How To Become a Criminal Psychologist

As seen on popular television shows, it is the job of the criminal psychologist to get clues and pieces of information from a crime scene. It is also his job to analyze the information he gathered to piece together a crime. It is his job to determine who the suspect is, and what his motivation is to commit the crime. Despite the ease that the actors portray in a television series, becoming a criminal psychologist is not an easy task. The path to this career often requires detours that will take you back to school. It usually takes at least eleven years of study to qualify for this job. If you want to be a criminal psychologist, you must be prepared to devote your time in studying human behavior.

Below are the steps that you have to take in order to become a criminal psychologist:

  • Become engrossed in human behavior. A great part of this job uses psychology as its basis. In order to qualify for this job, you have to earn a four-year degree in psychology. You also have to take courses on criminal behavior. Another requirement that you have to meet is a high Grade Point Average or GPA in psychology. Some of the prerequisite coursework that you have to take are chemistry, physics, mathematics and biology. You must be able to display competence in psychology if you want to become a criminal psychologist.
  • Make psychology a permanent fixture in your life. The next step that you have to take is to pursue a doctorate in the field of clinical psychology. This usually takes seven years to attain. You can first get a master’s degree in forensic psychology before you proceed to the doctorate program.
  • Complete the list of prerequisites. There are prerequisite coursework that you have to complete before you can qualify as a criminal psychologist. You need to attend classes on behavioral criminology, substance abuse evaluation, substance abuse treatment, law and mental health, sex offender assessment, sex offender treatment, psychological profiling and criminal psychology testimony. All of these courses are specific to this kind of job. Make it a point to attend these courses during your doctorate program.
  • Be friendly to the law enforcements. The next step that you have to take is to apply for a job as a special agent in a law enforcement agency. This can help you get the required fieldwork to qualify for the job. You can also work under a chartered criminal psychologist. This can help you learn more based on the first hand experience of a more seasoned expert on this field.
  • Get your certifications. The final step that you have to take is to get your certifications as a criminal psychology. Apply for a licensure exam that will make you accredited as a psychologist. After getting your license, take the examinations that will make you a certified forensic psychologist. You can get your license as a criminal psychologist from the American Board of Forensic Psychology.

A career in criminal psychology is very rewarding. However, you need to earn the license to meet the high standards of this kind of job. If you use this steps as a guide, you can make sure that you can easily navigate your way to becoming a criminal psychologist.


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