What You Need to Know
Forensic psychology certificate programs combine the disciplines of psychology and criminal science, which makes them both interdisciplinary and diverse. These programs may be offered online, allowing working professionals some scheduling flexibility. Forensic psychology certificates can lead to careers in a variety of fields. Online programs are available, but some may require some in-person work.
What Is Included in a Forensic Psychology Program?
Most schools offering a forensic psychology certificate program require students to meet a minimum GPA and have workplace experience. Schools may also require students to have at least a bachelor's degree in psychology or a related field; some programs ask that students have some graduate psychology credits.
An online program allows students greater flexibility in scheduling, ideal for practicing psychologists or other professionals who do not have time to commit to attending classes in person. Some schools may require online students to spend some time in a lab or clinical setting. Online certificate programs in forensic psychology typically take anywhere from five months to a year to complete.
What Classes Will I Take?
Students in forensic psychology programs may take the following courses:
- Introduction to Forensic Psychology
- Criminal Mind and Behavior
- Mental Health Issues
- Trends in Violence
- Sex Offenses and Offenders
- Substance Abuse
What Career Opportunities Will I Have?
Most forensic psychology jobs are in the public sector; however, jobs at non-profit organizations or consulting firms may also exist. Those who have obtained a certificate in forensic psychology can enter these fields:
- Law enforcement
- Criminal investigation
- Social Work
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of detectives and criminal investigators was expected to decline 1% from 2014-2024. Meanwhile, jobs for psychologists, including forensic psychologists, were predicted to increase 19% during the same time frame (www.bls.com).
Online graduate certificate programs in forensic psychology give working professionals the opportunity to direct their careers toward this subfield of psychology. Students in these programs gain expertise in both psychology and law, and they learn how concepts in these fields relate to pressing social issues.