The forensic psychology degree is a lesser known, specialized degree in the field of psychology. This special class of psychology requires that one obtains a Master of Arts in forensic psychology, which means that you must first obtain a four-year bachelors degree before beginning this masters program. Forensic psychology is related to the forensic science field, as it requires vast knowledge in the areas of criminology, law and behavioral science. Several schools offer these degree programs, and the locations are all across the continental United States. Many graduates with a degree in this field find jobs in places such as penal institutions, court settings, psychiatric clinics and law enforcement agencies. Many other government jobs for forensic psychologists exist, especially on forensics teams and crime scene investigator teams where their skills are needed.In order to understand what this degree contains, one must first examine what the purpose of this degree is. There is a great need for different types of psychologists who work within the justice system. Students who practice in this field must also know about different jurisdictions so they can provide services that accurately interact with various judges, attorneys and other legal professionals. Many forensic psychologists are used in a court setting, so training in this regard is also beneficial. The person who obtains this degree must have a great deal of knowledge of the judicial system and a firm grasp on special procedures in order to maintain their credibility in the courtroom.Forensic psychology doesnt just involve using your skills to benefit the judicial and legal system. The main goal is the same as with any other psychology field, which is to try and help individuals. That being said, a psychologists role in the legal and judicial system remains important. For example, there are many requests that a judge may solidify with the help of a forensic psychologist. Forensic psychology involves assessing future risks, evaluation of witness credibility in large cases, and many times a forensic psychologist must fully understand the defendants state of mind so that they can make a correct judgment on behalf of the court. Other functions of a forensic psychologist are to help the individuals they are examining by offering treatment programs and medication. Even training and evaluating police and other law enforcement personnel is an aspect of the job. This is because law enforcement officials often need training to understand certain parts of their job, such as how a suspect may think or what constitutes insanity on the part of the criminal at the time a crime is committed. In order to find the right school for your forensic psychology degree, there is some research involved. Tuition may vary widely depending on the institution you select. The quality of the institutions may vary as well. The best way to research and find the right school is to look for the top school rankings from credible sources like major news magazines and other well-known college ranking publications, coupled with questioning others who have completed similar programs. Although expenses are incurred in attaining the forensic psychology degree, the benefits of the education are well worth it for the right individual. Forensic psychologists are in high demand and their starting salary is generally higher than most other fields of psychology. This makes it a good career choice for those who want to help others and enjoy the challenge of working with the judicial and law enforcement communities.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sandy Winslow is a writer who specializes in many topics, including psychology and other subject areas. The Master of Arts Forensic Psychology degree is not one of the better known degrees in the general psychology field, but for the right person, it could be a great career fit with challenging work in a well paying field that is in high demand.