Criminal Psychology Training Requirements
Criminal psychology is the branch of psychology that applies what we know about human thoughts, emotions, and behaviors to varying aspects of the justice system. Also known as forensic psychology, the applications for this field are virtually limitless. From determining whether a person was sane or not when they committed a crime to creating a profile of a serial killer, criminal psychology is one of the more valuable tools available for finding, prosecuting, and convicting criminals.
Of course, there are other applications for this specialized field of psychology as well including judging the competency of an accused person or a witness and determining whether or not a convicted person up for parole is likely to commit the same crime again if they are released. It takes a great deal of education, skill, and experience to work in the criminal psychology field, and, as such, there are rigid training requirements for anyone who wishes to pursue a criminal psychology career.
The Basics of Criminal Psychology Training
If you wish to work in the field of criminal psychology, then you must meet the following training requirements:
- Obtain a doctoral degree in psychology
- Obtain licensure from the state
- Participate in post-doctoral forensic psychology specialty training
- Obtain a Diploma from the American Board of Forensic Psychology
Criminal Psychology Degrees
In some states, it may be possible to become a criminal psychologist with a master’s degree only, but more credibility and recognition is given to those who hold a doctoral. You must check with your state licensing board to be sure of the degree requirements in your area. There are two types of doctoral degrees: the Ph.D and the Psy.D. The Ph.D, or Doctor of Philosophy in psychology, tends to focus more heavily on the intellectual, research-based side of psychology while the Psy.D, or Doctor or Psychology, emphasizes the importance of clinical based training in addition to standard intellectual training.
Obtaining Criminal Psychology Training
In most circumstances it is usually better to select a school that is accredited by the American Psychological Association. Since the APA on accredits facilities that offer master’s and doctoral programs, it may be difficult to find online criminal psychology training that is accredited. However, there are other accrediting boards that do certify associate’s and bachelor’s programs for online colleges, and this can be an excellent stepping stone for people who need the flexibility of online training. Just be sure that the education you receive here will transfer to the traditional college you will attend to complete your master’s or doctoral training.
You may also wish to enroll in some criminal justice core classes in conjunction with your psychology training. While this is not a requirement for criminal psychology, it can provide you with more specialized training that will make you more successful when training for your forensic psychology diploma post-graduate.
Ultimately, it will take about 7 years to complete the training required to work in criminal psychology. This includes the 5 years of graduate school and the 2 years of specialty training. When you are finished, however, you will be regarded as an expert with very lucrative job possibilities in the field of criminal psychology.