It can be a challenge to figure out a new career path. Maybe you’re just leaving high school and wondering what options are available to you, or you’re looking for a huge change in your life. A career in forensic psychology can be exciting and rewarding. Here’s everything you need to know about this career choice.

What Is A Forensic Psychologist?

Forensic psychology is a specialty within the field of psychology. A forensic psychologist typically has expertise regarding the minds of criminals and will be called upon in a court of law to provide expert testimony. Within this specialty, you will focus on either clinical, forensic, or legal practice. As a clinical forensic psychologist, you work with clients to treat and diagnose mental health disorders, similar to a general psychologist. With a forensic specialty, you focus on forensic ethics within a legal context. If you choose to be a legal forensic psychologist, you’ll develop a greater understanding of the legal system.

What Education Do You Need?

To become a forensic psychologist, you’ll need to start by getting your Bachelor’s degree. You might major in psychology and minor in law, or you might earn an online forensic psychology degree. Next, you may want to earn a Master’s degree, though you might not have to do so to continue your education. Since you’ll almost certainly have to get a Doctorate in Psychology, check with the programs you’re interested in and see if the school requires you first earn a Master’s. If it’s not required, you may want to skip the Master’s and go right to the Doctorate to save yourself time and money.

After earning your degrees, you can apply for your state’s license, which will require you to take and pass an exam. With your license, you’ll have the power to serve as an expert witness in court or evaluate defendants. At this point, you can also apply for professional certification with the American Board of Forensic Psychology (ABFP). Being board certified gives you a high level of credibility, and you can only do so after completing a certain number of hours in the field. With all this education and experience, you’ll be ready to start your career as a forensic psychologist.

What Types Of Jobs Are Available?

With your education completed, you can now start applying for forensic psychology jobs. There are many to choose from, and your chosen specialty will probably help you narrow down the choices. If you’re interested in working with the police, you can work as a crime analyst. If you’re not sure if this would be the right fit for you, look up free arrest records online and take some time to analyze them. Gaining a little experience in crime analysis might help you decide if this would be the perfect career for you.

If you love the law, you might want to become an expert witness who can be called upon to provide evidence in court. Do you love to work with people? Become a forensic case manager or social worker. In these positions, you can help rehabilitate perpetrators or evaluate your clients’ mental states. There are even plenty of law enforcement jobs you could pursue with your degrees, such as correction or probation officer. You might want to be a clinical director or a psychology teacher. With your education, you’ll have many different career paths open to you, which gives you the flexibility to choose whatever suits you best. You’ll also have the power to begin a new career without pursuing more education. With a forensic psychology degree, you will have many doors open to you.

If you’re interested in crimes, the law, and working with people, earning your forensic psychology degrees could put you on the path to an exciting new career.