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What Is a Police Psychologist and How to Become One

What Does a Police Psychologist Do?

As a police psychologist, you work in public safety and law enforcement. Your responsibilities are to help interview suspects, create an analysis of their confession, and conduct a psychological assessment based on their responses. You help law enforcement investigate crimes by determining a motive and creating criminal profiles. Other duties can include routine counseling, offering guidance during hostage negotiations, and determining if suspects are competent enough to testify in court. You might also assist in jury selection or witness preparation. A police psychologist often uses their expertise to help investigate particularly complex or sensitive crimes, such as those against children.

How to Become a Police Psychologist

Education and training are the primary qualifications of a police psychologist. You must hold a bachelor’s degree in a law enforcement-related discipline and a master’s degree in psychology. To provide licensed services, you must also hold a doctoral degree. Other qualifications include completion of an internship that consists of supervised work, which also leads to state licensure. This training gives you the skills you need to interview suspects or complete a psychological assessment, which law enforcement officers can then use while they investigate. Analytical, observational, and communication skills are vital to this position.