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Both forensic psychologists and forensic psychiatrists work
in the criminal justice system, but have very different responsibilities. Each takes
divergent educational paths as well; forensic psychiatrists are required to
attend a four-year medical school and undergo all the testing and evaluations
necessary to obtain a medical license. After completion of the program, they
must fulfill residency requirements much like medical doctors.
Forensic psychologists, on the other hand, usually obtain a Ph.D.
in psychology, with a specialist track forensics and criminal justice. Since
the Ph.D. is a research degree, students will have exposure to a broad range of
research material before they actually begin their forensic psychology careers.
Argosy University offers a wide selection of bachelor's, masters and doctoral
degree programs in a variety of psychology concentrations at 19 locations
across the nation, including a graduate program in forensic psychology.
Forensic psychologists and psychiatrists work in different
areas, but both come into contact with the criminal population at any given
time. Within the criminal justice system, in cases deal with the mental health
of a suspect, both fields specialize in determining the extent of an inmate’s
mental illness. Forensic psychiatrists are specially trained to identify and
categorize the specific symptoms of mental disorders. Their work is used within
the context of legal proceedings to evaluate a witness, a victim or a suspect
as the court deems appropriate.
Forensic psychologists, due to the nature of their work,
approach the courtroom differently than forensic psychiatrists. The forensic psychologist is responsible for
determining if the defendant is suffering from a mental disorder before the
trial begins. It is important to note that both the forensic psychiatrist and
the forensic psychologist can be responsible for determining the competency of
the defendant to stand trial, depending on which is called in as an expert
The forensic psychologist is simply focused on measuring the
mental state of the defendant inasmuch as it applies to the crime in question;
i.e., they proceed under the assumption that the defendant is of sound mind
unless the psychologist's investigation turns up evidence to the contrary.
This post is brought to you by Argosy University. Drawing
upon our more than 30-year history of granting degrees in professional
psychology, Argosy University has developed a curriculum that focuses on
interpersonal skills and practical experience alongside academic learning.
Because getting a degree is one thing. Succeeding, quite another.
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