Step by Step Guide on Becoming a Forensic Psychologist



Forensic Psychologists usually work in the legal system such as the court. Their main job is to observe and identify brain functions such as behavioral patterns and emotional matters. In addition, this field of psychology tends to attract people who are interested in criminal law, criminal justice, and human behavior. Due to their complex job, experienced forensic psychologists typically have a base salary of around $100,000.


In order to have the best chances becoming a successful Forensic Psychologist, you need to:


  • Enroll and complete an undergraduate program in a relevant major such as psychology, law, or forensic psychology.

  • Apply for internships or research positions because after you graduate, gaining experience in the real world improves your chances to get accepted into a graduate program.

  • Get a master’s degree in forensic psychology. A master’s program typically takes 2 years and sets you up for the Ph.D. program.

  • Earn a doctoral degree in forensic psychology. This program usually takes at least 4 years to complete and educates you on a specific area of forensic psychology.

  • Complete required hours of licensing. After graduation, you must refer to your state’s licencing requirements and complete a certain number of hours in order to earn your license.

  • Pass the Examination for the Professional Practice of Psychology (EPPP)

  • Apply for your psychologist license. Once you have completed all the steps above, it’s time for you to apply for your license*

Education Requirements for Forensic Psychology


  • For most psychology specialties, you need a Ph.D. or Psy.D. and to apply for a doctoral program, it’s typically best to hold a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field of study, such as psychology, criminology, criminal law, etc.

  • To obtain a licence, your doctorate degree must come from an American Psychological Association (APA) accredited institution.

Required Experience for Forensic Psychologists


  • Due to the importance of the responsibilities of a forensic psychologist, an entry-level professional much complete many hours of experience before they can practice independently.

  • Typically, students should prepare for at least 4000 hours of experience to apply for a psychology license. They can come from internships, but you must have more than 2000 hours after earning your Ph.D.


*Some states may also require you to pass a jurisprudence exam

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