Forensic psychology involves the study of psychology in the context of the law. This means that forensic psychologists in North Dakota that practice clinically work directly with attorneys, defendants, offenders, mental hospitals, state correctional facilities, and victims of crimes, just to name a few.
The work of North Dakota’s forensic psychologists often includes:
- Providing services for law enforcement personnel, such as counseling and crisis management
- Researching topics such as crime trends, criminal profiling, techniques for jury selection, etc.
- Screening, assessing, and providing therapy to inmates in correctional facilities
- Working directly with attorneys to provide psychological assessments, evaluations, and recommendations
Steps to Become a Forensic Psychologist in North Dakota
To work as a forensic psychologist in North Dakota in a clinical setting, you must possess a professional license issued by the North Dakota State Board of Psychologist Examiners.
The Board requires the completion of the following steps for state licensure:
Step 1. Complete an Undergraduate Degree in Forensic Psychology
A solid foundation in psychology begins with an undergraduate degree related to this field of study. Therefore, if you want to become a forensic psychologist in North Dakota, a bachelor’s degree in psychology or forensic psychology serves as a solid first step.
While a Bachelor of Science (BS) provides a science-oriented general curriculum and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) provides a general curriculum focused on the liberal arts, both provide you with a core in psychology, which includes:
- Introduction to Psychology
- Research methods
- Two elective psychology courses
- Foreign language sequence
Typical psychology courses in a bachelor’s degree in forensic psychology include:
- Integrated theories of crime
- Courtroom psychology
- Principles of individual and community advocacy
- Law and psychology
Step 2. Complete a Master’s and Doctoral Degree in Forensic Psychology
To become a forensic psychologist in North Dakota, you must achieve a doctoral degree in forensic psychology. Once you have completed your undergraduate course of study, you have two options for graduate study: you may complete a master’s degree, followed by a doctoral degree, or you may complete a doctoral degree that encompasses your master’s degree requirements.
Master’s Degrees in Forensic Psychology
Not all doctoral programs in forensic psychology offer direct admission for students who have completed only an undergraduate program; therefore, you may need to first complete a master’s program.
Master’s programs available through schools in North Dakota include:
- Master of Arts (MA) in Forensic Psychology
- Master of Science (MS) in Forensic Psychology
- Master of Arts (MA) in Forensic and Legal Psychology
- Master of Science (MS) in Forensic Psychology and Applied Behavior Analysis
A master’s degree in forensic psychology typically requires a minimum undergraduate GPA and minimum GRE scores. Many of these programs culminate in an internship, field study, or research project.
Doctoral Degrees in Forensic Psychology
Doctoral degrees in forensic psychology may be designed as either Psy.D. or PhD programs, with PhD programs generally aimed at students interested in pursuing forensic psychologist careers in research or academia and Psy.D. programs aimed at students pursuing clinical practice in forensic psychology.
One or more of the following organizations must have accredited your doctoral program in order for it to meet requirements for licensure in North Dakota:
Just a few of the doctoral degrees options for students of forensic psychology include:
- PhD in Forensic Psychology
- D. in Forensic Psychology
- D. in Clinical Psychology with a concentration in forensic psychology
You can expect most of these programs to be highly competitive, contingent upon exemplary undergraduate/graduate GPAs, well-rounded resumes, and admission essays, just to name a few.
A dissertation, as well as extensive field study, is part and parcel of a doctoral degree in forensic psychology. Many programs also provide an opportunity for you to focus your graduate study on a specific area of forensic psychology.
Just a few of the courses in forensic psychology you can expect to complete during your graduate course of study include:
- Adult forensic psychology
- Juvenile forensic psychology
- Correctional psychology
- Neuropsychological assessment
- Projective assessment
- Child assessment
Step 3. Complete a Program of Supervised Professional Experience Recognized by the Board
In addition to the completion of a doctoral program in forensic psychology, the Board requires all candidates for state licensure as a forensic psychologist to complete at least two, full years of supervised professional experience; one year of which must be an internship program, and one year, which may be post-doctoral.
Your post-doctoral period of supervised employment must include at least 100 hours of direct supervision. The APA recognizes three North Dakota locations for internship experiences in forensic psychology:
- Fargo VA Health Care System/Psychology, Fargo
- Southeast Human Service Center, Fargo
- University of North Dakota/University Counseling Center, Grand Forks
Step 4. Apply for Licensure as a Forensic Psychologist in North Dakota
Once you have satisfied your educational requirements for licensure, you must apply for a state license to practice psychology by submitting the following to the Board:
- General Application for Psychologist
- Notification of Supervision of Psychology Resident
- Application fee of $450
Once you have submitted your application and fee to the Board, the Board will determine your eligibility to take the required examinations for licensure.
Step 5. Take the Required Examinations for a Forensic Psychologist License
The final step before receiving your North Dakota clinical psychologist license requires taking and passing a written examination and an oral examination.
You are required to take and pass the Examination for the Professional Practice of Psychology (EPPP), a national examination administered by computer at designated testing sites throughout North Dakota. You must achieve a scaled score of 500 to pass this examination.
Once you have passed the EPPP, the Board will schedule you for the oral examination. The oral examination covers legal and ethical issues relevant to the practice of psychology in North Dakota. You must possess knowledge of the APA ethics code and North Dakota laws and rules to pass this examination.
Step 6. Begin Your Forensic Psychologist Career in North Dakota
As a clinical forensic psychologist licensed in North Dakota, you may provide your services to:
- Correctional facilities
- Police departments
- Mental hospitals
- Private practices
One such forensic psychology practice in North Dakota is Benson Psychological ServicesFargo in Fargo.
Step 7. Keep Your Clinical Psychologist License Current
The renewal cycle for your clinical psychologist license in North Dakota runs from November 1 of the year you were licensed and ends on October 31 two years later. You must complete at least 40 hours of continuing education every two years to keep your North Dakota psychologist license current. Of the required 40 hours, you must complete at least 3 hours in the area of ethics, law, and jurisprudence.
The cost of license renewal is $150.
You may find a variety of opportunities for CE through the following organizations:
- North Dakota Psychological Association
- American Psychological Association
- International Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology