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How long would I be studying for forensic psychology?

How many years of studying and what kind of qualification would i need to be a forensic psychology? I'm not too sure how long it would take if I were to be a senior forensic psychologist, and how to actually achieve this. What degrees? What courses? What good part time jobs whilst I do this?
Reply 1
Its a highly specialised field.
You would need a relevant Masters degree, a PhD, and years of experience and publications as you build your CV and professional credibility as a Clinical Psychologist. Not an easy, or lightweight, career pathway.
There is no standard timeframe as it will depend on a lot of how your career pans out. In theory the most straightforward route would be to do a 3 year undergrad psychology course recognised by the BPS, a 1 year Forensic Psychology Masters course (aka Stage 1, also BPS recognised) and then a 2-3 years of your Stage 2 supervised practice in a forensic setting. Then you would qualify once you have completed the necessary supervised hours and other Stage 2 requirements. After, if in a forensic qualifying you would be in a Band 7 role, and then with more experience become an 8a to become a senior forensic psychologist and then Consultant grade at 8c.

Note that would make you a Forensic Psychologist (not clinical).

In reality this rarely happens like this. Many will have experience between Undergrad and Stage 1 as this is competitive. And then compete again to get Stage 2 training. Stage 2 takes a lot longer than 2 years because you are balancing a job and your own portfolio. Then there can be bottlenecks getting an 8a when you qualify and beyond. The main issue from what I can gather, that compared to Clinical where there are way more general NHS workplaces than there are clinicians available, is that there are overall relatively few forensic settings (mainly prisons, secure units or special hospitals) so qualified psychologists stay in role longer, which makes career progression harder.

Source: Though I am a clincial psychologist, I work closely with forensic psychologists who work providing therapy (in non-forensic settings) privately. I heard these woes many times.
Reply 3
Original post by Lord Asriel
There is no standard timeframe as it will depend on a lot of how your career pans out. In theory the most straightforward route would be to do a 3 year undergrad psychology course recognised by the BPS, a 1 year Forensic Psychology Masters course (aka Stage 1, also BPS recognised) and then a 2-3 years of your Stage 2 supervised practice in a forensic setting. Then you would qualify once you have completed the necessary supervised hours and other Stage 2 requirements. After, if in a forensic qualifying you would be in a Band 7 role, and then with more experience become an 8a to become a senior forensic psychologist and then Consultant grade at 8c.
Note that would make you a Forensic Psychologist (not clinical).
In reality this rarely happens like this. Many will have experience between Undergrad and Stage 1 as this is competitive. And then compete again to get Stage 2 training. Stage 2 takes a lot longer than 2 years because you are balancing a job and your own portfolio. Then there can be bottlenecks getting an 8a when you qualify and beyond. The main issue from what I can gather, that compared to Clinical where there are way more general NHS workplaces than there are clinicians available, is that there are overall relatively few forensic settings (mainly prisons, secure units or special hospitals) so qualified psychologists stay in role longer, which makes career progression harder.
Source: Though I am a clincial psychologist, I work closely with forensic psychologists who work providing therapy (in non-forensic settings) privately. I heard these woes many times.

Thank you so much for this, it pretty much gave me a whole different perspective on the career. I wasn't actually aware that this job was competitive in the first place. Would I essentially be doing more study to be a clinical forensic psychologist ?

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