Forensic Psychologists experts can research a variety of areas. These professionals study criminal history and may question those involved with a crime. However, they may also study groups related to particular crimes or conduct surveys and other studies.
If you want to become a forensic psychologist, you’ll need to follow a specific degree path to get there. You will need to first earn your Bachelor’s Degree, then a Master’s Degree in Psychology, and a Ph.D. or PsyD. There are many different programs that you can take part in too. If you want to learn more, keep reading!
What is the Forensic Psychology Field?
Forensic Psychology is new in comparison to the other fields that are out there. It often covers areas that fall between psychology and law. Experts in the field work with criminals and victims within the legal system, usually covering lawsuits or custody disputes, although they can work on any crime.
The field emphasizes researching psychology within the law. Most Forensic Psychologists participate in studies and use the results to answer legal questions. As a Forensic Psychologist, you’d also conduct research and studies.
Overall, if you want to become a Forensic Psychologist, you’ll need to be interested in both the law and psychology. Your education would likely focus on those areas and teach you how to research and conduct studies properly.
Requirements To Become a Forensic Psychologist
There are many requirements to becoming a Forensic Psychologist. You’ll need a specific set of skills and will have to follow a particular degree path too. However, this path could vary between schools, so make sure you discuss it with your school advisor to ensure that you take the right courses.
Here are all the requirements you’ll need to meet to become a Forensic Psychologist:
Skills You Need
There are several skills you’ll need to succeed as a Forensic Psychologist. Most importantly, you’ll need to have excellent critical thinking skills, even when you’re under pressure. You’ll need to excel at problem-solving and see the whole picture.
The decisions that a Forensic Psychologist makes can impact many people, making it essential that you remain unbiased and process the information critically.
You’ll also need to have these skills:
- Data analysis
- Empathy for those involved
- Good communication
- Strong work ethic
As you go through school, you’ll naturally develop research and data analysis skills. However, empathy, good communication, critical thinking, and listening are skills you’ll need to work hard to build on your own time.
Forensic Psychology professionals want to focus their education on these four fields:
- Criminal justice
Your education will contain many courses that fall into these categories, so you should have a passion for them! You’ll also need to pursue a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree before you can find a job in the field.
For the Bachelor’s Degree, you should pursue a degree in Psychology. Then, you’ll want the focus of that degree to be in criminal justice or criminology. When you get to the Master’s Degree, you should focus on research.
Overall, Forensic Psychologists perform work with patients, so they’re required to have a Ph.D. or a PsyD. You’ll need to spend many years in education to achieve that goal.
Take the EPPP
You’ll also need to take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology, the EPPP. You should take the EPPP exam as soon as you become eligible. Questions on the test relate to various aspects of Psychology, including:
- Behavior bases
- Growth and development
- Research and statistics
- And more!
You’ll have all the information required to pass by the tie you reach this point. Make sure to read each question carefully! Most people who didn’t pass were too hasty when filling out the exam, causing them to make mistakes they wouldn’t usually.
Additional Requirements To Consider
You can increase your likelihood of being hired by reaching some additional requirements. For instance, you can participate in many organizations or write and publish an article in a Forensic journal.
While in school, make sure you build professional relationships with others. The broader your network, the more likely you will find a career right after graduating. You should also do your best to stay “in the loop” when it comes to your field.
Organizations To Consider
If you’re considering networking, you have plenty of options! You can join a board of forensic psychologists to help build relationships with other professionals. These groups often have many professionals already present for you to talk with.
Here are some organizations that are beneficial to future Forensic Psychologists:
Make sure that you visit their websites when you have a chance. These sites contain plenty of information that will help you pursue education in the field you want.
Know Where You Might Work
Forensic Psychologists can find employment in various settings, so you’ll want to prepare yourself to work in those areas. A majority of Forensic Psychologists work in:
- Law enforcement buildings, such as police departments
- Crime scenes
- Laboratories for research
- Government buildings
- Mental health buildings
Knowing where you want to work can help you meet requirements for that area of your field. For example, forensic psychologists who work in police departments often have to come up with training curriculums for the officers there.
In short, you may have to meet some other requirements depending on where the job is. Keeping yourself informed and available to work anywhere will help you get hired where you want.
Find a Job in Forensic Psychology
When you receive your license to practice Forensic Psychology, you’re ready to find a job in the field! Reach out to other Forensic Psychologists and law enforcement agencies to find a position. You can also find places that are hiring online.
Many people find Forensic Psychology to be an enriching field for them to work in. Once you’re in, you’ll need to maintain your license to continue practicing. Overall, it’s a lot of work but very worthwhile!