Steps to Become a Forensic Psychologist in California
Becoming a forensic psychologist in California is going to require a large amount of schooling, and you need to make sure that you choose only accredited schools for your training. Once you have your Bachelor’s degree, you will still have several years of schooling to get your Master’s degree and your doctorate in forensic psychology. If you want to have the best paying jobs, and the most control over your career, you will need to get that doctorate. Other jobs in the field are available for those with a Bachelor’s degree, but those jobs are usually in research and support only. Once you find a great program for your Master’s degree and doctorate, you will be able to narrow your focus from overall psychology to forensic psychology. After finishing your doctorate, you will need to go through a fingerprinting procedure for identification and have 3,000 hours of supervised professional experience. You can complete the first 1,500 hours during your schooling, but the remaining 1,500 hours will need to be done post-doctorate.
Once you have those 3,000 hours, you will be able to take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology, or the EPPP. You have to have a score of at least 500 to qualify. You will also need to take the California Psychology Supplemental Examination, or CPSE. After completing all of the various requirements, you will then be able to apply for your license from the California Board of Psychology. Once you have your license, you will be able to start looking for employment as a forensic psychologist.
Steps to Becoming a Forensic Psychologist in California: Quick Reference Guide
- Earn a forensic psychology bachelor’s degree from an accredited school.
- Receive a master’s degree. This step may be optional for some PhD programs.
- Get you PhD in forensic psychology.
- Complete 3000 hours of supervised professional experience, 1500 of which may be finished during a doctoral program.
- Take the EPPP or Examination for Professional Practice and receive a minimum score of 500.
- Pass the California Psychology Supplemental Examination (CPSE).
- Apply for a license to practice in California.
Employment Trends and Career Areas for Forensic Psychologists in California
The employment forecast for forensic psychologists in California looks to be quite healthy, and there should many a large number of positions opening in the coming years. Because the field encompasses many different areas, psychologists will be able to find work in a variety of different places.
Working for law enforcement as a consultant is just one option. It’s also possible to work for the prison system, rehabilitating criminals, getting convicts ready for life on the outside, helping victims cope, and much more. It is also possible to go into teaching at schools that offer this area of study, and some forensic psychologists even teach those who are in law enforcement.
Salary and Employment Facts for California Forensic Psychologists
Forensic psychologists in California are able to make a substantial amount of money, which is important because of the cost of living in the state. The average salary for someone in California who is a forensic psychologist is $106,920 per year currently.
California Forensic Psychology in the News
Back in January of 2012, the Los Angeles area experienced a rash of car arson incidents that got forensic psychologists and other criminal behavior experts talking. One suspect was linked to the crimes, and many specialists spent countless hours learning more about the suspect and what might have caused the man to start all of those car fires. They also focused on the copycat effect that can sometimes correlate with these types of crimes. As a forensic psychologist, this is just one of the types of cases that you might have to work.