Forensic psychology is a booming field. However, if you want to become a part of it, you might not know where to start. Most of the time, you’ll need to start earning your Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, but you may also need a Doctorate in the field. Plus, you’ll need to pass exams to become certified.
There’s a lot more to learn about the path to becoming a professional forensic psychologist, so you’ll want to keep reading. All the requirements are below, so let’s begin!
Education Requirements To Become a Forensic Psychologist
The most common path to becoming a forensic psychologist is obtaining a forensic psychology degree. From there, you will likely need a Master’s. Many of these professionals also earn their Doctoral degrees and pursue clinical licensing.
In general, you’ll want to obtain a Bachelor’s in psychology, criminology, or criminal justice. Although more and more colleges offer direct forensic psychology degrees today, which is the best option for those already dedicated to joining the field.
After getting your undergraduate degree, earning a Master’s in forensic or general psychology with a focus on law is good. You can also pursue different specialties within the field. You’ll want to ensure that you also keep up with exams and certifications. After earning your Master’s, plenty of advanced job opportunities will open to you within the field.
After obtaining those two degrees, you can become a professional forensic psychologist, which offers many different career paths. However, you can also choose to further your education by getting a Doctorate. Doing so would make you a top expert in forensic psychology, opening many more opportunities for you.
Overall, you’ll need to have at least a Master’s degree in forensic psychology since this career requires you to have experience in research and acting on behalf of your clients. To know more about forensic psychology career visit Universities.com
You’ll need to build specific skills during your education and training to succeed on this career path. Here’s what you’ll need to work on:
- Ability to understand and observe body language
- Confliction resolution
- Communication skills
- Critical thinking skills
- Research skills
- Ability to read and interpret data
- Ability to remain objective and calm in any situation
- Strong attention to detail
- Writing skills
You’ll obtain these skills during your training, so you’ll also want to do your best to build on them whenever possible. The more you enhance these skills, the more prepared you’ll be for your career as a forensic psychologist.
Certification and Exam Requirements
Next, you’ll want to know more about the exams you must take to become a forensic psychologist. You’ll need to take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (or EPPP) to earn your license in most states.
After completing your degree work, your professors should inform you on how to take the exam. You should check the official Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards’ website to review the exam information. You can also register for the EPPP on their page.
All fees are non-refundable, and you can’t view the exam schedule until you register, so make sure you’re ready to take the test before paying to sign up.
Becoming Board Certified
You may also want to become Board certified to increase your professional standing in the field. You can do so through the American Board of Professional Psychology (or ABPP). It’s not a legal requirement to practice, but many professionals choose to do so.
Earning a board certification can help you grow your forensic psychology career. You’ll need to have a Doctorate, 100 hours of specialized training, and 1,000 hours of experience as a forensic psychologist over five years.
Board certifications are heavily regulated, so you must have met all the requirements and demonstrated a passion for the field. The Board also wants to see that you’ll work on contributing to the field and making improvements.
Supervised Practice Hours Requirements
You’ll also need to spend specific time practicing under a certified psychologist supervisor. Every state requires a slightly different amount of hours, so you’ll need to research how much you need to do in your local area.
You’ll plan your practice hours as a student, so you’ll want to keep in touch with your supervisor and professors to ask them questions.
The American Psychological Association says you’ll need 2,000 hours of practice time from an internship and 2,000 hours of postdoc to meet most state requirements. However, some states still require more or less practice time. For example, California only requires 3,000 supervised practice hours, while Michigan requires 6,000.
Maintaining Your Requirements
After you have all the requirements to become a professional forensic psychologist, you’ll need to maintain. Many states require that you continue your education and training. Plus, you’ll need so many hours of practice time and more.
Your state’s licensing Board should give you the details you need to remain up-to-date on your credentials. You don’t want to let anything expire.
Recording all of your Credentials
There are many requirements to becoming a licensed forensic psychologist. You don’t want to lose your information over the years, so you should start “banking” your credentials as soon as possible.
To do this, you’ll want to record your information through the ASPPB’s Credentials Bank. The site safely stores your info in one place, so you can access it whenever necessary. It’s much more convenient to upload documents as you get them than to struggle to find everything when needed.
You should keep your EPPP scores, internship information, and other professional details in the credentials bank. Otherwise, you could lose it later.
Start Your Path To Becoming a Forensic Psychologist
These requirements can take years to complete, so you’ll want to start working on them soon. It takes four years to earn a Bachelor’s and two to complete your Master’s, so that’s six years before you start working on internships and supervised practice hours.
To summarize, there are many requirements. If you have questions about what steps to take, your supervisors and educators will undoubtedly assist you through the process.