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Ph.D. or Psy.D in Forensic Psychology???

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winchester_cas01

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Hi I stumbled across this website & I hope to get some advice/helpful info. So I'm interested in going to grad school & pursuing a degree in forensic psychology, but I keep going back and forth between Psy.D & Ph.D. Here's a little info about me, I'm currently Junior in college pursuing a major in psychology and a certificate in behavioral forensics. I'm currently in a research lab within the criminal justice department and am taking a research intensive course where I have to design my own research study using data surrounding community corrections. The thing is I don't think I truly enjoy research, I appreciate it but I don't enjoy conducting it. So if you can help me try to decide between a Psy.D or a Ph.D I'd really appreciate it (cost seems to be the main thing that brings me back to Ph.D.). Thank you!
 

PsyDuck90

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Read the countless other threads regarding the PhD vs. PsyD debate. Any reputable PsyD program will have a significant research component.
 

BuckeyeLove

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What's going to matter more is the exposure you're able to procure to requisite training in forensic assessment. But that's putting the cart before the horse. First and foremost, get trained as a psychologist. A good psychologist. (i.e., ethical, appreciate/understand psychometrics, interpersonally savy, inquisitive, etc.). ....so don't go to a diploma mill.
 

BuckeyeLove

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Otherwise, get used to getting shredded on the witness stand looking like a *****.

I know of 5 individual "practitioners" offhand in my area who have made a substantial living off of this exact practice, primarily working in the civil arena. I don't know how they keep getting called, but they do. Integrity is a relative concept with some of these fools.
 

Therapist4Chnge

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I know of 5 individual "practitioners" offhand in my area who have made a substantial living off of this exact practice, primarily working in the civil arena. I don't know how they keep getting called, but they do. Integrity is a relative concept with some of these fools.
Agreed.

Professional goals should not include being “That Guy/Woman” who no one in the community respects. In the best case they are a hired gun who will say anything, regardless of the data. Worst case is they don’t know what they don’t know, so they could literally say anything.
 

WisNeuro

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Agreed.

Professional goals should not include being “That Guy/Woman” who no one in the community respects. In the best case they are a hired gun who will say anything, regardless of the data. Worst case is they don’t know what they don’t know, so they could literally say anything.

I see more of the latter in our community. These tend to be diploma mill people. We see some of the former, they appear to be better trained from a background perspective, they just figured that they could make more money by selling their integrity.
 

winchester_cas01

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What's going to matter more is the exposure you're able to procure to requisite training in forensic assessment. But that's putting the cart before the horse. First and foremost, get trained as a psychologist. A good psychologist. (i.e., ethical, appreciate/understand psychometrics, interpersonally savy, inquisitive, etc.). ....so don't go to a diploma mill.
What do you mean by a "diploma mill?"
 

winchester_cas01

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Schools that will admit almost anyone, provide questionable training, and hurt your career prospects. Places like Fielding/Argos/Alliant/Albizu.
Are these places APA accredited because I would only go to a school that has an APA accreditation. And is there another way to distinguish which schools are diploma mill's vs the good schools.
 

PsyDr

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Are these places APA accredited because I would only go to a school that has an APA accreditation. And is there another way to distinguish which schools are diploma mill's vs the good schools.

Look at class size. Especially graduating class size. You'll see some programs that graduate 3, some that graduate like 50. This is not confined to PhD vs. PsyD or even free standing places.
 

WisNeuro

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Are these places APA accredited because I would only go to a school that has an APA accreditation. And is there another way to distinguish which schools are diploma mill's vs the good schools.

Look at placement rates for APA accredited internships. That can be a good way. Most reputable programs have placement rates of 95%+ over a long-term span. Also, I'd only consider fully funded programs, personally.
 
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...Avoid predatory programs.

Class size above 20 and tuition 20k+ per year, and it's a good chance it's a "predatory" type program. Any program where you are not trained full-time and in residence on a college of university campus should also be regarded with extreme suspicion. Any program that allows you to keep your day job is almost certainly not going to provide adequate doctoral level training.

If your goal is to be any kind of licensed doctoral level psychologist, get some good research experience now and go above and beyond and work hard to do a very good job (including seeking out opportunities to disseminate your research through presentation and publication). This will make it more likely that you will be a good candidate for a fully funded, university based doctoral program (mostly Ph.D., but some Psy.D. as well) with faculty doing clinical and research work your area of interest. These types of programs will involve you doing some research, but the trade-off is they won't cost you anything (other than opportunity costs), and you'll likely get a stipend along the way. You'll then have a higher likelihood of being a stronger candidate for good pre- and post-doctoral internships in your area of interest. This will set you up better for a "real job" in the future, with an opportunity to begin your career without huge, soul-crushing, amounts of debt. Please note that most of us who went this route are now in clinical positions with little-to-no involvement in conducting research.

There are other routes (both "Ph.D"- scare quotes intentional!- and Psy.D.), but these OFTEN involve substandard training, way too much work on the part of the student to find appropriate (and paid!) practica, and a lower chance of getting any APA internship, let alone a top choice. These other paths may result in you having to pay $1000-$1500 per month in student loan debt, which is crippling and should be unfathomable.

Sounds like you are doing some work in forensics now. Make sure that you do some research regarding the typical work tasks and environments of practicing forensic psychologist. There is a lot misconception about what they do. Popular culture would have you believe that they spend most of their time on crime scenes doing profiling or conducting highly emotional, non-structured interviews with "perps" and prison cells, often resulting in an angry confession by the suspect once they realize they have been outwitted by the brilliant and wily "Doctor." I don't know much about the reality of the field, but something tells me it involves a fair bit of waiting for the phone to ring, a whole lot of testing, enough malingering to make you doubt the validity of a lot of what you do, and way to much having you conclusions and competency challenged.
 
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