How to Choose the Suitable Degree in Forensic Psychology

How to Choose the Suitable Degree in Forensic Psychology

If you plan to work in forensic psychology, then you will need a master’s or doctoral psychology degree (PhD in general clinical psychology) along with specialized training. This training may include a fellowship, internship or additional course work. In addition, you will probably be involved in teaching or research in a university setting. Besides you’ll provide expert testimony in court cases.

There are quite a few schools that offer programs that give the opportunity to obtain a specific forensic psychology degree at the master’s or doctoral level these days. It’s up to you whether to complete a traditional or online degree.

You can start a career in this field by obtaining a master’s or doctoral degree in such subfield of psychology as clinical, developmental, cognitive or social psychology and by taking supplemental coursework that related to the legal system before or after graduating.

Most master’s and all doctoral programs that offer a degree in this field od psychology, require you to choose a subfield within psychology in which you will specialize.

It’s currently impossible to get a bachelor’s degree in forensic psychology. However, you can start your education with getting a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and then continue advanced training. While earning this kind of degree, you’ll learn about the general theories, history and practices of psychology. And of course you should focus on a clinical or social psychology.

Nowadays there is a variety of coursework for a master’s degree in those particular field of psychology. Some programs offer studies in the application of forensic psychology to areas such as organizational and legal consultation or law enforcement. Other programs give students the opportunity to become licensed mental health counselors. Since most jobs in the field of forensic psychology require a PhD, your career options may be limited with just a forensic psychology degree at the master’s level. Completing a PhD program may yield the most opportunities in this field.

Before you continue your education, you should decide which degree to choose. You should consider whether you wish to work in the academic (teaching and research) or clinical (applied practice) realm. The difference between a Doctor of Psychology degree and PsyD is quite simple. As a rule the first degree requires practice training with less research than the second one. And the program, that offers a PsyD degree, usually provides more of a focus on clinical skills. As for the clinical practice both types of degrees offer similar opportunity and credential stature.

If you manage to get a forensic psychology degree at the doctoral level, them you can begin practicing. In this case no further licensure is necessary. No doubt that an additional certification may bolster your credentials in the job market.

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