A criminal psychologist works with lawyers and law enforcement officials to catch criminals or assist in crisis situations. They also work with victims to resolve conflict or perpetrators to determine their ability to stand trial. You'll need a Ph.D. and a license in order to become a criminal psychologist - read on to learn more about the job and its requirements. Schools offering .
To work as a criminal psychologist, you need a doctoral degree in psychology. To enroll in such a program, you'll need a bachelor's degree; oftentimes, students major in psychology as undergraduates, too, but this isn't strictly required. You'll also need to take the GRE in order to apply to graduate school.
In a program leading to a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Clinical Psychology with a forensic specialization or a Ph.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology, you will learn about how to conduct research in the field as well as general clinical practice techniques. In these programs, you study criminal law, trauma, violence, psychology law, and assessments. In addition to coursework, you complete a research dissertation, and depending on the program, may complete practical training in psychology. It's wise to choose a program that features faculty who specialize in your research interests (which could range from competency assessments to juvenile offenders to suicide risks) so that you'll have a knowledgeable mentor to advise you as you research and write your dissertation.
Licensing and Certification
To work as a criminal psychologist, you must be certified as a psychologist. Specific certification requirements vary by state, but usually include passing an exam administered by the state's board of psychology. Many times, this exam is the one created by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards.
Optional certification as a criminal psychologist is available from the American Board of Professional Psychology, the association that recognizes professionals who have developed a specialty. To earn this certification, you must have a doctoral degree, complete an internship, work in the field, provide proof of continuing education, and be licensed in the state in which you practice. You also must take written and oral exams.
Criminal psychology is a subfield of forensic psychology and science. Working in the field involves applying psychological principles to the legal and corrections systems. These psychologists evaluate and treat individuals in the criminal justice system, including criminals, victims, inmates, and law enforcement officers.
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