How to Become Forensic Psychologist ?

Who is Forensic Psychologist ?

Forensic psychology is a specialized branch that applies psychology to the field of criminal investigation and the law. It is the best option for those who enjoy learning about the science of human behaviour and the law. Forensic psychologist need to interact with the judges and other legal people of the country. The reformulation of the psychological findings into a language that is legally understood by all is termed as forensic psychology.

With numerous portrayals in books, movies and television programs, the popularity of forensic psychology has grown considerably in recent years. Forensic psychology is about much more than these glamorized views. It has now become an essential component of the legal system.

There are many branches in psychology like the

  1. clinical psychology
  2. social psychology
  3. organizational psychology

in which the forensic psychologist can be trained upon. The general duty of any of these forensic psychologists is to provide the sentencing recommendations and the treatment recommendations to the judges or the lawyers of the court. These psychologists also have the practice to learn police law and other enforcement laws.

Here in this hub, we can have a detailed discussion about the prerequisites in order to become a successful forensic psychologist.

Forensic Psychology Education

There are some basic qualifications that one would require in order to become a forensic psychologist.


Qualities required for a Forensic Psychologist


There are a few qualities you should possess, before you decide on a career in forensic psychology.

  • Find enjoyment in working with others
  • Enjoy challenging problems
  • Patience
  • Creativity
  • Commitment
  • Enjoy studying both law and psychology

Educational Requirements for Psychologist

  • One among them is to necessarily have a doctoral degree in psychology, usually in clinical or counselling psychology. They should make sure that their education is focused on psychology, criminology and forensics. One would need to earn a doctoral degree in the field of psychology with any of the accredited programs that are being recommended for the same.
  • There is also professional license and certification given in order to practice the forensic psychologist practice. This can be obtained by taking examinations through the state psychologist licensing board. This opportunity is offered to professionals by The American Board of Forensic Psychology. So, one would need to acquire that license in order to practice the same within the state.
  • The next mandate is that one would need to successfully complete a postdoctoral education. The field in which this needs to be done is –forensic psychology. The admission into such programs is highly competitive.
  • The process for applying for the certification and the license needs to be done only after you show proof that you have an experience for about 1000 hours in the field of forensic psychology. So, totally there would be a requirement of 7 years of study after completing the usual under graduation degree in psychology.

How to Apply ?


In order to apply for the certification process, one would need to submit the application form which is available at American Board of Forensic Psychology website. The other proofs with regards to the completion of studies can be mailed to the ABFP office along with the fee for the certification.

Forensic Psychology Examination

There will be a written and an oral examination which would need to be cleared comfortably. There would be around 200 questions in the written examination and the time given to complete the same is 210 minutes. The ABFP has set 70 percent as the eligibility criteria to pass these examinations.

Also there is a requirement to submit some samples of studies to check the relevant experience and professionalism that one has in forensic psychology. These samples will be reviewed and questioned during the oral examination. The notification with regards to the results will be received in around 5 weeks. Finally when you have cleared then you will be awarded the diploma in ABFP.

Careers in Psychology : What Is Forensic Psychology?

Pros and cons of a Career in Forensic Psychology

Benefits of the Career

  • It provides you with an opportunity to help others.
  • It has diverse career paths (i.e. criminal courts, consulting, government, education).
  • It can be a challenging and rewarding career.


Drawbacks of the Career

  • Requires a large time commitment (5-7 years of graduate study).
  • When compared to the amount of education and work required the salary is very low.
  • There are chances of frustration, strain, and burnout.

How To Be A Qualified Forensic Psychologist

forensic psychology tag cloud
forensic psychology tag cloud

Career Information for Forensic Psychologists

A forensic psychologist may take variety of paths. Some work specifically with crime victims while some with the accused. There are even some who go into private practice and work as consultants. Those working with the crime victims, counsel victims during and after court trials and also assist them in dealing with the stress of reliving the crime when the victims appear on the witness stand. The psychologists working with the accused consult and assess the accused. They also determine whether or not the accused has a clear enough understanding of right and wrong to stand trial.

Forensic psychologists find employment in police stations, courthouses, and law firms. Forensic psychologists are also hired by prisons, jails, and juvenile detention centers.

Job Profile of Forensic Psychologists

The main part of a forensic psychologist career is research. They often get involved in custody disputes, insurance claims and lawsuits. They also study crime scenes to develop criminal profiles by using the evidence or lack of evidence and give testimonies about why a crime may have occurred.

The job of those in civil courts is entirely different from those working in criminal courts. The civil court psychologists assess competency, provide second opinions, and provide psychotherapy to crime victims while those in criminal courts conduct evaluations of mental competency, work with child witnesses, and provide assessment of juvenile and adult offender

Salary typically earned by forensic psychologists

Depending on the different sectors of employment, salary of a forensic psychologist can vary. Those with a doctorate degree at the entry-level positions range between $60,000 and $70,000 annually. The title of psychological assistant or psychological associate is held by Individuals with a bachelor's or master's degree. Generally the starting level salaries for these positions generally start around $35,000 or $40,000. More salary is earned by those in private practice. I.e. around $85,000 to $95,000.

This job is considered most respected because the professional opinion of the forensic psychologists is of great value within the legal courtroom. It is because of this onlythere is a huge filtering process that would happen during the examinations. There must not be even a single mistake made during the selection and hence the most experienced people in the relevant field are called for to judge the proceedings. This field is also a very important part of crime prevention as well.

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3 comments

dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

We need them. Thanks for the information. Great hub, Flag up and useful...


alyssawilliam profile image

alyssawilliam 5 years ago from New York, United States

thanks for providing info. on forensic psychologists, good job.


Kevin Peter profile image

Kevin Peter 3 years ago from Global Citizen Author

Hi dallas and alyssa,

Hope that you both were benefited through the hub information. Thanks for finding time to leave the comments.

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