How To Become A Forensic Psychologist
Working as a forensic psychologist can provide you with a career that is both challenging and rewarding.
You will be dealing with a wide range of situations and clients and playing a crucial role in helping courts decide upon the mental state of criminals both at the time of their crime, and when the trial is set to begin.
But before you can actually begin working in forensic psychology you need to know how to become a forensic psychologist.
Forensic Psychologist Education
Psychology as a career choice means study…and then a bit more study…followed by some practical experience…and some final training and certification to top it all off.
And if you want to become a forensic psychologist then there is no way around this.
The first step is always an undergraduate degree, usually in psychology.
If you know from the very beginning that you might want to work as a forensic psychologist, then there are options available for you to start specializing even at this early stage of your education by taking on a second major in criminology.
Essentially these are split into two categories – you can either start studying for a Masters or a Doctorate.
In the past if you were interested in becoming a forensic psychologist than you’d pretty much have to design your own degree program by selecting and enrolling in courses from criminology or criminal justice type departments at your university.
But recent growth in the popularity of forensic psychology careers has meant there are now an increasing number of options available in forensic psychology specific programs
Each university will be slightly different in what they call these degree’s but essentially you will be studying for something like a Masters in Forensic Psychology or a PhD in Forensic Psychology.
When it comes to becoming a forensic psychologist, there more experience you can get working with an experienced professional the better, and there is no reason this can’t start while your completing your post-grad studies.
Even if it’s just picking their brains, and perhaps helping them out from time to time, at least you’re going to know exactly what you’re in for as well as the kind of subjects you need to be studying to get where you want to go.
For anyone who wants to work in psychology, there’s a requirement to get the necessary certification from the governing body of your particular state.
And this holds true when you want to become a forensic psychologist.
So you’ll need to find out the specific requirements for your particular state, make sure you’ve met them all and then submit your application to be registered as a certified psychologist
Getting Forensic Psychologist Experience
So you’ve completed your studies, and received your certifications…what next?
Well, before you can become a forensic psychologist working cases on your own, you’ll need to start working on building up some real world experience.
This is usually done by getting a job working as an assistant to an experienced forensic psychologist.
This will give you plenty of tie to fully grasp the responsibilities of the job, and fill in any gaps in your knowledge and training by attending extra courses and seminars.
Forensic Psychologist Career Opportunities
Becoming a forensic psychologist is certainly a long journey. There are many years of study and training in front of you before you can even start working on building up some practical experience.
But if this is the career for you, than you’ll find some fairly nice rewards once you start working.
The pay is generally quite good and the work gets you out and about more than perhaps any other career in psychology, and is always varied and interesting.