Forensic Psychology Graduate Programs
If you are seeking a career as a licensed Forensic Psychologist, you should ultimately aim for a degree at the graduate level. If you haven’t yet completed a bachelor’s degree, there are many accredited campus and online criminal justice bachelor’s degrees to choose from. When seeking out graduate level forensic psychology programs, begin by requesting information from a variety of schools, so that you can learn about program details and the ability to specialize within the field. Most graduate level programs allow you to sculpt a program that will fit your career goals. For example, you may want to focus on juvenile forensic psychology or arson investigation. Specializing isn’t always necessary, but choosing a program that allows you to so may become important to you later in your development. If you have not yet completed your undergraduate education, you may want to explore our picks for forensic psychology bachelor’s programs.
Masters or PhD in Forensic Psychology?
The minimum degree requirement to become a practicing forensic psychologist is a master’s degree; however, some states mandate education at the PhD level as a prerequisite to sit for the state exam. Being licensed opens up more opportunity, greater compensation, and tighter relations with law enforcement, and the ability to be an expert witness in trials, but it should be viewed as a career that progresses and grows out of relevant experience and increasingly higher levels of education.
It is important to remember that there are many jobs available for those with bachelor’s and masters level educations and that most forensic psychologists will tell you they didn’t reach the top overnight. Most worked as assistants to licensed forensic psychologists, conducting research and interviews, or worked in some form of assistance to law enforcement agencies. You may be on a task force to assist in forming criminal profiles, possible motivational factors, or other deviant characteristics that will aid in predicting behavior or finding the location of a criminal.
Often, those who have a strong desire to pursue a career as a forensic psychologist will determine where they are on this educational path and begin by researching accredited programs for advancement, seeking internships and relevant employment, and remaining determined in their vocational pursuit.