What would it be like to explore the mind of criminals? Or their victims? A masters in forensic psychology will give you an insight into that. It’s the minimum educational requirement if you want to go into this field that is slowly gaining a lot of interest. And why not? A career where psychology intersects with the law and the legal system? Very challenging.
Truths To Live By
However, here are certain things to remember in case you seriously want to pursue a career in forensic psychology.
1. The competition is stiff for admission into the very limited forensic psychology graduate programs. Well, entry into most psychology schools is not a walk in the park.
2. Your choice for careers in forensic psychology is also limited with only a masters in forensic psychology degree. But you can take the opportunity to gain experience in the field serving in another capacity to get a better grasp at what it really is like and if you want to later pursue higher studies and get the proper credentials.
3. The experts will tell you it is not the degree but the expertise you have in areas that relate to legal issues that will make you a good forensic psychologist. So, you can either opt for masters in forensic psychology programs or other psychology degrees, like clinical or counseling psychology, to prepare you for this specialization. Taking up as many electives related to forensics will make you better prepared for a career.
4. Experience always spells the difference. The ones who eventually seek out forensic psychology schools are those already serving in the field but in a different capacity. These include law enforcers, those in social service agencies or rehabilitation centers who want to gain the important skills that will make them effective at forensic psychology.
Getting Ready For The Challenge
A television series like “Criminal Minds” may catch your interest about the field of forensic psychology. If you become curious enough about it, learn as much as you can. Read about this relatively new field and if your personality is suited for it. Discover what careers are available after you earn a degree, and the salary you can expect as a professional. Search for schools and programs, and request information to get a better insight about what you’ll be up against. Argosy University has several campuses where you might get the required training.
If you finally decide “this is it for me,” then get ready for the challenge of getting admitted into programs. Remember, there aren’t as many forensic psychology programs to choose from. The ones available don’t accept a whole lot, so you’ll be fighting tooth and nail with other applicants. And a masters in forensic psychology can only get you so far, so be very clear about what you expect to achieve.
1. Most programs will require your GRE (Graduate Record Exam) scores in four areas, including the GRE in psychology. It’s a must to have taken this beforehand and done well in it. At least a score of 600. Review for it and be careful while taking the test.
2. GPA is another requirement. You need at least a 3.0 but that will be taking a big risk. If you didn’t do so well with previous college courses, as reflected in your GPA, then be ready to explain why and do better to convince them that your academic abilities are up to par for psychology courses.
3. The admission essay is your way to focus your goals and what you expect to be in the next couple of years, both as a student and a professional. Even without talking to you yet, the admission officers hope to gain a sense of the kind of person you are and if you can be a fit in their program, based on their set goals and criteria. Take time to prepare this and do it with careful thought. It’s selling yourself when there are thousands of others competing against you. This is a requirement whether you choose a masters in forensic psychology online or on campus.
4. Research or publish with a professor at the undergraduate level if you can. The experience and the insights will be a big help when you finally decide to enroll into a program. Whether you choose applied or experimental psychology, you need a very strong foundation in research so this will be a big plus. Another option is to volunteer or be an intern at correctional or rehabilitation facilities. The more actual exposure you have in the field, the more you can be sure it is what you want to do and the better your chances at being accepted into psychology programs.
Psychology, especially when applied to different areas, can be a very interesting and rewarding career. Admittedly, a masters in forensic psychology will only lead you to jobs that won’t pay as much. Still the rewards come in other forms and you will be able to open other doors to see where you can be good at and happy with.
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