How Do You Become a Forensic Psychologist?


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To become a forensic psychologist, a person must get a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in a field of study related to psychology. This is followed by a doctorate in forensic or clinical psychology to earn the designation of psychologist, according to Careers in Psychology.

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Individuals who wish to become forensic psychologists must start early with a bachelor's degree or an associate's degree in psychology, according to Careers in Psychology. This enables an introduction to psychology and lays the foundation for more advanced studies. The next step is to get a master's degree. In psychology, both a Master of Arts, or M.A., and a Master of Science, or M.S., are available, notes Psychology Today. A master's program requires another two or three years in college.

A doctorate degree, or Ph.D., is mandatory and the minimum requirement for those wishing to get licensed and have the designation of psychologist. A Ph.D. requires two to four years of intense study and research, followed by a dissertation and an internship for clinical specializations. A good study program for forensic psychology is a Ph.D. in clinical psychology followed by postdoctoral studies in forensics, states Psychology Today. To circumvent this very lengthy process, a few schools offer a forensics program at the Ph.D. level and sometimes even at the master's level. Candidates can also opt to do a double master's degree in psychology and law before entering a Ph.D. program.

Hands-on training in forensics is available through internships at hospitals, mental health centers and correctional centers. Getting a membership with the American Psychology-Law Society can also help with getting started with a career as a forensic psychologist, notes Psychology Today.

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