(found programs from 313 schools)
Welcome to the most complete directory on the Web of Forensic Psychologist programs. It contains all the nationally accredited programs, from 313 schools across the country.
Are you interested in learning what makes the human mind tick and using your knowledge to help investigators solve crimes? Forensic psychology could be the ideal career path for you. Forensic psychology is a hybrid field that combines the intensive knowledge of a criminal psychology degree with a complete understanding of laws and the legal process.
If you want to become a forensic psychologist, use our directory of criminal psychology schools to request more information today!
As with a criminal psychology degree, this job tends to come with a lot of responsibility, so you should be ready to defend your expertise and enhance your understanding at all times. Forensic psychologists are not like traditional psychologists, who aim to serve patients and help them enjoy fuller, more productive lives. Rather, forensic psychologists are dedicated to finding out the truth, whether or not the patient they’re speaking with provides it. As a result, forensic psychology professionals often use different techniques and strategies to glean information from interviewees.
Forensic psychologists are often used in courts of law. Your skills may be called upon to determine whether or not a patient is competent to stand trial and what their mental state was at the time of allegedly committing a crime. Using subtle psychological markers, you may be expected to figure out if a witness or suspect is telling the truth. The information provided by forensic psychologists is often used in jury deliberations, lawyer arguments, and sentencing decisions.
As you may have expected, forensic psychologists are required to meet a thorough set of educational requirements before beginning their careers.
Requirements for Becoming a Forensic Psychologist
If you’ve ever considered a career as a psychologist, you know that this career path is fairly demanding in its educational expectations. This is especially true for forensic psychologists, since they must have a deep knowledge of forensic science in addition to psychology.
For your criminal psychology major, you should consider first earning a Bachelor’s degree in criminal psychology. There are a few selected Bachelor’s degree programs in forensic psychology, but they are few and far between. Some Bachelor’s-level programs do allow you to choose a specialty, so you may be able to take courses in forensic psychology while earning your undergraduate degree. At this level, you may spend four years taking classes like Organizational Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, and the Psychology of Personality. Your time as a student isn’t done yet! You’ll need to find graduate programs in forensic psychology that lead to a Master’s of Science in Forensic Psychology. These forensic psychology Masters degree courses offer the training you need to effectively work with witnesses, victims, and criminals, while helping you learn the ins and outs of the American legal system. Core classes include Behavioral Interventions in Forensic Settings, Settings and Tools of Psychological and Violence Risk Assessment, and Ethical Concerns in Forensic Psychology. You may choose a specialization track that permits you to develop your knowledge base in one specific area. Popular specialization tracks include forensic psychology in the legal system and forensic psychology for mental health workers.
A PhD or PsyD will be required before you can get your state psychology license and begin working as a forensic psychologist. While a PhD allows you to pursue more academic endeavors, like teaching at a university, a PsyD is more focused on patient care. To earn a PhD, you may need to spend several years writing a thesis on a specific subject of forensic psychology. A PsyD will require lots of clinical work and supervised work.
Career Outlook and Salary Potential for Forensic/Criminal Psychologists
Across the United States, forensic psychologists can anticipate a fairly stable job outlook. O*Net expects job openings for clinical psychologists to increase by 8% to 14% between 2012 and 2022.
Salaries in this field vary widely. Generally, experience trumps all, as well as the criminal psychology major you’ve earned. As you prove yourself in a courtroom and demonstrate your expertise, you may be able to command higher salaries than earlier in your career. Per O*Net, the average salary for a clinical psychologist is $67,760 per year. In a low cost of living state like Florida, salaries may be lower. In Florida, the average salary is $66,200 per year (O*Net, 2013). Other states may have considerably higher salary ranges. The average salary for a New York clinical psychologist is $80,200 per year, nearly $13,000 higher than the national average (O*Net. 2013). Those who work in California claim a median income of $81,400 per year (O*Net, 2013).
Working as a Forensic Psychologist
It’s obvious that it takes a lot of work to become a criminal psychologist, but what is it like to work as a forensic psychologist? Your job duties may change from day to day, depending on which cases you’ve been assigned to and how full your caseload is. Part of your job duties rotates around questioning suspects. You may have to find out if they are mentally fit to stand trial and if they have enough mental competence to understand what is being asked of them. This also involves watching for signs of mental illness or for faked signs of mental illness. For those that have already been convicted or who are being tried for a crime, you may determine their risk for committing future crimes or their mental state at the time of committing a crime.
Forensic psychology is a highly specialized field; as a result, most psychologists do not work full-time on cases. In many cases, forensic psychologists are faculty members at a local university or college and work on cases when they are needed. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports on a case that involved the repeated stabbing of a 12-year-old girl by two of her friends. A forensic psychologist was called in to determine the girls’ mental state; the psychologist later found that one of the girls was incompetent to stand trial. Your expertise can make a difference on the lives of those who go through the criminal justice system. Contact the schools with forensic psychology Masters degree programs in our directory to learn more about criminal justice programs that can lead to a career as a forensic psychologist!
Featured Schools Accepting Students from Across the US:
Online programs may not be available in all areas