What Is Takes To Be a Forensic Psychologist…
After learning about the exciting field of forensic psychology, the next question that one generally arrives at is that of wat is takes to be a forensic psychologist.
While the educational requirements are fairly stringent, it is most certainly worth it as the end result is a rewarding, lucrative career doing an exciting and meaningful job.
We will start with what they do and then move on to the educational requirements and timeline.
What Do Forensic Psychologists Do?
Forensic psychologists main goal is to analyze people involved in crimes. Whether it be the suspect or the defendant, the forensic psychologist must decide whether the person is competent enough to stand trial as well as put together the facts of the case while interviewing the person.
Contrary to what a regular psychologist may due, a forensic psychologist isn’t there to make the person feel better, encourage them, or empathize with them; they are only there to analyze the person and get the facts. They then, with the criminology portion of the job, put the facts together in a logical manner to test them against the known evidence.
Forensic psychologists are often called as expert witnesses in crimes as well as to crime scenes to give further insights.
What Is Takes To Be a Forensic Psychologist?
Forensic psychologists generally have to go to school for at least four years. Ideally, one would get a double major in psychology and criminal justice or criminology; forensic psychology is essentially the intersection of the two which makes it helpful to have training in both. This requires a minimum of four years or so to get a bachelor’s degree in psychology or criminology as a minimum; many programs have a specific degree with both parts integrated.
Ideally, a masters degree or Ph.D would also be pursued in forensic psychology. As is most things in life, more education leads you to have better pay and job opportunities as well as flexibility in your career choices.
Depending upon the level of schooling you want to accomplish, it could take anywhere from four years (bachelor’s degree) to seven or eight years (Ph.D). The difference in job prospects between the various levels of education, as well as the starting salary, will be substantial and vary depending upon the part of the country in which a person is wanting to work. Make sure to do a lot of local research, as well as reach out to a school and speak to them about the local market.
What it takes to be successful
The path to a successful forensic psychologist career requires the following:
• Solid clinical psychology training and experience at least 1-2 years
• A firm grounding in scientific theory and research
• Thorough understanding of social behaviors and local cultural issues
• Legal knowledge of mental health law, case law, and courtroom procedures
• Excellent writing and communication skills
• The ability to maintain composure in stressful circumstances during courtroom procedures