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Do I Need a Master’s Degree to Get Into Forensic Psychology?

Forensic psychology is a highly specialized field of psychology. A master’s degree most certainly is required for many aspects of the field. Hoever, you will need a doctorate to become a forensic psychologist. It is possible to have a master’s degree and work with a forensic psychologist to provide assistance, but you will not be able to be a practicing forensic psychologist without a Ph.D.

Working in the Field of Forensic Psychology

Without a doctorate you will not be able to become licensed to practice as a psychologist, but there are many positions available where you can apply what you know without having a doctorate. You will not be able to give expert testimony in a court of law nor will you be able to evaluate people inside the legal system for the purpose of advising a judge. However, there are some jobs with large law firms that need the knowledge of someone with a forensic psychology background. These types of positions are ones where you are working on a staff with lawyers in the private sector.

Most of the jobs that can be found with a master’s degree in forensic psychology are those of an assistant to a licensed psychologist in their practice. Jobs like these provide valuable experience on the road to becoming a forensic psychologist.

Education Requirements

For those who want to pursue a career as a forensic psychologist, it should be understood that it is an area that psychologists specialize in. Because it is still psychology, the path to become a forensic psychologist is fundamentally the same as other types of specialties for a psychologist. You must first earn a doctorate in the field of psychology. You then serve a certain period of time working under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. After this, you will need to pass an examination to be licensed in the state you wish to practice in.

Is it Worth the Time to Earn a Master’s Degree?

It is true that there are many students that bypass the master’s degree and earn a doctorate. The problem with this is that it takes longer to achieve this. Studying full time, it could take five years to get a doctorate in psychology.

A master’s degree can be obtained in two years studying full time and there are good paying jobs that can be had with a master’s degree in forensic psychology.


Forensic psychology is a rewarding career, but it takes time to become a psychologist, and forensic psychology is no different. Earning a master’s degree has the benefit of qualifying you for a wide range of good paying jobs and is a good step to take on your way to becoming a forensic psychologist.