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Becoming a forensic psychologist is a great way to combine your affinity for psychology and criminal justice. As a psychologist in this field you can specialize in a variety of areas including research, law enforcement and profiling. Each forensic psychologist gets to their final position in a slightly different way, but there are a few core elements to training in this field. Undergraduate education, …[b]ecoming a forensic psychologist is a great way to combine your affinity for psychology and criminal justice”graduate education and experience all combine to form the necessary skills to become a forensic psychologist.
This is usually where the initial interest in forensic psychology begins to form. It is here that individuals start taking classes on psychology, law and criminal justice. As they take these classes, students start to make a decision on which field they think will suit them the best. Some choose to go into law enforcement, work as a corrections officer, or a lawyer. Others choose to use their psychology and become a therapist, perhaps even working with patients who are in the criminal justice system. The individual who feels passionate about both of these fields become interested in the forensic psychology area. At the undergraduate level, there are options to specialize in forensic psychology. However, some students may decide to major in psychology or law initially.
During the forensic psychology graduate program, individuals can start looking into the field more closely. All will need to get their degree in psychology, but some will be able to go through specialized programs that combine the forensic aspects of this specialty. Even if a forensic psychology program is not readily available, individuals can choose to specialize in the field. They do this by taking additional classes and sometimes go so far as to earn their law degree, in combination with a psychology doctorate degree. The type of graduate program an individual chooses to go through will depend on if they want to work in the field, which is called applied forensic psychology, or if they want to do research, which is called academic forensic psychology.
Getting experience in the area of your specialty is the key to getting long term employment. Individuals who want to specialize in criminal profiling, for example, must spend several years in the law enforcement arena before they can fully understand all aspects of that type of job. Some forensic psychologists who specialize in criminal profiling have worked previously as law enforcement professionals for decades before becoming a psychologist and moving into the specialization of criminal profiling.
To become a forensic psychologist it does take many years of study and dedication. Each individual path may look different, but they all will require some form of graduate school and a psychology degree. Individuals hoping to specialize in a specific area of forensic psychology will find an internship in their specialty is helpful in getting to know the specifics of that area as well as helping to find a job in their field. Forensic psychology is an intense form of psychology combining the mental understanding of psychology with an in-depth knowledge of the law.