What Are the Education Requirements to Be a Criminal Psychologist?

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 Forensic Psychology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Education Requirements

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.

Important Facts About Criminal Psychology

Job Outlook 12% Growth (as fast as average)
Common Courses Roles & Directions in Forensic Psychology, Violence, Aggression and Social Deviance, Diagnosis of Maladaptive Behavior
Work Environment Partnering with law enforcement, working in crime scenes or crime labs, testifying in court
On-the-Job Training Continuing education courses are offered through the APA

Source: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm

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.

Job Responsibilities

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.

As a criminal psychologist, you may be called upon to determine a person's mental competency, perform conflict resolution, and provide training to legal and law enforcement staff members. Job tasks might include providing crisis intervention or psychological profiling, giving expert testimony in court, preparing witnesses to testify, or assisting lawyers in choosing a jury. Sometimes, you might even participate in hostage negotiations or perform psychological autopsies. You work with children and adults in court systems, communities, prisons, or hospitals.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Kaplan University

    Kaplan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Kaplan University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Ashford University

    Ashford University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Ashford University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Northcentral University

    Northcentral University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northcentral University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Keiser University

    Keiser University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Keiser University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Technical University

    Colorado Technical University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Technical University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Sacred Heart University

    Sacred Heart University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Sacred Heart University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint Joseph's University

    Saint Joseph's University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Joseph's University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next »