ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to become a Forensic Psychologist

Updated on February 22, 2013

What does a Forensic Psychologist do?

Chartered Forensic Psychologists typically work to assess offenders and provide appropriate interventions (e.g. therapy) in prison settings or secure hospitals. They can also be asked to perform risk assesments through using a number of psychometric tools in order to asses whether an individual is safe to be released back into the community. Forensic Psychologists can also be called upon to give evidence as an expert witness in court. They typically work for the prison service, the police, the NHS or in higher academic institutions. Continued research and development of ones knoledge in the field is also an essential componant of the job role.

How do I know if I want to study this?

Deciding what to study at University and consequently what to do for your future career is a daunting and difficult task. The cost of a University education is sky rocketing recently which makes it even more important to make the correct choice. It is therefore advisable that you do as much research as you can into your chosen subject, University and potential future career as this will only help you to make an informed and good decision.

Forensic Psychology is a fascinating field to study and there is plenty of jobs available and the potential for much future growth. It has a future career path built into it, which you can follow all the way through untill you become chartered. This is helpfull as some degrees that are more academic and general do not guide you into any particular future career, which can be problematic for some students.


The best way to decide if Forensic Psychology is for you is to try and study a module in it during your undergraduate psychology degree, this way you can get a taste for what it is like. Another great way is to try and get actual hands on experience in the field. This can be very difficult but I will discuss options open to you further down.

Reading around the subject can help you to get a good understanding of what the subject is like to study at University and what kind of things you will be learning about. It is always advisble to do as much reading as you can around the subject area. Also the internet is a great repository of information and spending sometime googling the subject should bring up a wealth of information which can help you to decide if it is for you.

Undergraduate Degree

The first real step in becoming a Forensic Psychologist is to study for an undergraduate degree in Psychology, or a related discipline such as Psychology and Crimonology or Psychology and Criminal Justice.

The key thing to remember here is that the degree must be accredited by the British Psychological Society as providing you with the Graduate Basis for Registration. This is something you can check by emailing the course co-ordinator and asking them, or it may say on your University's website. If the undergraduate degree does not have this GBR then you will not be able to get a place on an accredited Masters course.

Most credible Masters courses require a 2:1 or usually a high 2:1 to ensure a place as competition is fierce. Your application for a place will be viewed higher if you can show evidence of relevant work experience, volunteering, charity work etc.

What if my undergrduate degree is NOT in Psychology? - You can still proceed to a Masters even if your undergraduate degree is not in a Psychology relted discipline but you will need to study for a conversion course to Psychology first. This course typically lasts one year studying full time, or two years part time and should cover the basics of Psychology and research methods. Again this course needs to be accredited by the BPS as providing GBR, and not all do, so please check first!

Masters Degree in Forensic Psychology

Now you have got your BSc you need to apply for a place on an accredited Masters (MSc) in Forensic Psychology or Investigative and Forensic Psychology. This course needs to be recognised by the BPS as providing the next stage in training. You can check this again through contacting the University directly or checking their website. The BSP should also have a list of accredited courses on their website.

Picking which University to study at now will need to be guided by where the best accredited courses are taught. You may need to be willing to move to go to the best institution.

Unfortunately once you have completed your MSc that still is not the end of the process, there is one final stage before you can achieve chartered Forensic Psychology status.

Stage 2 Training and Development

The final stage in getting chartered involves two years on the job supervision under a qualified Forensic Psychologist and the requirement of producing a portfolio which demonstrates learning nd knoledge in four key competancies. This work will usually need to be undertaken within a practical setting such as a prison or secure hospital as a portion of the work will require assesments, and as such access to clients is required.

This part of the process can be quite difficult and lengthy and often takes longer than the two years indicated by the BPS. It also costs addional money as membership fees to the BPS must be paid, and the four pieces of work which are done cost money to be graded. So it is worth baring in mind the additional cost associted with this stage of the training. It may be possible however to get a contribution from your employer towards the costs as they are likely to want to see you qualified too.

Alternative Pathway

I have been informed that there is an alternative way of getting qualifed, and this involves studying for a Doctorate in Forensic Psychology which combines the Masters and the Stage 2 training allowing the recipient to become chartered immediatly upon graduation. This can however be very costly, so it will depend on your financial situation.

Opinion Time!

Would you consider being a Forensic Psychologist?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)