If it fascinates you to understand the reason why people commit crimes and how they do it, maybe it is even your interest to reduce crimes or get criminals punished. Then Forensic psychology might be the career for you.

Forensic psychology is a new field that helps to solve cases by combining the knowledge of human behaviors and legal methodologies. Professionals in this field play a significant role in solving civil and criminal matters.

Having a good knowledge of this profession and the means to follow a career in this field can help you determine if it is a suitable career for you. In this article, you will learn about what Forensic psychologists do and how to become one.

Who Is A Forensic Psychologist?

Forensic psychologists work in various divisions of the judicial system. They engage in many tasks such that no two days on the job are replicates of each other. They often conduct interviews in the office setups and sometimes meet people outside the offices for a thorough investigation.

Forensic psychologists typically work in the courtroom, office, and crime scenes. They work alongside detectives and police, giving professional opinions on criminals’ motives and possible mental disorders that may have triggered the crime. 

Furthermore, they help to evaluate if witnesses are truthful with their statements and if the defendants are competent to stand in court. They also enable victims to manage traumatic experiences. It is also their job to counsel children in case of abuse.

Since you are now familiar with the job of a forensic psychologist, below are some tips on the skills and certifications in preparation for a career in forensic psychology.

Critical Thinking

As a forensic psychologist, you must combine legal knowledge, counseling public policy, and the ability to understand human behavior. Your position in crime investigation is sensitive, and a wrong opinion can ruin the lives involved.

Starting from collecting information to critically observing people’s behavior and taking the legal system into account, you must possess a sound critical thinking ability.

Your opinion is a crucial factor in deciding if witness testimony is worthy, if it is okay to release an inmate, or if a person deserves punishment or not. For these reasons and many more, there is no bargain on excellent critical thinking skills.

Attention To Details

As a forensic psychologist, you must notice verbal and non-verbal signs in the subjects you interview. Your work will depend on your ability to observe even the most minor irregularities that might influence the case.

These details that need your attention could be physical objects, actions, or body gestures. Being conscious of these small things is vital in identifying and analyzing them.

Work Ethics

The job nature of forensic psychologists allows them access to sensitive personal information. You must prepare to follow ethical protocols and practices. You must not reveal the identity of your subjects or discuss an ongoing investigation with people that are not at liberty to know the details.

Doing so may influence the investigation, and evidence may be tampered with. Therefore, it may cause the gathering of false information.

Objectivity

Due to the nature of forensic psychology, where you deal with human behaviors, crime, and laws, a career in this field can be emotionally challenging. It would help if you prepared to separate your emotions from your job despite the need to understand your subjects’ emotions to do a good job.

Irrespective of who you are working with, be it lawyers, victims, police, or criminals, you must always maintain professionalism. It would be best if you always displayed high self-awareness and objectivity. Your opinions should only base on law and facts without emotional attachment.

Show Of Compassion

The display of compassion may seem to conflict with objectivity, as mentioned earlier. However, to be an excellent forensic psychologist, you must care for the people you work with. Forensic psychology combines the human element and the justice system. Therefore you must have the ability to show compassion.

The show of compassion and the simultaneous maintenance of objectivity is one of the complexities a forensic psychologist faces. It is not an easy task to balance professional needs and perform tasks that require attention and care for humans.

You must understand the difference between allowing emotional distractions and wanting a victim’s voice heard or the best outcome for an inmate.

Education

To pursue a career in Forensic Psychology, you must obtain a degree in forensic psychology or general psychology. It would be best if you also met the criteria to pursue a master’s degree in forensic psychology in your desired school.

You may be allowed to study a master’s degree program with a bachelor’s degree in related courses. Still, to apply for a doctorate program, you must have a master’s degree in Forensic Psychology.

A career in forensic psychology requires a high level of education. A minimum master’s degree is needed to begin a career. It would help if you prepared your mind to obtain the necessary certifications if you have an interest in becoming a forensic psychologist.

Prepare To Earn State Licensure

Before you can practice forensic psychology, you must earn a state license. The requirements vary in different states. Most states require you to have a doctorate in forensic psychology, supervised hours of practice, and sometimes, you will need to take an exam.

Alongside the state license, you may also increase your chance of getting a lucrative job by earning other professional certifications.

Begin Preparation For A Career In Forensic Psychology Today

If you have determined to pursue a career in forensic psychology, you need to know that most jobs in this field require a doctorate. It means you must be ready to invest between 8 to 10 years of education.

In addition, you must have compassion, critical thinking ability, and also be able to pay attention to details. Furthermore, you must possess the ability to pay attention to details; you must be able to follow protocols, and, most of all, you must know the laws.