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What career could one do with a B.A. In psychology that would help get to either criminal psychologist or forensic psychologist?

I understand that these careers requires a doctoral degrees however what other carers will help me get to my potential goals. In other words, what jobs would be best for a person with only a bachelors in order to gain experience towards a criminal psychology & forensic psychology

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Kristine’s Answer

Hi Annette. I completed my B.A. in Psychology many moons ago (!) and wanted to go to grad school in the same field. Because grad school requires a deep understanding of and capacity to do research, I chose to work as a Research Assistant for NIH (National Institutes of Health). This was an extremely reputable institution whose work is respected and I anticipated that working there would be a good experience to have before applying for a Ph.D. program. After a move, I also took a position as a Research Assistant at the University of Minnesota where I worked on a longitudinal study exploring the genetic and social contributions to various psychological conditions and substance use disorders. Both of these positions wee invaluable to my grad school applications and study.

I see you're in San Bernardino. Obviously, there are many well-respected universities in the LA area. I wonder if one may have a Research Assistant position you'd be interested in? I'd look for one that has some kind of connection to the specific topic within Forensic Psychology you are curious about, even tangentially.

Another possibility I can think of, if you're open to it, is considering pursuing an MSW (Master's in Social Work), which would be a shorter degree program and would allow you to actually work with persons in the carceral system, or a Master's in Forensic Psychology, which again is a shorter program than a Ph.D. and less research focused. There may be multiple entry-level positions in corrections or victim services to consider before applying to one of these programs, maybe in a domestic violence shelter, for example, or a District Attorney's office.

Hope this helps!
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Shay’s Answer

You can also look at master's programs that lead to PhD. Some schools are set up so that the thesis masters (to gain research experience) prepares you for a PhD and takes time off the PhD program since you normally get a master's through the PhD.

Otherwise, depends on what you want to do whether you want to work in the field with people or more in a research capacity. If you want to do research, you will need research experience from either undergrad or masters.
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Ann’s Answer

Hi Annette - Great question! One route would be to gain work experience with convicted criminals. I would consider looking at careers as a probation or parole officer. Not only will you gain first hand experience with criminals but you can play an important part in their acclimatization back into society. Good luck!
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