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Forensic Psychology in Arizona
Forensic psychology is one of the fastest growing areas of psychology today, and estimates are that it will grow by another 15% by 2016. This means there will be many thousands more jobs awaiting those who have degrees. Of course, to enter the field of forensic psychology, you are going to have to make sure that you have all of the right schooling. It can take a number of years to become a forensic psychologist, but the personal and financial rewards can be quite great.
Steps to Become a Forensic Psychologist in Arizona
You will need to continue with your higher education if you plan to become a working forensic psychologist in Arizona. When you receive a Bachelor’s degree from a school with programs in psychology, you may be able to find some employment with your degree. However, this is usually going to be in the role of a researcher or an assistant. To become a licensed forensic psychologist, you will have to go through more schooling and get your Master’s degree or doctorate. Getting into a program is competitive and students choose to volunteer in order to increase their viability as a doctoral candidate. Once accepted, this will allow an individual the opportunity to focus on the specialization of forensic psychology. Once you have your degree from approved schools, you will still need to get your license to practice in the state of Arizona. In Arizona, they require that you have 3,000 hours of supervised professional experience. You can complete the first 1,500 hours during the doctorate program, and the rest will be through an internship. You have to make sure that the APA approves the internship. The final 1,500 hours of experience are after you receive your doctorate, and you will need to have written certification from the school from which you graduated.
You will then be able to apply for your license through the Arizona Board of Psychologist Examiners. In addition, you will have to take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology, or EPPP. In some cases, Arizona will require that you take an additional state exam. They will offer a temporary license during that time while waiting for the professional license.
Steps to Becoming a Forensic Psychologist in Arizona: Quick Reference Guide
- Attend a forensic psychology school and receive a bachelor’s degree.
- Earn your master’s degree in psychology or forensic psychology (optional, may skip and go to step #3).
- Pursue a PhD.
- Complete 3000 hours of supervised professional experience, 1500 of which can be accomplished during a doctoral program.
- Apply for your license through the Arizona Board of Psychologist Examiners.
- Take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP).
Employment Trends and Career Areas for Forensic Psychologists in Arizona
Arizona has a great need for forensic psychologists, and the need is likely to rise in the coming years. It is possible to find employment in many different areas when you have your doctorate in forensic psychology. For example, you may work directly with law enforcement and help them to catch criminals through your profiling efforts. You can work with the court system, as an expert witness, or work in counseling to help criminals adjust to life outside the prison walls. You will find many different and exciting career opportunities awaiting you.
Salary and Employment Facts for Arizona Forensic Psychologists
Becoming a forensic psychologist in Arizona can be quite lucrative. The average salary for a specialist in the field is $73,000 in Arizona. Depending on the type of practice that you have and where you work, the number may be even higher.
Arizona Forensic Psychology in the News
On January 8th of 2011, Jared Loughner went on a rampage in Tucson and killed sixteen people while wounding thirteen, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Loughner is in custody and awaiting trial. Forensic psychologists on both sides of the case, working for the defense as well as the prosecution, will attempt to substantiate or repudiate whether or not the suspect has a mental illness or was working at full mental capacity at the time of the shooting. This will be an interesting trial to see how forensic psychologists and law enforcement may differ in their opinions on the case.