The Pathway to Becoming a Forensic Psychologist
Forensic psychology has become a popular career in the past few years. It is a profession that applies its principles to the world of criminal justice.
If you are pursuing a degree in psychology, then you can opt to narrow your focus towards forensic psychology. This often involves undertaking particular forensic psychology degree programs or even doing psychology alongside legal education.
What is forensic psychology?
Forensic refers to the “scientific method of investigating criminal activities”. Forensic psychology is, therefore, a branch of psychology concerned with criminal investigations and other legal matters.
Forensic psychology basically applies psychological concepts such as social psychology, cognitive psychology, and many others to the criminal and justice system with the objective of improving legal; practices.
There are several things that a forensic psychologist does including carrying out witness investigations, conducting research studies, selecting jurors, consulting on legal issues, delivering testimonies in court, conducting threat assessments, deciding on the competency of defendants among others.
So, how to become a forensic psychologist? A forensic psychologist works in different areas related to law. For example, a forensic psychologist can study whether a person is mentally or emotionally stable to stand trial. They can also research how minors handle court proceedings.
Forensic psychologists can work either in court, in a police department, detention center, hospital, or do their own private practice.
Below are some of the requirements of a forensic psychologist:
1. A bachelor’s degree
Obtaining relevant degree programs is the first step towards becoming a forensic psychologist. Any aspiring to be a forensic psychologist must first acquire a bachelor’s degree from a reputable place like CareersInPsychology.org, followed by a master’s degree in the relevant field. You are supposed to enroll for a doctorate degree in forensic psychology.
It is important to find out schools that offer the best degree programs in forensic psychology in order to get accreditation. After completing your degree program, you can then apply for a program that best suits you in terms of location or duration of the program.
2. Apply for a forensic psychology license
Having a degree doesn’t automatically qualify one to be a forensic psychologist. If you are aspiring to be a fully-fledged forensic psychologist, then you must obtain relevant certifications and licensure depending on where you plan to practice.
As such, you should conduct research to find out the requirements of the state you plan to work in. However, most states will require you to have completed your doctoral degree program, supervised a certain number of working hours, and pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP)
3. Application for a forensic psychologist position
After acquiring both your degree and license, the next thing is to start applying for the available job opportunities in your state. There are many places that you can work as a forensic psychologist including hospitals, forensic laboratories, research centers, police departments among others. You can also decide to private practice.
4. Furthering your knowledge and maintaining your licensure
It is a requirement of most states that you finish continuing education (CE) courses to maintain your operating license.
SEE ALSO: 10 Career Options You Have with a Degree in Psychology
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