychology or be in your final year of study, preferably with at least one paper in Industrial and Organisational Psychology.
  • A minimum of a B average in the last two years of full-time psychology study is required.

There are strict citizenship and security requirements to gain the required SV security clearance for this trade.

Find out if you’re eligible here.

There may be a return of service period for this trade.

Please contact our 0800 number or talk to your Candidate Experience Facilitator for more information.

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