Criminal Psychology Overview Criminal psychologists seek to understand the motivations of criminals and develop a psychological profile to understand or apprehend them. They examine individual criminal behaviors and diagnose any mental health conditions.
It is required for criminal psychologists to receive a doctoral degree in the field of criminal or forensic psychology, which will usually take between five and seven years of studies.
To become a criminal psychologist , you must first earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field, followed by a master’s degree in psychology . This completes the minimum requirements necessary to use the title “ psychologist ” and to begin work with patients on a clinical basis or offer clinical opinions.
In either case, forensic psychology could be a great career path for you. Interest in forensic psychology has exploded in the past few years, but there are many misconceptions surrounding this career . For example, it’s not all spouting expert analysis from the witness stand or convincing criminals to admit their guilt.
The field also continues to grow due to a demand for criminal psychologists in mental health centers and law enforcement agencies. According to the BLS, the field of criminal psychology is expected to grow faster than the average of other occupations through 2024.
Generally, psychologists aren’t in any more danger than other people who work in an office. Forensic psychologists provide assessments in court, give expert testimony, and provide court-ordered treatment to those in prison. These are the guys who evaluate offenders to see if they are legally insane.
The federal government has the highest demand for forensic psychologists out of anywhere else, and employs over 5,000 of these psychologists with an average salary of $85,000 (09).
Education and Training In many cases, criminal psychologists start out by earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology . After completing an undergraduate degree , some students opt to then enter a master’s in psychology program. Entering a doctorate program after earning your bachelor’s is another option.
Although both criminologists and criminal psychologists study criminals , their focus is very different. Criminology is the study of the causes of crime and ways to prevent and control it; while criminal psychology focuses on studying the thoughts, feelings and behaviors of criminals .
To become a clinical psychologist, you will need an undergraduate degree ( four to five years of college) plus a doctorate degree ( four to seven years of graduate school). For this specialty area, most people will spend between eight to 12 years in higher education.
Forensic psychologists are usually licensed psychologists who specialize in applying psychological knowledge to legal matters, both in the criminal and civil arenas. They hold graduate degrees in psychology , most often a Ph. D. or a Psy.
How to become a Criminologist Complete a bachelor degree in criminology , criminal justice, justice studies, legal studies or psychology or a related field. Alternatively, complete post graduate studies in criminology . Undergo a Police Check or Working with Children Check, depending on your employer and the role.
Landing a career as a criminal profiler is no easy feat, and there are a lot of folks competing for not a lot of jobs. If you’re interested in working in such a highly sought-after and wildly competitive field, you’re going to need to know how to become a criminal profiler and start planning for your career path now.
Salaries for forensic psychologists can be excellent, with the BLS reporting that the top 10% of psychologists earned more than $129,530. As with most psychology careers, experience and chosen field of specialty play an enormous factor in salary .
And even though Criminal Minds comes closer to real life than other shows, forensic psychology professionals are seldom criminal profilers. Dr. Beyer actually advises online psychology degree students to consider a career in law enforcement if they want to be profilers.