Using your Psychology degree to pursue a Doctoral Degree in Forensic Psychology
If you decide to use your Psychology degree to pursue a career in forensic psychology with a Doctoral degree you have two main options. First, you can get a degree as a Clinical Psychologist (PhD or PsyD). This career direction is best for those with an interest in psychopathology. Remember that a PhD is focused more on research, and a PsyD is more focused on applied issues. Second, you can pursue a career as an Experimental Psychologist. This path typically involves conducting research (i.e., designing and conducting psychological experiments) related to psychology and law. Click here to access a great document listing grad schools in Forensic Psychology.
Read the following to get more detail on each career path you can take:
Clinical Psychologist. You must have a Master's degree before earning a PhD, either from another school or the same school. It usually requires 4-6 years of graduate school for an individual to complete his or her thesis (research project). At many schools you do NOT pay tuition. In addition, at most schools you receive a stipend, a form of salary for serving as a Teaching Assistant (TA) or Research Assistant (RA). A PhD offers greater job opportunities and greater salary than a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. Read about comparisons between Masters and PhD degrees in psychology here.
A PsyD (Doctor of Psychology) degree usually requires 4-5 years of graduate school to complete your thesis, typically inot nvolving a specific research design. Typically you must pay tuition at a PsyD school, and there is no financial support with regard to serving as a Research Assistant or Teaching Assistant. Like a PhD, a PsyD offers greater job opportunities and greater salary than a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. A PsyD also allows you to be licensed by a state to do certain activities (e.g., testing, therapy). Compared to a PhD, a PsyD places greater emphasis on the practice of psychology and less emphasis on research. Note that you do not have to have a Master's Degree before pursuing a PsyD Degree.
Experimental Psychologist. If you pursue a PhD in Experimental Psychology you can research many topics related to the law (e.g., jury decision making, eyewitnes testimony, etc.). You must have Masters’ before earning PhD., either from another school or the same school. It usually requires 4-6 years of graduate school for an individual to complete his or her thesis (research project). At many schools you do NOT pay tuition., and at most schools you receive a stipend. Once again, this PhD opens up greater job possibilities for you after you graduate.
apa.org lists the yearly average income for a PhD in Clinical Psychology of $80,000.
apa.org lists the yearly average income for a PhD in Experimental Psychology (all fields: higher ed, industry, research applied fields) of $92,000.
payscale.com lists the average yearly income for a PsyD at $77,000.
Click here to read about graduate programs in Forensic and Legal Areas of Psychology.
Click here to read about important steps to a career in Forensic Psychology with a Doctoral Degree in Psychology.
Other links on scoutiescareersinpsychology.org
Click on the links below to read about other Forensic Psychology careers that only require a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology:
Click on the links below to read about another Forensic Psychology careers that requires a Master's Degree in Psychology: