Forensic psychology is fast becoming an important part of the criminal justice system, with psychologists working in many different areas. Becoming a forensic psychologist in Alabama requires years of schooling and a PhD in forensic psychology, although there are different capacities in which people will be able to work in the field with different degrees. The career holds many opportunities as well as great pay.
How to Become a Forensic Psychologist in Alabama
Those who want to become a forensic psychologist in Alabama will need to start by having a high school diploma, and then enroll in colleges that will provide them with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology, often with a focus on forensic psychology and the criminal justice system. It is possible to work in forensic psychology with only a bachelor’s degree, but these jobs are often only support or research roles.
To become a practicing forensic psychologist in Alabama, schools that offer higher education for a Master’s Degree or eventually a doctorate are necessary. At this time, the student will be able to focus his or her career on forensic psychology. Once receiving the advanced degree, the graduate will still need to complete an internship.
Alabama follows the APA (American Psychological Association) rules and regulations for specialization as well as internships. You will also have to apply for an exam through the Alabama Board of Examiners in Psychology – the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology, or EPPP. In addition, students will have to pass the Professional Standards Examination or PSE. This covers Alabama law as well as ethics and guidelines described by the APA. Once you pass these tests, you can then apply for licensure through the state. Once you have the license, you will be able to practice.
Steps to Becoming a Forensic Psychologist in Alabama: Quick Reference Guide
- Earn your bachelor’s degree.
- Earn your master’s degree (optional, may skip and go to step #3).
- Earn your PhD in forensic psychology.
- Apply for and take the EPPP and the PSE.
- Apply for licensure from the State of Alabama.
Employment Trends and Career Areas for Forensic Psychologists in Alabama
The demand for forensic psychologists is growing, and now is a good time to start delving into these programs. In the past twenty years, the need for these types of specialized psychologists has been on the rise. It is one of the fastest growing careers in psychology. The career can be exciting, and it can offer a sense of accomplishment in knowing that you are helping people, whether you are helping to catch criminals or helping with their rehabilitation.
Forensic psychologists can work for the prison systems, Alabama law enforcement agencies, and more. Working with lawmakers, lawyers, and the courts is another possibility, and it can be quite lucrative. The amount of jobs available in universities that offer training programs for criminal psychology is also going to rise.
Salary and Employment Facts for Alabama Forensic Psychologists
The expected growth nationwide is 15% by 2016, and there should be a number of jobs available in Alabama. Those who have a Master’s degree or a doctorate will be able to follow a number of different career paths. The current average salary for a forensic psychologist working in Alabama is $88,000 per year, which is very good in a state that has an average household income of around $40,000.
Alabama Forensic Psychology in the News
Forensic psychologists in Alabama can handle many different types of cases, and not all of those cases deal directly with criminals. In some cases, the forensic psychologist may work with children to determine if they are in a stable and safe environment. A recent example of this was during a case in Houston County, Alabama when a woman picking up her children for visitation fled with them. She claimed that her ex-husband was abusive and neglectful of the children, and that she had to take them.
The Houston County Department of Human Resources completed a report without finding evidence of abuse, but Judge Holloway signed an order that required the children to undergo an evaluation by a forensic psychologist. The psychologist’s finding contradicted the findings of the DHR.