What qualifications are needed to be a forensic psychologist?

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The first qualification you need to become a forensic psychologist is a doctorate in clinical psychology, forensic psychology or counselling. Each of these three programs can take between 5 to 7 years to complete, followed by a fellowship in forensics. The next qualification you'll need is a state license, which is required for all practicing psychologists. The minimum requirements you'll find in any state are 1 year of fieldwork, a degree from an accredited institution and of course, you'll have to pass the state certification exam.

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In the Field

One major qualification of a forensic psychologist is the ability to translate psychological reports into legal language, so it's useful in court. If the jury and lawyers in the court can't understand the psychologist's findings, they're of little use in a legal case. Forensic psychologists impact court cases in many other important ways, for example, by determining the competency of a person to stand trial.

Mental Toughness

Because forensic psychologists often work for their local or state government's criminal system, it's likely that they have to evaluate some pretty tough cases and situations. While being a forensic psychologist requires plenty of education and certification, it also requires the ability to handle the information that's presented during an evaluation of a person in a criminal trial. Some cases are tougher than others, but as a forensic psychologist, you're bound to run into some tougher ones that you need to be mentally capable of handling.

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