Lilllyyyy3
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Hi guys! I am trying to gather all the information on whether I should Study into forensic psychology or if I should actually work on the scenes as a forensic scientist. I am currently in year 12 and I have to start thinking about personal statements and whether I’m going to uni or apprenticeship as I have my alevel exams next year😭 Any advice or just pure information from people who work in these fields on this at all would help immensely!!
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greg tony
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Hi,

I am a trainee clinical psychologist, and previously worked as assistant psychologist in a prison, so might be able to help with the psychology side of things. What would you like to know?

Greg
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bones-mccoy
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My undergraduate degree is in Forensic Chemistry (so Forensic Science but with a couple of chemistry modules thrown in) and I'm currently doing an MSc in Forensic Psychology whilst working in a prison. If you want to go into the analytical, science-y side of forensics then you'll most likely end up working in a lab rather than at a crime scene. Actual CSI jobs are relatively uncommon and very competitive due to the high level of applicants.
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Lilllyyyy3
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(Original post by bones-mccoy)
My undergraduate degree is in Forensic Chemistry (so Forensic Science but with a couple of chemistry modules thrown in) and I'm currently doing an MSc in Forensic Psychology whilst working in a prison. If you want to go into the analytical, science-y side of forensics then you'll most likely end up working in a lab rather than at a crime scene. Actual CSI jobs are relatively uncommon and very competitive due to the high level of applicants.
Ahhhh that helpss a lot! So say if I was coming out of university or an apprenticeship what would be the next stage? Also ur choice of uni courses are so cool
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Lilllyyyy3
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(Original post by greg tony)
Hi,

I am a trainee clinical psychologist, and previously worked as assistant psychologist in a prison, so might be able to help with the psychology side of things. What would you like to know?

Greg
Heyyy, that’s so cool! I wanted to know how easy it was to find a job, whether you went to uni or did an apprenticeship and how you cope with distressing events, also what it’s like in prison
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artful_lounger
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Forensic psychology is not forensic psychiatry; the latter is a subspecialisation of the medical specialty psychiatry, and requires a medical degree. The former is a subdiscipline of psychology, for which you would need a psychology degree. You can become a "forensic scientist" with a range of science degrees, potentially including but not limited to chemistry, biomedical sciences, biology, etc. You don't need to do a specific degree in forensic science (and there may be benefits in not doing so, since as above the field is heavily oversaturated and not really a growth sector, so having a more general science degree enables you to apply to those roles but also to other positions outside the field if you aren't immediately able to go into that area).

In general I would recommend focusing on doing a more "general" undergrad course (e.g. depending on which route you want to go, psychology or a science course in chemistry or the biological sciences broadly), and then do a specialised masters in the "forensic" side of the field if that is what you want to pursue. This keeps open the possibility of the forensic sector (either with or without the masters), as well as giving you a range of other options in case your interests shift, or if you aren't able to immediately find a job in that sector when you graduate.
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Lilllyyyy3
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Forensic psychology is not forensic psychiatry; the latter is a subspecialisation of the medical specialty psychiatry, and requires a medical degree. The former is a subdiscipline of psychology, for which you would need a psychology degree. You can become a "forensic scientist" with a range of science degrees, potentially including but not limited to chemistry, biomedical sciences, biology, etc. You don't need to do a specific degree in forensic science (and there may be benefits in not doing so, since as above the field is heavily oversaturated and not really a growth sector, so having a more general science degree enables you to apply to those roles but also to other positions outside the field if you aren't immediately able to go into that area).

In general I would recommend focusing on doing a more "general" undergrad course (e.g. depending on which route you want to go, psychology or a science course in chemistry or the biological sciences broadly), and then do a specialised masters in the "forensic" side of the field if that is what you want to pursue. This keeps open the possibility of the forensic sector (either with or without the masters), as well as giving you a range of other options in case your interests shift, or if you aren't able to immediately find a job in that sector when you graduate.
Omggg thank you so much for telling me this! So if I was to go into an apprenticeship for psychology what would I do?
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by Lilllyyyy3)
Omggg thank you so much for telling me this! So if I was to go into an apprenticeship for psychology what would I do?
Since TSR saw fit to delete my post while I was writing it, the following may be somewhat terse (by my standards anyway)...

I'm not aware of any specifically psychology oriented apprenticeships in existence; you will need to look to see what is available. Psychology is in general an academic field, not a vocation necessarily. The vocational side of psychology is to my understanding mainly (or perhaps just) clinical psychology, for which (to my knowledge) you must do a BPS accredited psychology degree (either an undergraduate degree or a "conversion" masters course, with BPS accreditation in either case), then a DClinPsy. The DClinPsy is very competitive and many successful applicants will not only have a BPS accredited undergrad or masters course, but additionally a specialised taught or research masters and wealth of clinical experience. Noodlzzz may be able to advise on clinical psychology more.

I don't know how much forensic and clinical psychology overlap, if at all. Neither have much if any relation to the much less clearly defined field of "forensic science" which is really just a catch-all term referring to any one doing scientific analyses that may end up being used as evidence in court proceedings. Forensic science itself does not refer to the people who go to crime scenes and take pictures of things and collect evidence - those are law enforcement professionals known as SOCOs (scenes of crime officers). As with most police roles I imagine no degree is necessary to (eventually) become a SOCO and you could just apply as a school leaver to a police force in principle (in practice they may expect more experience in other professional capacities first) and work your way up to that role.

Essentially you are considering at least three and possibly four entirely different career routes, all with just a vague relation due to the forensic aspect of it (which just means more or less relating to legal proceedings). That is, psychology (possibly clinical vs forensic psychology), science, or policing. I would suggest you first figure out which of those three you want to pursue, then work on moving towards the forensic aspect of each area as applicable.
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greg tony
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(Original post by Lilllyyyy3)
Heyyy, that’s so cool! I wanted to know how easy it was to find a job, whether you went to uni or did an apprenticeship and how you cope with distressing events, also what it’s like in prison
Hi,

As has been mentioned there are no types of apprenticeships for roles like this, its an undergrad and experience before you could apply for an assistant psy role in a prison. After that you will need a masters and then really a phd to either be a clinical or forensic psychologist. While competition is higher than most other careers, if you work hard it is possible.

Prison work was fun but not for everyone. Quite intimidating and some higher risks of assault. However, I loved my time there and some of my favourite therapy sessions and clients were there. Regarding emotional toll, psychology is a different sort of stress, it can be hard to work with aggression, upset, suicidal people etc but the power of a strong relationship can be life changing for both of you.

My advice is to read some of the other forums on clinical/forensic psychology on TSR, as there is countless examples of different roles and qualifications. You could always ping me a message after. I know how convoluted this all seemed before I started!

Greg
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Interrobang
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Since TSR saw fit to delete my post while I was writing it, the following may be somewhat terse (by my standards anyway)...

I'm not aware of any specifically psychology oriented apprenticeships in existence; you will need to look to see what is available. Psychology is in general an academic field, not a vocation necessarily. The vocational side of psychology is to my understanding mainly (or perhaps just) clinical psychology, for which (to my knowledge) you must do a BPS accredited psychology degree (either an undergraduate degree or a "conversion" masters course, with BPS accreditation in either case), then a DClinPsy. The DClinPsy is very competitive and many successful applicants will not only have a BPS accredited undergrad or masters course, but additionally a specialised taught or research masters and wealth of clinical experience. Noodlzzz may be able to advise on clinical psychology more.
I don't know how much forensic and clinical psychology overlap, if at all. Neither have much if any relation to the much less clearly defined field of "forensic science" which is really just a catch-all term referring to any one doing scientific analyses that may end up being used as evidence in court proceedings. Forensic science itself does not refer to the people who go to crime scenes and take pictures of things and collect evidence - those are law enforcement professionals known as SOCOs (scenes of crime officers). As with most police roles I imagine no degree is necessary to (eventually) become a SOCO and you could just apply as a school leaver to a police force in principle (in practice they may expect more experience in other professional capacities first) and work your way up to that role.

Essentially you are considering at least three and possibly four entirely different career routes, all with just a vague relation due to the forensic aspect of it (which just means more or less relating to legal proceedings). That is, psychology (possibly clinical vs forensic psychology), science, or policing. I would suggest you first figure out which of those three you want to pursue, then work on moving towards the forensic aspect of each area as applicable.
Just to say that it is any practitioner psychologist (clinical, educational, counselling, forensic, occupational, health, sports - I think that's it!) where you need the accredited undergrad/postgrad conversion

There are 2-3 steps in becoming a practitioner psychologist

1. Complete an accredited psychology undergrad degree/postgrad conversion
(2. Complete work experience to get accepted onto the course - I'm not sure what the expectations are for all courses, especially the unfunded ones)
3. EITHER Complete the qualifying (i.e. accredited) doctorate (clinical, educational, counselling and some forensic courses AFAIK)
OR
a. Complete the accredited masters (forensic, occupational, health, sports AFAIK) AND
b. Complete Stage 2 training (this requires you to get a job as a trainee for 2 years)

Given confidentiality issues, I can't see there being an apprenticeship model for getting a psychology degree alongside working, especially when that degree is not a qualifying degree in itself

Psychiatrists would obviously involve a medical degree (undergraduate or grad entry) and then specialise after foundation years in psychiatry
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Lilllyyyy3
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(Original post by Interrobang)
Just to say that it is any practitioner psychologist (clinical, educational, counselling, forensic, occupational, health, sports - I think that's it!) where you need the accredited undergrad/postgrad conversion

There are 2-3 steps in becoming a practitioner psychologist

1. Complete an accredited psychology undergrad degree/postgrad conversion
(2. Complete work experience to get accepted onto the course - I'm not sure what the expectations are for all courses, especially the unfunded ones)
3. EITHER Complete the qualifying (i.e. accredited) doctorate (clinical, educational, counselling and some forensic courses AFAIK)
OR
a. Complete the accredited masters (forensic, occupational, health, sports AFAIK) AND
b. Complete Stage 2 training (this requires you to get a job as a trainee for 2 years)

Given confidentiality issues, I can't see there being an apprenticeship model for getting a psychology degree alongside working, especially when that degree is not a qualifying degree in itself

Psychiatrists would obviously involve a medical degree (undergraduate or grad entry) and then specialise after foundation years in psychiatry
Thank you for this, I am however kind of stressed (I get stressed out Easily haaha) and slightly confused. So you are basically saying that I should go into clinical psychology then do a masters on the forensic side? I have left it very late to research and I am so behind in lessons due to mental health issues so this really helps. I don’t think university is for me, very hard and I don’t know if I could keep up with the work that’s why I would rather a apprenticeship but if uni is the only way I will try.
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Lilllyyyy3
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Since TSR saw fit to delete my post while I was writing it, the following may be somewhat terse (by my standards anyway)...

I'm not aware of any specifically psychology oriented apprenticeships in existence; you will need to look to see what is available. Psychology is in general an academic field, not a vocation necessarily. The vocational side of psychology is to my understanding mainly (or perhaps just) clinical psychology, for which (to my knowledge) you must do a BPS accredited psychology degree (either an undergraduate degree or a "conversion" masters course, with BPS accreditation in either case), then a DClinPsy. The DClinPsy is very competitive and many successful applicants will not only have a BPS accredited undergrad or masters course, but additionally a specialised taught or research masters and wealth of clinical experience. Noodlzzz may be able to advise on clinical psychology more.

I don't know how much forensic and clinical psychology overlap, if at all. Neither have much if any relation to the much less clearly defined field of "forensic science" which is really just a catch-all term referring to any one doing scientific analyses that may end up being used as evidence in court proceedings. Forensic science itself does not refer to the people who go to crime scenes and take pictures of things and collect evidence - those are law enforcement professionals known as SOCOs (scenes of crime officers). As with most police roles I imagine no degree is necessary to (eventually) become a SOCO and you could just apply as a school leaver to a police force in principle (in practice they may expect more experience in other professional capacities first) and work your way up to that role.

Essentially you are considering at least three and possibly four entirely different career routes, all with just a vague relation due to the forensic aspect of it (which just means more or less relating to legal proceedings). That is, psychology (possibly clinical vs forensic psychology), science, or policing. I would suggest you first figure out which of those three you want to pursue, then work on moving towards the forensic aspect of each area as applicable.
So I would have to do a phD? That’s so many years of work hahah, also what do you mean about competitive , sorry if that question seems dumb
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Interrobang
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(Original post by Lilllyyyy3)
Thank you for this, I am however kind of stressed (I get stressed out Easily haaha) and slightly confused. So you are basically saying that I should go into clinical psychology then do a masters on the forensic side? I have left it very late to research and I am so behind in lessons due to mental health issues so this really helps. I don’t think university is for me, very hard and I don’t know if I could keep up with the work that’s why I would rather a apprenticeship but if uni is the only way I will try.
No sorry it's an EITHER/OR - you can either train to be a forensic psychologist or a clinical psychologist. Some forensic settings (e.g. prisons) may also employ clinical psychologists, but you wouldn't have to qualify separately.

You could do a distance course (e.g. through the Open University) if you wanted to do that instead
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Lilllyyyy3
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(Original post by Interrobang)
No sorry it's an EITHER/OR - you can either train to be a forensic psychologist or a clinical psychologist. Some forensic settings (e.g. prisons) may also employ clinical psychologists, but you wouldn't have to qualify separately.

You could do a distance course (e.g. through the Open University) if you wanted to do that instead
Since there’s a lot of competition do you think I should do clinical psychology and then study masters In Forensic psychology in more detail? What is a distance course aswell?
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bones-mccoy
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Since TSR saw fit to delete my post while I was writing it, the following may be somewhat terse (by my standards anyway)...

I'm not aware of any specifically psychology oriented apprenticeships in existence; you will need to look to see what is available. Psychology is in general an academic field, not a vocation necessarily. The vocational side of psychology is to my understanding mainly (or perhaps just) clinical psychology, for which (to my knowledge) you must do a BPS accredited psychology degree (either an undergraduate degree or a "conversion" masters course, with BPS accreditation in either case), then a DClinPsy. The DClinPsy is very competitive and many successful applicants will not only have a BPS accredited undergrad or masters course, but additionally a specialised taught or research masters and wealth of clinical experience. Noodlzzz may be able to advise on clinical psychology more.

I don't know how much forensic and clinical psychology overlap, if at all. Neither have much if any relation to the much less clearly defined field of "forensic science" which is really just a catch-all term referring to any one doing scientific analyses that may end up being used as evidence in court proceedings. Forensic science itself does not refer to the people who go to crime scenes and take pictures of things and collect evidence - those are law enforcement professionals known as SOCOs (scenes of crime officers). As with most police roles I imagine no degree is necessary to (eventually) become a SOCO and you could just apply as a school leaver to a police force in principle (in practice they may expect more experience in other professional capacities first) and work your way up to that role.

Essentially you are considering at least three and possibly four entirely different career routes, all with just a vague relation due to the forensic aspect of it (which just means more or less relating to legal proceedings). That is, psychology (possibly clinical vs forensic psychology), science, or policing. I would suggest you first figure out which of those three you want to pursue, then work on moving towards the forensic aspect of each area as applicable.
Clinical and forensic psychology don't overlap too much in terms of theory or content, but more forensic psychologists are starting to become employed in clinical settings these days!

A SOCO and CSI are actually the same job role, they both require training in a forensic discipline rather than police work.
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bones-mccoy
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OP, it really depends on what you want to do.

Forensic psychology is really the study of offending behaviour, interventions, rehabilitation and applying it to the law. FP's largely work in the prison service but can also be employed by probation services, secure hospitals and in the community. You'd have to do an accredited undergraduate degree in psychology, then either an MSc and at least 3 years supervised training or a PhD.

Forensic psychiatry is the assessment and treatment of patients in forensic settings such as prisons, secure hospitals and also in the community. You'd have to do an undergraduate degree in medicine and then specialise.

Forensic science is the application of science to the law, collecting evidence from crime scenes, analysing it and sometimes even being called into a courtroom to explain and answer Q's about the evidence. Forensic scientists either work at crime scenes or in the lab, you don't do both. You could do a degree in forensic science or a related subject like biochemistry, biology or chemistry and then specialise.
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Interrobang
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(Original post by Lilllyyyy3)
Since there’s a lot of competition do you think I should do clinical psychology and then study masters In Forensic psychology in more detail? What is a distance course aswell?
There wouldn't be much point in doing one then the other (the accredited courses). You will have a while to decide anyway, and the clinical doctorate is very competitive. Do some more research into both and then make your decision

A distance course is a degree that you do without actually attending the uni in the traditional way. The most obvious one is the Open Uni, but there are some other distance courses that unis offer too
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Lilllyyyy3
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Thank you guys very much for your advice! From here I will research both forensic and clinical psychology and decide, however I don’t just want to pick 1 thing for the rest of my life you know and I think the school system is flawed in this way
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bones-mccoy
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(Original post by Lilllyyyy3)
Thank you guys very much for your advice! From here I will research both forensic and clinical psychology and decide, however I don’t just want to pick 1 thing for the rest of my life you know and I think the school system is flawed in this way
If you know you definitely want to work in psychology but aren't sure which area, stick with a straight Psychology BSc for now. You can then specialise in either clinical or forensic psychology later on.
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Lilllyyyy3
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(Original post by bones-mccoy)
If you know you definitely want to work in psychology but aren't sure which area, stick with a straight Psychology BSc for now. You can then specialise in either clinical or forensic psychology later on.
Tyyy!
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