Online Forensic Psychology Degrees 2021

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Forensic psychologists profile criminals, interview witnesses, help lawyers select juries, and provide expert testimony. Other forensic psychologists advance the field by performing research. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that psychologists in all specialties need a doctorate to practice and earn a median $82,180 annual salary.

An undergrad degree in psychology does not qualify graduates to become forensic psychologists, but alumni can help bring criminals to justice as forensic science technicians. These professionals collect and analyze crime scene evidence. The BLS projects the need for forensic science technicians to grow 14% from 2019-2029.

Forensic Psychology Degree Questions

  • Is a forensic psychology degree worth it?

    An online forensic psychology degree allows graduates to apply for entry-level positions or start a graduate degree.

  • What kinds of jobs can you get with a forensic psychology degree?

    Forensic psychology degree jobs for bachelor’s degree-holders include parole officer, residential youth counselor, and crime analyst. Other career paths require a master’s or doctorate.

  • Are forensic psychologists in demand?

    The BLS projects the need for psychologists to grow 3% from 2019-2029, approximately as fast as the average projected growth rate for all U.S. careers.

  • What is the difference between forensic psychology and forensic science?

    Professionals in both fields strive to solve crimes and bring criminals to justice. Forensic scientists examine physical evidence, while forensic psychologists study crime’s psychological underpinnings.

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Why Get a Degree in Forensic Psychology?

A forensic psychology degree may qualify graduates for admission to a master’s or doctoral program. Alumni entering the workforce explore numerous career paths in the law enforcement and nonprofit sectors. Other benefits include mastering transferable skills, an advantage for forensic psychology professionals who decide to switch careers.

Students pursuing an online forensic psychology degree experience the same learning outcomes as their on-campus peers while enjoying an asynchronous curriculum. This learning style allows students to schedule coursework around other responsibilities, such as raising children or working a full-time job. Online learning also allows prospective degree-seekers to explore local and out-of-state degrees.

How Much Does an Forensic Psychology Degree Cost?

A forensic psychology degree’s cost differs by school. Public institutions favor in-state students by charging them the lowest tuition rate. However, some schools with online forensic psychology degrees may offer the same affordable tuition rate to all learners. Fees applicable to online bachelor’s degree-seekers may include general fees and challenge examination fees.

Online students save money on a degree by not needing certain on-campus services, such as housing or meals. A degree’s cost drops further because learners do not relocate to attend school or commute to campus daily. Degree-seekers with small children may also avoid costly childcare services.

Prospective students further reduce their out-of-pocket costs by applying to schools offering institutional and departmental financial aid. Many institutions award scholarships and grants to incoming freshmen and transfer students with high GPAs and test scores. Some schools provide additional assistance to veterans and alumni.

Calculating the Cost of a College Degree

Calculating a forensic psychology degree’s affordability involves comparing tuition to students’ salaries, cost-of-living expenses, and current financial aid. Inputting these figures into a free affordability calculator takes only a few minutes. The result indicates whether learners can afford tuition payments without needing other financial assistance, such as private scholarship opportunities.

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How Much Do Forensic Psychology Majors Make?

Forensic science technicians with a bachelor’s degree earn a median $60,590 annual salary. Professionals working for state governments and testing laboratories may make slightly more. Another way to increase salary potential in this profession involves relocating to California, Illinois, or Massachusetts. The annual median salary in these states exceeds $79,000, but workers there may face a higher cost of living.

Other forensic psychology degree jobs include police and detectives, who earn approximately $7,000 more annually than the typical forensic science technician. Detectives and criminal investigators with a college education make more. States offering the highest mean salaries include Alaska, Maryland, and Hawaii. Experienced police officers and detectives in these states may earn upwards of $126,340.

No matter their career, forensic psychology professionals earn more by attaining on-the-job experience and demonstrating their value to superiors. One way to enhance psychology degree jobs involves earning an industry certification or university certificate.

Forensic Psychology Course Work

A forensic psychology curriculum emphasizes the field’s roles and responsibilities, different criminological theories, abnormal psychology, and criminal behavior. Other graduation requirements include general education courses. Top programs conclude with a capstone project where learners work with a professor to perform original research on a challenge facing the field.

The sample curriculum below features three courses many online forensic psychology degrees require. Not all programs offer them, so consult a program’s website to learn more about graduation requirements. Admissions counselors provide valuable information regarding the student experience.

People experience numerous biological changes from birth to adulthood. These developments include emotional maturity, socialization, and language acquisition. Students in child and adolescent psychology explore these milestones and how abnormal development may lead to criminal behavior. Learners leave the course with a greater understanding of research methodology and its application to all psychology subfields.

Forensic psychologists work with victims to understand how a crime affected their mental state. Understanding trauma introduces how physical, mental, and spiritual trauma leave a lasting impact on people’s psychology. Learners examine how professionals’ work with victims reduces trauma, especially if treatment begins soon after a crime occurs.

Abnormal psychology features coursework in different mental illnesses, typical symptoms, and treatments. Learners analyze what causes these conditions, such as environmental and genetic factors. The course requires extensive writing and research, helping students hone skills employers and graduate programs expect applicants to possess. Other learning outcomes include understanding how forensic psychologists diagnose and treat disease.

Certifications and Licensure for Forensic Psychology

Graduates may need more than a forensic psychology degree to obtain a well-paying job. Many employers require job applicants to obtain a license or professional certification. Typical eligibility criteria include possessing an undergraduate or graduate degree, passing an exam, and attaining work experience. Professionals renew their license or certification by taking professional development courses.

Crime Scene Certification

Experienced professionals with a forensic psychology degree increase their employability by earning the CSC. Eligibility requirements include five years of experience and scoring a minimum 75% on the certification exam. CSC recertification involves passing another exam, submitting recommendation letters, and showing proof of professional development.

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Psychologist License

A state-issued license allows professionals with a Ph.D. or Psy.D. to treat patients unsupervised. Candidates must obtain 2,000 hours of supervised work experience and pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology. Many states require a second exam covering relevant state laws and regulations.

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Specialty Board Certification in Forensic Psychology

The American Board of Professional Psychology awards board certification to licensed forensic psychologists with significant professional experience. Candidates take a 208-question exam covering professional issues, civil competence, and relevant laws. Certification benefits may include accessing more job opportunities, networking with like-minded peers, and receiving an automatic pay raise.

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Scholarships for Forensic Psychology Students

Scholarships make a forensic psychology degree more affordable and accessible. Applicants should possess a competitive high school or undergraduate GPA. Other requirements may include a personal essay and recommendation letters. Numerous scholarships like those below support the next generation of psychologists.

  • American Psychology-Law Society Award for Best Undergraduate Paper

    Who Can Apply: AP-LS asks applicants to submit a maximum 25-page academic paper on the relationship between psychology and the law. Other requirements include a recommendation letter from a mentor.

    Amount: $150-$500

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  • Lizette Peterson-Homer Injury Prevention Grant

    Who Can Apply: Undergraduates performing research on how to prevent common childhood abuse, accidents, or injuries may qualify. Application materials include a five-page project proposal detailing research methodology and goals.

    Amount: $5,000

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  • Women in Federal Law Enforcement Scholarship Program

    Who Can Apply: The WIFLE Scholarship Program awards funding to women preparing for a law enforcement career. Applicants must possess a minimum 3.0 GPA and study full time.

    Amount: $2,500

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Online Forensic Psychology Degrees

  1. National Louis University

    Chicago, IL



    At National Louis University, students interested in forensic psychology can earn a bachelor's degree in criminal justice with a major in forensic social justice. This degree program is offered in a hybrid format, with some online classes and some on-campus at NLU's Chicago-area campus. Students take courses exploring criminal behavior; the effects of crime on society; investigation methods; and the roles of law enforcement agencies, the justice and corrections system, and various social service agencies. Graduation requires 180 quarter hours (the equivalent of 120 semester hours); 60 of those (40 semester hours) are in general education. In addition to doing coureswork, some general education requirements may be met through taking an exam or otherwise demonstrating competency. If they wish, students may use their elective hours to add a 4-course concentration in entrepreneurship. Graduates go on to work in positions such as police officers, security experts, forensic researchers, trial consultants and caseworkers.

  2. Faulkner University

    Montgomery, AL



    Students work at their own pace while pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Psychology at Faulkner University; as a result, this 121-credit fully online degree may accommodate both part-time working students who need more than the traditional 4 years to graduate, as well as those who wish to finish it more quickly. Students take 71 credits in the major and 50 in core classes; the school's Christian underpinnings mean that students will take several theology and Bible courses as part of the core curriculum. The major-specific coursework is designed to integrate the principles of psychology with those of criminal justice, and students explore fundamental psychological principles as well as topics such as criminal behavior and interrogation techniques. Graduates go on to work in a variety of positions with both government agencies and within the private sector, including working as an expert witness, a criminal behavior analyst, a trial consultant or a forensic psychology researcher. For many students, the degree also serves as preparation for graduate studies.

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