Forensic psychologists work in legal systems. They usually help physicians and courts in determining the competency for trial, mental state and fair sentencing and other aspects. This is sensitive as well as highly responsible work. That is why for such a job the qualifications and requirements are quite high, the least being a Master’s degree in psychology. This would be sufficient to make you eligible for many job offers. However for ensuring you actually get a job as a forensic psychologist, a Ph.D. or Psy.D (Doctorate in psychology) is highly recommended. This greatly increases employment and salary opportunities.
Another essential component for practicing as a forensic psychologist is a license. A license is obtained by taking exams through the state licensing board of every state. In the USA it is done under the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) in which it recognizes psychologists as specialists and offers certification examination.
Apart from these to become a successful forensic psychologist having a minor degree/diploma in law would be very helpful. Few of the forensic psychologists have two doctorate, one in psychologists and one in law. Because forensic psychology is a health practice within the legal system and law, some jobs require varying levels of law studies. This is comparatively a new criteria and people aiming to become a forensic psychologist should participate in different legal education programs throughout their careers.
In the start however, a bachelor’s degree in psychology or related area needs to be earned. An accredited institution should always be chosen for this. A doctoral program can be completed after this. Completing doctoral work can take up to four years of graduate coursework. An internship is also required to be completed before graduation.
The license law differs in every state as stated by U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most states however require the forensic psychologists to be licensed. The licensing requirements include a verified doctoral degree, a completed internship and up to two years of professional working the field along with a passed exam of professional practice in psychology.
After completing all this an individual is usually ready to start a successful career in the forensic psychology. Higher degrees and excessive experience can however be continued to be pursued. After this there are always options to get involved in going on research works and working with different assessment studies as a group. Forensic psychologists working in the beginning can also work on training and education basis with different government organizations to gain experience on relatively low wages.