5 things to look for in a forensic psychology program
Whether you’re embarking on a career change or furthering your education, deciding to pursue a post-graduate degree in forensic psychology is an exciting choice. From counseling to government agencies, forensic psychology is a dynamic field that encompasses a wide variety of career paths.
At The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, we define forensic psychology as “the study of issues relating to psychology and the legal system, including public policy, the public’s view of criminals, criminal behavior, demographics, insanity and mental illness, the court system, and the correctional system.”
If you’ve decided to pursue a degree in forensic psychology, it’s time to do your research and pick the forensic psychology program that’s right for you.
Here are five things we think you should look for when choosing a forensic psychology program.
1. Look for a forensic psychology program that fit your career aspirations
Yes, you want to study forensic psychology—but how will you utilize the degree?
Do you want to obtain licensure as a professional counselor? Are you earning a forensic psychology degree to prepare you for a job in the legal system?
Make sure you enroll in a forensic psychology program that suits your career aspirations. Some programs are built to prepare you for a licensure track while others may offer the opportunity to focus on specific concentrations like corrections, child protection, or police psychology.
2. Look for a forensic psychology program with courses you’re passionate about
Not all forensic psychology programs are created equal. Though the name of the programs may be similar, the courses offered for degree completion may vary.
For example, our M.A. in Forensic Psychology, Professional Counselor Licensure Track, Police Psychology Concentration offers a course in police organization and administration. This is a course you may not find in another forensic psychology program but could be of particular interest if you are seeking to advance your career within law enforcement. The course focuses on the process of crafting policies and procedures for police departments and/or law enforcement organizations.
Be sure to request a list of sample courses the forensic psychology programs you are considering, and even specific course syllabi from the schools you’re interested in. It’s the best way to get a feel for what you’ll truly be learning and working on every day.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions about the courses. The school could put you in touch with professors and that can clarify questions regarding the materials you need, coursework, and so on.
3. Look for a forensic psychology program with hands-on experience
No matter what career path you pursue with a forensic psychology degree, chances are you’ll work in a field that requires strong interpersonal skills. One of the best ways to hone these skills is through a forensic psychology program that offers practical hands-on experience opportunities.
You should look for a forensic psychology program that offers internship opportunities or other types of field experience. For example, some forensic psychology programs offer opportunities to work with a local police department, sheriff’s department, coroner’s office, and city attorney’s office.
These opportunities can prove invaluable since they allow you to see what daily life is in these careers and build meaningful connections that can last well after receiving your degree.
4. Look for a forensic psychology program with flexible learning options
Are you thinking of studying on-site or remote? What about part-time or full-time? Whatever works best for your schedule and lifestyle, ensure that the forensic psychology programs you’re vetting offers scheduling that fits your needs
Part-time or online options can help ensure you’ll be able to keep up with your coursework and degree requirements because they allow you to balance school with other responsibilities.
The Chicago School offers a diverse selection of forensic psychology programs with options for part-time, full-time, remote, and on-campus.
5. Look for a forensic psychology program with faculty and alumni you admire
So you’ve examined a forensic psychology’s concentrations, courses, internships, and learning options. Don’t forget to research the school’s faculty and alumni. Most schools should list faculty on their website and other materials. Again, don’t hesitate to reach out to the school and request more information on their network.
When you study with faculty you admire and build relationships with alumni you respect, you’re building your network. You can establish mentorships, meet new people, and gain valuable connections that can help further your education and career path.
Interested in learning more about The Chicago School’s forensic psychology programs? Check out our forensic psychology programs page or fill out the form below to request more information.
The Chicago School
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