How important is formal training if you want to work in the field of forensic psychology? Is education limited to forensic psychology graduate programs to start a career in this area? When you consider the responsibilities of these professionals, you will have a better appreciation why you need at least two years of specialized education to even begin exploring the world of forensic psychology.
Masters Or Doctorate Degree?
The minimum educational requirement to work in this growing but relatively young field of science is a masters in forensic psychology degree. It is precisely because the specialization is new that there are only a few forensic psychology schools offering such programs, whether in the masters or PhD level.
What makes forensic psychology a doubly interesting field is the fact that it merges the study of the mind and behavior with the law. Applying psychological concepts, theories and principles in the legal context is the essence of this profession.
On its own, psychology is a complex subject. Put it together with the legal system and it becomes twice as complex, yet vital to help arrive at legal decisions. It thus becomes understandable why to be able to practice the profession in a full scale you pursue forensic psychology graduate programs for five to seven years to earn a doctorate degree and qualify for a license.
However, once you have established yourself there are various careers in forensic psychology that you can look forward to. It might interest you to know that in Washington D.C., professionals in this field have a salary range from $56,500 to $170,000 annually. That of course, depends on where you work, where your expertise lies, and how long you’ve been at it. And yes, if you’re earning in this range, you most likely have more than a masters in psychology.
Here’s are reminders: you can apply for admission in campus or opt for a masters in forensic psychology online programs. Both are recognized, as long as they have the necessary accreditation. Given the rigid admission process, you should also consider taking up a general graduate psychology program while beefing up on specific courses relative to forensic psychology.
Find The Best For You
Given the limited choice and its being a very young field, it’s very difficult to determine the best forensic psychology programs. There are several factors to consider when deciding where to get your training and education, the first of which is where you live. Fortunately, there are many online programs now but forensic psychology will eventually require internship so this should be among your considerations when screening schools and programs.
If you’re aiming for a terminal masters degree, you will definitely have an advantage if you already are a professional working in one of the related areas where there is need for forensic psychologists. That could be in law enforcement or other areas of criminal justice like courts, correctionals and rehabilitation.
Just to give you an idea what forensic psychology graduate programs are among those considered the best, check out the City of New York’s (CUNY) John Jay College of Criminal Justice. One of its unique features is giving the students a choice between completing a thesis or working with licensed psychologists or mental health professionals to cover the 300-hour externship requirement. However, you may also choose other schools in NYC that offer similar programs.
The Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore offers on-campus forensic psychology concentration under its clinical psychology programs. Argosy University, with six campuses in California and one in Dallas, Texas, also offers online forensic psychology graduate programs. The Psychology Department of the Medical College of Pennsylvania (PA) developed a joint program with the Hahnemann University for law and psychology, which is the essence of forensic psychology.
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology has a very strong masters in forensic psychology program aimed at helping working professionals who want to get the training to upgrade their skills and eventually concentrate in this area of expertise.
Yes, forensic psychology is an exciting field to be in especially with its value to the legal system. But before even considering what forensic psychology graduate programs to apply for, be truly sure this is a career you are seriously going to pursue.
Below find more interesting articles about the different programs, schools, rankings and salaries.