7 Facts About Forensic Psychology Schools and Careers
Can I go to school online?
The short answer is yes. Until recently, forensic psychology degrees were quite rare. The most common approach was to obtain a master’s or doctoral degree in an established subfield of psychology or in criminal justice, and to take supplemental coursework that relates to the legal system.
But because of the rising interest in the field of forensics, an increasing number of online schools are offering the opportunity to obtain a specific forensic psychology degree at the master’s or doctoral level.
What careers can I pursue with a degree in forensic psychology?
A forensic psychologists’ main focus is research, however career paths such as forensic psychology counseling, teaching and academia, law enforcement and consulting are popular options. Forensic psychologists help prepare and provide testimony regarding criminal behavior and assist in child custody cases, among other roles in the criminal justice system. Academic research may involve examining legal testimony from eyewitnesses to improve interrogation methods, studying specialized tests for their efficacy in assessing a criminal’s mental health, and investigating risk factors associated with criminal behavior. Learn about your career options.
How do I apply for financial aid?
Financial aid comes in the form of government aid, scholarships, grants, private loans and PLUS loans. The best first step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In order to qualify for federal aid, the school you attend must be accredited.
What type of accreditation should I look for in a psychology school?
The American Psychological Association is the accreditation organization that gives their seal of approval on doctoral programs. The Higher Learning Commission, which is divided into six regional associations, also accredits colleges and universities.
What steps do I need to take to become licensed?
As long as you hold a master’s degree or doctorate in psychology or criminal justice, no further licensure is needed in order to practice. Since state laws can change or vary, it’s always best to check with your state board for the most up-to-date information.
What continuing education requirements should I expect throughout my career?
If you decide to become certified by a professional organization, you may need to fulfill continuing education requirements every few years in order to keep your certification. The courses are intended to inform you about the latest developments in the forensic psychology field.
Is it better to work for myself in private practice or an institution within the forensic psychology field?
There are a number of factors that can affect your decision to work in private practice or in the public sector. Each path has their advantages and disadvantages. Working for yourself means typically means more flexibility, travel opportunities and a larger paycheck. However, working for an institution provides employer-paid benefits, a steady paycheck and the chance to learn from other colleagues.
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