Forensic Psychologist Requirements: Gaining Proper Knowledge to Understand the Criminal Mind

Forensic Psychologist RequirementsForensic psychologist requirements are frequently more than you might have considered based on the complexity involved. In a career where you attempt to understand criminals, you’re entering very complicated territory that sometimes becomes almost contradictory. It’s one reason studying to become a forensic psychologist requires more education than you perhaps understood as you study psychology yourself.

Based on the origins of forensic psychologist careers, you can see the astute requirements necessary in understanding the correlation between science and criminal behavior. According to, forensic psychologist careers began based on a book written in 1908 that detailed the career of William Marston who invented the initial process leading to the polygraph machine.

In the above book, it tells about Marston proving a connection between lying and blood pressure elevation. This set the stage for a bevy of forensic psychologists that are more important now than ever as criminal cases become increasingly more complicated.

If you’re interested in this career, it’s time to look into the educational possibilities. Then you should look ahead at what your future employer will expect of you as you pursue this fascinating psychological field.

Educational Requirements

You might mistakenly think only a bachelor’s degree is necessary to become a forensic psychologist. While obtaining a bachelor’s degree in psychology first is always a requirement, these careers require more complex knowledge based on the research required to understand criminals.

When you seek out your bachelor’s in psychology, it’s necessary to also study criminology and forensics as career adjuncts. Forensic psychologists go beyond just the basic knowledge of psychology, and it’s one reason employers require you to have at least a master’s degree or a doctorate.

What makes seeking out a doctorate in this field so interesting is that many universities let you focus on specific specializations. While the general educational program is necessary, places like Walden University offer special categories like mental health applications, or psychology and legal systems.

By studying these off-branch subjects for your doctorate, you have a wider range of options in what you’ll focus on once your career is underway.

However, where exactly will you work? Also, what kind of things will you do to help law enforcement understand why an accused person exhibited criminal behavior?

Where You’ll Work and What You’ll Do

Forensic psychologists don’t all work in the same place since many in this field do different things for separate areas of the criminal justice system. You might work in a police station, for instance, or perhaps a courthouse. These are two very different environments and job descriptions in what you’ll do.

You could even work in a prison, which is ground central in attempting to understand those already incarcerated for heinous crimes. In some cases, it could mean you being self-employed and doing contract work.

The Work Required to Understand Criminal Behavior

Most of the time, you’ll conduct research on the criminal or criminals you’re studying. This doesn’t mean isolated work since you’ll possibly interview the criminal or people related to him or her. This is where your basic psychology degree will come into play.

Beyond there, you’ll be busy at crime scenes analyzing data. You’ll frequently be called in to study a crime scene when evidence is scant and a prosecutor needs to prove a criminal did the crime.

Through your careful examinations and research, you’ll build a detailed psychological portrait of a criminal that could mean a conviction for life in prison. In this part of your job, it could mean testifying in court cases, so it’s a career with extremes in working alone and dealing with people.

Contact us here at Legal.Education to find out more about what’s expected of a forensic psychologist and the interesting opportunities ahead for you.