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Criminal Justice Articles

Finding the right Criminal Psychology education

Finding the right criminal psychology education program helps in gaining access to the best jobs within the field of forensic psychology. It is important to select an American Psychological Association (APA) accredited degree program that offers at least a master's degree in psychology, although it is recommended that one ultimately earn a doctoral degree to be assured long term, stable employment. It is difficult to find decent work within the area of criminal psychology with only a bachelor's degree.

Most academic institutions that offer degrees in psychology do not specialize in forensic or criminal psychology degrees. Many who wish to enter the field obtain a master's degree or higher in psychology with an emphasis on classes focusing on criminal justice. There are a select number of schools that offer specific degrees in criminal psychology and anyone considering the field is advised to look at these institutions and the programs they offer.

Among the small number of schools that offer graduate or post-graduate degrees are Pacific University, Auburn University, and Tufts University. Being accepted to a graduate criminal psychology program generally requires a person to have already earned a bachelor's degree in either criminal justice or psychology before applying.

In a criminal psychology program, aside from traditional psychology classes, students can expect to study all areas of abnormal psychology, including areas related to criminal behavior. Other subjects of study include, behavioral statistics, ethics relating to criminal justice, forensic science, and a variety of law classes. Criminal psychology degree programs require students complete a predetermined amount of clinical experience hours. Most degree programs are designed for completion within two to four years, depending upon the degree level desired and whether a student attends classes full or part-time. Beyond obtaining a criminal psychology degree, graduates are also required to pass a licensing or certification exam.

Criminal psychologists work in either a clinical, forensic or legal setting. Students are advised to have an idea of the area they would like to specialize in and seek out schools that cater to those fields. Some of the more specific choices to consider might include police psychology, criminal psychology, public policy creation, and criminal justice careers that specialize in studying and deterring terrorism.

Anyone truly serious about a career in criminal psychology should also work hard at developing their clinical assessment skills, interviewing techniques, report writing skills, and skills relating to case presentations. It is also recommended that clinical psychology students become student affiliates of the American Psychological Association.

The most successful people in this field generally enter their studies with a keen interest in improving society from within the criminal justice system. Clinical psychologists usually start out at pay scales much lower than psychologists in other disciplines, those who enter this field generally do so more for the challenge of the experience than they do for economic gain. A career in criminal psychology is an important one, as it directly or indirectly impacts the quality of life for all citizens. Coursework leading to a degree in this field can be rigorous, people who are passionate about affecting the criminal justice system, by applying psychological tools and assessments, will find criminal psychology to be a highly rewarding career choice.

Schools Offering Criminology Courses:

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