Overview of an Associates in Forensic Psychology
If you have a goal to learn more about people, then psychology is one of the best fields for this. In this field, you’re going to study the mind and learn how it operates. What influences how a person’s brain develops? Economic issues, social, cultural, and biological influences all have a part.
As you learn about how people think and respond to the world around them, you may be surprised to learn more about yourself as well. When you think about it, “psychology” affects almost everything we do, say, or think. Earning your associate degree in psychology gives you the foundation you need to move into a field such as forensic psychology. If you have plans to earn your bachelor’s degree, look for an associate degree in psychology with a transfer option. You'll spend 18 months to two years to complete a psychology program or forensic psychology degree program in community college, graduate, then continue the next two years in a four-year university to earn a bachelor's degree in forensic psychology or forensic science with a psychology/criminal justice double major or minor. And prospective students who wish to become a forensic psychologist or work in clinical psychology or as a profiler must complete a master's degree in forensic psychology. A master's degree is just one of the licensing requirements in the field of forensic psychology.
In an associate degree program in this field, you’ll gain knowledge about how people think and how they respond to situations. If you have plans to advance into a field of forensic science, forensic psychology, or social work, this will give you a solid background for your studies.
Beginning with a basic psychology degree program will prepare students and equip them with the information they need if and when they transfer into a more advanced program such as a bachelor's degree in forensic psychology, criminal justice, or forensic science.
Prospective students might want to consider all of the careers and fields they may be able to move into. They may be able to become drug abuse counselors, law enforcement officers, forensic psychologists, or correctional treatment specialists after they complete bachelor’s or master’s forensic psychology degrees, or forensic science or criminal justice degree programs, depending on their interests and licensing requirements.
As you work toward a decision, don’t forget your entire goal is to earn a forensic psychology degree. By beginning in a community college for your associate degree, you will get complete many basic courses. You’ll get a start on your psychology degree but, at this level, it's difficult to find a degree program that’s specific to a degree in forensic psychology. It's easier to find them in psychology or criminal jutice, or even forensic science.
In general, associate degrees require about 60 credits to graduate, whether they are on-campus or online programs. This means you’ll be halfway through your time in college by the time you transfer to a bachelor's degree program in forensic psychology.
If you decide to wait for a semester or two before transferring to a four-year university, you will be able to work in the psychology field. Students will find that the tasks they can perform will be relatively basic, such as working as a client assistant rather than as actual psychologists.
Certificate vs. Associates
At this level, you have an option between an associate degree and a certificate of completion. Most associate degrees in psychology (AA and AAS) expect to take, not only psychology courses, but related math courses, such as statistics for your AAS degree. You’ll also take several electives that will equip you for your transfer to a four-year school. Look for Crime Profiling, as this ties in closely with forensic psychology.
Some community colleges have certificate programs in psychology, but you’ll have to get creative about getting a class in forensic psychology. A forensic criminology certificate has this course.
What Forensic Psychology Associate Degrees are Available?
You’ll find a good range of associate degrees in psychology, ranging from the Associate of Arts to the Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science.
- Associate of Arts in Psychology:
This degree program exposes you to your general education (communication, arts and humanities, mathematics, literature, foreign language, history, social and behavioral science, geography, natural and physical sciences, then your psychology classes. It focuses heavily on the arts rather than the sciences.
- Associate Degree in Psychology:
You’ll become familiar with the foundations and vocabulary of psychology, as well as its principles. You’ll learn how to discuss developmental psychology milestones, personality theories, and interviewing skills in counseling.
- Associate Degree with Psychology Emphasis:
This degree program is an associate of arts and sciences degree with an emphasis on required psychology courses.
- Associate of Arts in Psychology-Transfer:
This is a transfer degree that is designed to help you obtain all general education requirements. It helps students to prepare for their bachelor’s degrees in psychology. As you prepare to transfer to a four-year university, the courses you have already taken will become a strong foundation for your eventual graduate studies. These may range from liberal arts, social work, or psychology.
As you are applying to different community colleges in your area, be mindful of the admission requirements for each college. You’ll need to provide a high school transcript, high school diploma, proof of completion of your GED program, high school equivalency test, or a state-issued high school equivalency.
If you have attended community college elsewhere, you’ll also provide that transcript. Complete your application for admission form and submit that as well.
How long does it take to earn a Forensic Psychology Associates Degree?
The length of time that it takes students to earn their associate degrees varies from school to school. It also varies from student to student. A fellow student may take three years or more to earn their associate degree and graduate from community college. You may spend 18 months to two years in school before you are ready to graduate.
Different circumstances affect your completion date. You may encounter family issues that force you to drop out of school, money may be a problem, you may not yet be sure of what you want to do with your life. No matter what issues you encounter, remember that education is an investment in your future.
Potential Careers in Forensic Psychology with an Associates
In the mental health field, at the associate degree level, you’ll be able to do some specific kinds of jobs. Knowing that you don’t have the professional knowledge, you’re probably aware that you’ll begin working in the mental health field in an entry-level position.
You’ll assist medical and mental health staff with taking care of patients who are currently admitted to an in-patient facility. Your main duties may include moving a patient from one part of the facility to another area via wheelchair; stocking clean linens, cleaning the room after medical procedures have been completed, and transporting as needed. Expect to assist your patients with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as dressing or bathing.
Average annual salary: $29,500
- Residential Treatment Aide (Mental Health Worker):
You’ll assist doctors and psychologists with daily mental health duties for your clients. The bulk of your work days will be taken up with patient care, patient monitoring, physical assistance, and other tasks for nurses and doctors in the mental health facilities. Because of this, you need to be able to extend empathy for patients in the facility, as well as demonstrate patience toward them. A high school diploma may suffice, but some facilities require graduates of an associate degree program.
Average annual salary: $32,000
- Psychiatric Technician:
You’ll work in a hospital or mental health setting, helping to make sure patients are safe and well-cared for. Because the patients you work with have emotional issues or mental illnesses, this will be vital—if they tend to self-harm, your ability to watch your patients will be key. You’ll encourage your patients to take part in designated activities. You’ll also monitor patients through in-person contact and CCTV observation. Again, a high school diploma may suffice, though some facilities will prefer someone with a college degree.
Average annual salary: $36,300
- Intake Coordinator:
In this position, you’ll be working at the front desk in a healthcare facility or mental health facility. You’ll handle the admission and registration of new patients, so you are the first face they see.
Average annual salary: $49,500
- Social Services Assistant:
Also called a “Human Services Assistant”, this position will have you working in a facility that helps clients to achieve their emotional and mental health goals. You’ll work one-on-one with clients to help them determine if they are eligible for services. You may enact programs to help your clients once they have been evaluated.
Average annual salary: $32,900
Salary by Occupation
|Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor||$40,500||$50,200||$59,000|
Options to Advance
After graduating and working in a psychology-related job, you may decide that it’s time to try and move up. This means returning to school and earning your bachelor’s degree in psychology.
If you are interested in forensic psychology, you may be able to find a few courses or concentrations that will allow you to begin working in this area. If you do begin working in a job that exposes you to forensic psychology, this will only benefit you—you’ll see how forensic psychologists work and figure out what was going through the mind of someone during the commission of a crime.
You can also earn your bachelor’s degree in applied psychology. This field examines ways that people deal with conflicts and begin working together to correct social issues. Choosing an applied psychology major allows you to move up into forensic psychology in graduate school.
Best Associate of Science in Forensic Psychology Programs
Everett Community College
Everett Community College falls under Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges, as one of 34 community colleges. With two campuses, it has educated more than 19,000 students each year. EvCC was founded in 1941; the first classes were held in a converted elementary school and it moved to its current site in 1958.
- Associate in Arts and Sciences Direct Transfer in Psychology
GateWay Community College
GateWayCommunity College strives to respond quickly to the needs of its student community. As the first technical college in Arizona, it turned to innovation to meet student needs. Originally, classes were held in an old department store before its campus was built.
- Associate in Arts in Psychology
Florida Keys Community College
Key West, Florida
Florida Keys Community College was established in 1965, after the Florida Legislature authorized its establishment. The school meets the needs of its students in Monroe County. FKCC has consistently grown, year after year, so it can meet the diverse educational interests and needs of its student body.
- Associate of Arts in Psychology
Houston Community College
Houston Community College serves the Houston Independent School District, Spring Branch, Katy, Alief Independent School District, Stafford Municipal School District and part of Missouri City. In everything the college does, it strives to be a leader in innovative, high-quality education.
- Associate of Science in Psychology
California State University
Long Beach, California
The Donahoe Higher Education Act of 1960 brought several community colleges together as a system in 1982. Today’s CSU campuses count among their number polytechnic and comprehensive universities. Its oldest campus, San Jose State University, was founded in 1857.
- Associate of Arts - Transfer, Psychology
Traditional Schools Offering an AS in Forensic Psychology
The Florida Institute of Technology was founded in Melbourne in 1958, with the aim of educating professionals who were working on the Space Coast, in Florida. Today’s programs are offered online, on-campus, and at off-site locations. Today, Florida Tech continues as an innovative leader in several educational disciplines.
- Associate of Arts in Applied Psychology
South Texas College
South Texas College was founded in 1993 and currently offers more than 120 degree and certificate options for students. It is the only community college in the state of Texas that offers four bachelor’s degrees. With a staff of more than 2,700, the college serves all five campuses, a virtual campus, and two higher education centers.
- Associate in Arts, Psychology
California Coast University
Santa Ana, California
California Coast University offers a quality, flexible, affordable, and online education for its undergraduate and graduate students. Every program is comprehensive, up-to-date, and supported by qualified faculty and staff.
- Associate of Science in Psychology
Virginia Beach, Virginia
With a vision backed by innovation and excellence, Regent University proved itself as a higher-education institution. Today, students at Regent University are working on their associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Built in 1977, Regent university began with 77 classes.
- Associate of Arts in Psychology
Brescia University is a Catholic liberal arts educational institution. Its administration believes that a university education is about making a difference. The institution’s Christian values are echoed in the lives of each student.
- Associate of Arts in Human Services
Psychology Counseling Degrees & Career Paths