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What To Major In For Criminal Psychology

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How Long Is A Forensic Psychology Degree

What’s the Relation Between Psychology & Criminology?

A forensic psychology education can take many forms, depending on your needs. To earn your bachelors degree, you may need to commit to 4 years of coursework. If you’ve already studied at another university, SNHU will accept up to 90 transfer credits, which can greatly shorten the time it takes to earn your degree.

Your program will feature a mix of high-level science, liberal arts, communication, social science, and arts and humanities courses as well as a final capstone course.

Although psychologists typically need a doctoral degree in psychology, a masters degree may be sufficient for school and industrial-organizational positions, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.2 Psychologists in clinical practice need a license.

When working under the supervision of a doctoral psychologist, masters degree graduates can also work as psychological assistants in clinical, counseling or research settings.

What Is The Difference Between Forensic Psychology And Criminal Psychology

The American Board of Forensic Psychology defines forensic psychology as the application of the science and profession of psychology to questions and issues relating to law and the legal system.3 Those who specialize in the field often work in the court or prison system, in criminal justice, as a victim advocate and in many other roles.

Dr. Bernadette Boozer-Madison, who teaches forensic psychology online at SNHU, says its common for students to confuse forensic psychology with criminal justice.

In most cases, they are drawn to forensic psychology because of how it is depicted on television in shows like Law & Order,CSI and Criminal Minds, said Boozer-Madison. Forensic psychology is a very exciting field, but it also hinges on and relies on the inter-workings of the judicial system and law enforcement.

Our forensic psychology degree actually includes a criminal psychology course. Designed to provide insights about crime from a psychological perspective, the course focuses on how various systems influence criminal offenders. Put another way, criminal psychology is about the motives and influences behind antisocial acts.

SNHU adjunct faculty member Kathy Edwards helps put a finer point on the field.Forensic psychology has been called the intersection of law and psychology, she said. It’s a field in which psychologists apply their psychosocial knowledge to civil and criminal law.

Should I Get A Bachelor’s In Forensic Psychology

The ideal forensic psychology degree can take many forms, depending on the needs of the student. All aspiring forensic psychologists can expect to dedicate themselves to a rigorous curriculum and fulfill practicum requirements in a professional setting for the better part of four years in order to complete their degree. Many schools offer a forensic psychology concentration as part of a bachelors in psychology or criminal justice, designed to introduce students to high-level science, liberal arts, communication, social science, and arts and humanities concepts.

Different types of degrees exist to serve all types of students in a forensic psychology program. A flexible online bachelor’s degree in psychology might appeal more to full-time workers or professionals seeking a career change, while an on-campus degree may attract recent high school graduates looking to start their career as soon as possible. Beginning bachelor’s degree students can benefit from the networking opportunities their program provides, while students nearing graduation can often access job placement assistance and internships through their program.

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What Subjects In Criminal Justice Will Offer The Most Opportunities

Majors related to criminal justice degrees offer many subjects that are designed to help those professions that deal with criminal activity as well as the field of justice where laws are interpreted and carried out. Many of these subjects can be used in a variety of different industries and applied to interpret different types of information. A good example of this is forensics. Forensics is a subject that is incredibly diverse and can be applied to many different fields. Every subject ranging from collecting evidence to communication and the relaying of information between sources is beneficial and has something to offer every criminal justice graduate no matter what profession they choose to enter.

Subjects like investigation, collecting evidence, interviewing techniques, etc., are all part of what criminal justice is all about. For as much as enforcing the laws and statutes play a role in the field of criminal justice, learning how to apply the law is just as important. This is where ethics, the study of the Constitution/Bill of Rights, and forensics all start to apply. A solid criminal justice degree program will include the subjects that will directly pertain to the career path you want to follow after you graduate.

Why Should You Choose A Bachelors Degree In Forensic Psychology

Forensic psychologist
  • It closely resembles a double major in psychology and criminal justice: If you are looking to get the best of both worlds and enjoy a fusion of these two fields, then this is the perfect major for you .

  • You are interested in working with victims of crime or a criminal population: If your ideal career involves supporting victims of crime or inmates, then this major will equip you with knowledge on both legal and psychological topics to do so successfully. If you want to work on unsolved criminal cases in real life, you will be glad to know that Saint Rose offers students in the forensic psychology degree the chance to work on true cold cases in the Colleges Cold Case Analysis Center. .

  • It is a unique major: If you are not sure what to study in college and you want to choose something that will set you apart from others in the criminal justice and psychology fields, then this major will make you a unique candidate for the workforce. A very limited number of institutions offer a bachelors degree in forensic psychology.

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Are There Different Types Of Criminal Justice Majors

There are several different types of criminal justice majors to choose from. Legal professionals like paralegals often start out earning a major in criminal justice. The same goes for individuals who become private investigators or law enforcement officers. A major in criminal justice offers students in-depth information about how laws are interpreted and applied. It also provides tips and skills that a graduate can use to collect vital evidence to help support cases that may be filed after an event occurs. Whether you work with law enforcement, with the courts, or in any other position in which finding an ethical or legally sound solution is called for, a criminal justice major offers the subjects you will need to succeed.

Criminal justice majors are also an excellent choice for individuals who are interested in homeland security positions. This could also be extended to include emergency management teams who must work hand in hand with law enforcement agencies when natural disasters or other types of emergencies occur. Having this type of knowledge helps you to stay organized and will allow you to collect the type of evidence you need to solve any problems or issues you may have.

Forensic Psychologist Salary Information For California

In 2014 the United States Department of Labor reported that the North Coast of California nonmetropolitan region was the highest paying metropolitan area in the nation for forensic psychologists. In addition, the following regions were among the top ten highest paying metropolitan areas for forensic psychologists in the nation:

  • Hanford-Corcoran
  • Salinas
  • Madera-Chowchilla

That same year California was also heralded as a national leader in terms of employment for forensic psychologists with some notable distinctions including:

  • More forensic psychologists than any state in the country
  • The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale metropolitan division had the highest number of forensic psychologists of any metropolitan area in the country
  • The Hanford-Corcoran metropolitan region held the second highest concentration of forensic psychologists of any other metropolitan areas in the country
  • The Mother Lode Region nonmetropolitan district held the second highest concentration of forensic psychologists of any nonmetropolitan area in the country

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Begin Preparing For The Career You Desire By Choosing The Best Bachelors Program For Your Goalsan Online Criminal Justice Degree Or An Online Forensic Psychology Degree

Criminal justice professionals and forensic psychologists work in diverse settings throughout the criminal justice system, but they make an impact in different ways. Individuals who choose careers in the criminal justice system are often motivated by a desire to make a positive difference in the lives of individuals, families, and communities affected by crime. Additionally, they seek to improve the methods of dealing with victims and offenders in various stages of their lives.

Jobs For Psychology Majors With Criminal Justice Minors


Many schools offer an interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree that combines courses from the department of psychology and the department of criminal justice. In addition to learning psychological theories governing human behavior, students learn about the criminal justice system. This degree combination prepares students for work in a variety of occupations.

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How Much Will I Make With A Degree In Criminal Psychology

Salaries vary by factors like degree, position, and experience. Bachelors degree graduates in social work positions often make around $40,000 annually, while specialized federal employees often make twice as much. Licensed psychologists with doctoral degrees average close to $70,000, annually, according to PayScale.

Is A Forensic Psychologist A Clinical Psychologist

Forensic psychologists are licensed clinical psychologists who specialize in applying psychological knowledge to legal matters, both in the criminal and civil arenas. Forensic psychology is a subdiscipline of psychology, with its own professional organizations, training programs, and research journals.

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How Do You Become A Clinical Forensic Psychologist

Steps to Becoming a Forensic Psychologist

  • Enroll in an undergraduate program.
  • Apply for undergraduate internships or research positions.
  • Complete a masters degree in forensic psychology.
  • Earn a doctoral degree in forensic psychology.
  • Register with the American Board of Professional Psychology.
  • Present a dissertation.
  • What Is A Bs In Criminal Justice

    Career path: Forensic Psychology

    The core curriculum of an online BS in Criminal Justice degree focuses on areas such as profiling serial and mass murderers understanding drugs, gangs, and organized crime computer forensics and restorative justice. Some criminal justice degrees may also offer concentrations in areas such as computer information systems and security crime and criminals criminal justice management and administration homeland security and human services for criminal justice. These specialized bachelors degrees help students align their undergraduate studies with the specific type of career they desire. Having a criminal justice degree may provide graduates with better credentials and a competitive edge when compared with other job applicants. You will also have a solid foundation for pursuing an MS in Criminal Justice, and ultimately, a PhD in Criminal Justice.

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    Financing Your Online Bachelor’s In Forensic Psychology Program

    Despite the relative affordability of online programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.

    What Else Can I Expect From A Bachelor’s In Forensic Psychology Program

    Generally, a bachelor’s in forensic psychology introduces students to the psychology and criminal investigation skills needed to enter the industry, though details vary, depending on the school and program. In many cases at the bachelor’s level, schools offer forensic psychology as a concentration of a clinical psychology program.

    Concentrations Offered for a Bachelor’s Degree in Forensic Psychology

    Forensic science technician, forensic anthropologist, arson investigator
    Crime Scene Investigation A concentration in crime scene investigation prepares students to identify, collect, and document critical physical evidence at the scene of a crime. Crime scene investigator,forensic artist, crime scene photographer

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    Careers In Criminal Psychology Vs Forensics

    Criminal psychology and forensic psychology: Both are psychology subfields that deal with crime, law and the legal system.

    But if criminal psychologists work internally, from within the criminals point of view, a forensic psychology professional approaches things externally.

    Although they are similar, they have differences that relegate their relationship to being more like cousins than siblings.

    What Can I Do With This Degree

    Criminal Psychology Student Hannah

    A bachelor’s degree in criminal psychology will not qualify you to become a criminal psychologist. You need at least a master’s degree to work as a licensed or certified psychologist in the criminal justice field. A bachelor’s degree can qualify you to assist criminal psychologists with corrections programs, or you could find such positions as:

    • Probation or parole officer

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    What Is A Criminal Psychologist

    A criminal psychologist, who is sometimes referred to as a forensic psychologist, works in an area the blends psychology with the field of criminal justice. Criminal psychologists often work with members of the judicial system, law enforcement, and other agencies and provide their expert analysis in a number of areas. Much of a criminal psychologists job is to conduct research, evaluate behavior, and write reports.

    Criminal psychologists might evaluate the thoughts and behaviors of criminal offenders, determine the ability of the accused to stand trial, or provide expert testimony during a trial regarding the defendants mental state during the commission of the crime. Criminal psychologists may also work with victims of crimes to help them overcome the traumas associated with their experiences. Many criminal psychologists also work with offenders after they have been convicted in order to help rehabilitate them for eventual re-entry into the general population.

    What Can You Do With A Forensic Psychology Degree

    Depending on where they work, forensic psychologists serve a variety of roles. Psychologists working in correctional facilities interact with prisoners, providing ongoing counseling and mental health screenings. Forensic psychologists work with law enforcement and prosecutors, assessing criminals and defendants to determine their ability to stand trial.

    To practice as a forensic psychologist, you need a doctoral degree however, a forensic psychology degree can prepare you for a variety of careers both inside and outside of the legal system.

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    Forensic Psychologist Masters Degree Careers

    When you are able to pursue a graduate level education in forensic psychology, more career options open up. However, it is important to note that even with a masters degree, graduates are not eligible for licensing as psychologists and therefore are not able to treat patients in a clinical setting. Following are some of the career options available to those holding a master of science degree in forensic psychology.

    Accredited Online Bachelor’s In Forensic Psychology Programs

    What Degrees Do You Need To Be A Criminal Psychologist ...

    Maryville University focuses on affordable distance education, serving almost 6,000 remote learners each year. The institution offers a fully online bachelor’s in forensic psychology/criminal justice that prepares students for entry-level positions in corrections, behavioral research, and social services. With three start dates each year and no residency requirements, the program provides working professionals with ample flexibility.

    The curriculum covers topics like human development through the lifespan, abnormal psychology, and human cognition. Students also take nine criminal justice/criminology classes, including juvenile delinquency and multicultural policing. Participants develop applied skills in research and statistical analysis.

    Based in Chicago, Illinois, National Louis University enrolls roughly 9,000 students across its four colleges. Its undergraduate catalog includes an online bachelor’s in criminal justice with a forensic social science major. Students in this program can also pursue an optional entrepreneurship concentration.

    Coursework covers topics like criminal justice agencies, applied behavioral analysis, and mental health diagnosis and intervention. Students also examine how current and emerging policy trends impact the justice system in the U.S. Graduates are prepared to work in law enforcement, corrections, the court system, and relevant private industries.

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    Criminal Psychology Degree Requirements

    To become any type of psychologist, you must earn a bachelors degree in psychology or in a related field, for starters. Then, you must earn at least a masters degree in criminal psychology, and a doctoral degree will give you the most career and salary options. .

    You can earn your Ph.D. in criminal psychology after taking four to six years of courses and completing an exam and dissertation. Most states require you to obtain licensure as a psychologist to work in practice. It also can be helpful to earn a certification in forensic psychology offered by the American Board of Professional Psychology.

    Selecting Your Criminal Psychology Program

    Students should consider several factors when researching prospective criminal psychology programs. The following list outlines several key considerations for learners.


    Students should look for programs that offer specializations or concentrations relevant to their career goals.

    Program Length

    Many programs offer part-time and/or accelerated options. Students should consider their professional and personal obligations before deciding on an appropriate degree timeline and attendance pace.

    Online vs. In-Person

    Many working adults benefit from the flexibility of online programs, while others prefer the structure and engagement of in-person programs.


    Programs at regionally accredited schools meet rigorous academic standards and expand employment, financial aid, and education opportunities.

    University Resources

    Students should consider a universitys resources before committing to a program. Potential resources include counseling, career, and financial aid services.


    Schools offering extracurricular clubs, institutes, and events may provide a richer, more social, and more well-rounded educational experience than schools without them.


    Top programs may provide a more rigorous education and garner more attention from prospective employers than lesser-known programs.

    Earning Potential

    Alumni Network

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    Take Examination For Professional Practice In Psychology

    You may be approved to take this examination before youve completed the full 3000 internship hours, since the California Board only requires that you have completed 1500 hours of supervised professional experience to apply.

    To take this exam, you will schedule directly with Pearson VUE and pay:

    • An exam fee of $600
    • A computer-based testing fee of $79.58

    You will then be able to take the exam at any California test center, including those located in the following cities:

    • Fresno

    You may receive a waiver for the EPPP only if:

    • You have been a licensed psychologist in another state for at least five years
    • You possess a Certificate of Professional Qualification
    • Youre a licensed psychologists credentialed as a Health Service Provider in Psychology
    • You are certified by the American Board of Professional psychology and have been licensed in another state

    If you do meet these requirements, you will still need to file an application, meet all current licensing requirements, pay application fees, and pass the California Psychology Laws and Ethics Examination .

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