Forensic psychology is the point where clinical psychology and the justice system intersect. Forensic psychology can be an exciting and challenging field of study for anyone with an interest in law, criminology, and clinical psychology. Forensic psychologists must be knowledgeable in several disciplines, including law, criminology, criminal justice, and clinical psychology, in order to serve the client and the legal system to the best of their abilities. A combination of education and experience are required to become a successful forensic psychologist and online degree programs in forensic psychology are a great way to get started in this field.
Online Associate Degree Programs for Forensic Psychology
Online degree programs at the associate level usually take two years to complete and include foundational course work in the major area and some general academic courses. While online degree programs in forensic psychology may not be widely available at the associate degree level, programs in criminal justice, criminology, and psychology are relevant to the study of forensic psychology. These programs might also include elective courses in forensic psychology, which can be an ideal way to explore the topic. After completing a two-year degree, students may be able to transfer their credits to a four-year program in psychology.
Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs for Forensic Psychology
Students planning a career in forensic psychology should consider online bachelors degree programs in forensic psychology or psychology. A forensic psychology program will include courses in criminal justice, criminal law, and criminology as well as core clinical psychology, assessment, mental health disorders, and more. A bachelor’s degree in psychology will focus more on clinical psychology course work. However, some students may be able to minor in criminal justice or take elective courses that are relevant to the forensic aspect of their long-term career goals. A bachelor’s degree in psychology or forensic psychology is essential for students planning to attend a master’s degree program in the field, which is the minimum requirement for most forensic psychologist occupations.
Online Master’s Degree Programs for Forensic Psychology
Online masters degree programs in forensic psychology usually take two to three years to complete for a full-time student. A master’s degree is the minimum requirement for most forensic psychologist positions. Students will develop methods and strategies for client engagement, assessment, and evaluation. Students will also learn specific guidelines and methods that are relevant to evaluating defendants, testifying in criminal court cases, and defining mental health in legal terms. Online masters degree programs in forensic psychology are not widely available, however, some programs do exist. Master’s degree programs in clinical counseling, psychology, or clinical social work are also relevant to forensic psychology careers. Many online programs in these fields can be tailored toward a forensic career through electives, field work, and internships.
Online Doctoral Degree Programs for Forensic Psychology
A doctoral degree in forensic psychology is the ultimate degree for those with dreams of a forensic psychology career. A doctoral degree in this field requires heavy course work in psychology, criminology, and law as well as intense research pursuits. Students in doctoral programs for forensic psychology must present independent research findings to their department to earn their degree even after completing the required course work. The degree is awarded pending the university’s review of their research, dissertation, and any required residencies or field practicum components. Licensing and experience are critical to a forensic psychologist’s credibility, which is why a doctoral degree is preferred for most forensic psychology positions. Online degree programs at the doctoral program are rare. However, some on-campus programs may allow select courses to be completed online.
Online Degree Programs in Forensic Psychology in the Work Place
Media and television present a stereotype of forensic psychologists as experts that provide testimonies in criminal court proceedings. While some forensic psychologists serve as expert witnesses for prosecutors and criminal defense teams, many work as consultants, researchers, and therapists. Forensic psychologists can work in private practice or for government agencies. Many forensic psychologists provide mental competency evaluations, clinical counseling as part of the family courts system, and child custody assessments. Some are employed in private practice and work with government agencies on a contract basis. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), psychologists can earn approximately $68,000 per year on average. Salaries for forensic psychologists may vary depending on years of experience, education, and areas of expertise. Professionals may earn more or less depending on the local cost of living.