According to the ABFP, American Board of Forensic Psychology, “Forensic Psychology is the application of the science and profession of psychology to questions and issues relating to law and the legal system. The word “forensic” comes from the Latin word “forensis,” meaning “of the forum,” where the law courts of ancient Rome were held. Today forensic refers to the application of scientific principles and practices to the adversary process where specially knowledgeable scientists play a role.” Thanks to all the CSI and other forensic shows, the idea of a career as a Forensic Psychologist has excited the young and old. Whether you want to change your current career, want to make more money, or you just started school and you are not sure of what you want to do, you should consider looking into this area of study. Right now, forensic field seems to have an endless supply of job possibilities. If your interest leans toward criminology, you could work as a criminal profiler, study crime trends, or even work at a prison. Other job possibilities include; jury selection, parental custody or visitation, crisis management and counseling for the police department, the list seemingly goes on forever.
Considering all of this, a career in Forensic Psychology looks like a good choice. However, it will take more than just a couple years to attain the degrees necessary. When checking out schools, make sure the college or university you want to attend is accredited. The process of obtaining a master’s degree or doctorate in clinical psychology could take up to seven years. During that time, you could also work towards a master’s in criminology or a Juris Doctor, a degree earned by attorneys. It all depends on which type of forensic psychology you want to do when you have completed your schooling. While it may take a lot of schooling, the variety of degrees available can lead to a very challenging and fulfilling career.
Since no one specific bachelor’s degree exists in the field of forensic psychology, you need to start with a bachelor’s in psychology. Some colleges and universities offer degrees in criminal justice, with a focus in forensic psychology, like Kaplan University. At Kaplan University, you will not only learn about criminal justice matters like criminal investigation and criminal justice ethics, you will also learn about psychology for law enforcement and abnormal psychology. Working on double majors, where you learn about a wide range of psychological issues and investigative practices can prove beneficial before you start focusing on your masters in forensic psychology.
Not every college or university offers this particular masters program, the competition is stiff in those that do, which makes it more difficult to get into one of the existing programs. Institutions like Walden University, Loyola University New Orleans, and the University of Liverpool do offer these programs online. During this time, you should work with a chartered forensic psychologist, at least two years, so you can gain some experience and insight into your chosen profession. This fieldwork must take place before you take your state certification examination. Since eligibility, requirements differ from state to state, you should check with your state regarding their prerequisites.
Once you have obtained the status of a certified psychologist, if you choose to, you can apply to the ABFP, American Board of Forensic Psychology, to obtain your certification in forensic psychology. To receive the certificate, you must meet their education and experience requirements, and pass their exam. You can at this point, go even further with your education. Attaining a doctoral degree in forensic psychology will make you a fully licensed forensic psychologist, the top in your field. As you further your education towards a doctorate, you will get hands-on experience, and you can put your training in psychological examinations to use.
While attending school you should also think about where and for whom you want to work. With that decision made ahead of time, when you get close to graduating and attaining all the necessary certifications, you can send your resume to the places you would like to work. By doing this, you should have a job immediately, and you can go on to practicing in the exhilarating and rewarding profession of forensic psychology.