Forensic counseling is an emerging field that combines psychology and criminal justice. With a Master of Science (MS) in Forensic Counseling, students can work in a number of positions in the criminal justice and counseling fields. An MS degree in Forensic Counseling degree prepares students to work with a variety of individuals including inmates, defendants, detectives, and others in this industry. Forensic Counselors can also be called to provide expert testimony during trials. Job settings typically include private practices, prisons, courts, offices, hospitals, and community centers.
Steps Toward an MS in Forensic Counseling
To become a forensic counselor, requirements vary significantly by state. Successful students typically complete the following steps:
- Earn proper undergraduate degree (requirements vary by state). Common undergraduate degrees include Bachelor of Science programs in education, psychology, criminal justice or human services.
- Earn proper graduate degrees (requirements vary by state) from an accredited institution like Capella, Kaplan, Liberty, or Walden University. Typically includes completing a Master of Science degree with a focus on forensic counseling.
- Obtain proper licensure. Like with all counseling degrees, licensure requirements differ greatly by state, occupational specialty, and work setting.
- Understand certification options and requirements. Counseling organizations offer certification in particular counseling specialties. Usually, becoming certified is voluntary, but having certification may enhance one’s job prospects.
Professionals in the field should consider membership with the National Association of Forensic Counselors (NAFC) as well. They offer membership at clinical, professional, research, and student levels. Benefits include access to conferences and workshops, continuing online education, and news updates relevant to the field. The NAFC also offers certification.
My Degree and What It’s Good For
A forensic counseling degree can give you the opportunity to aid patients in managing their lives while undergoing counseling or suffering through a crisis. A forensic counseling professional’s job requires them to:
- Provide psychological support to those going through the legal system.
- Support the client’s participation in a treatment plan.
- Testify in court and offer case management support and guidance.
- Arrange for medical care, vocational training, job placement and other outside services.
Annual salary varies within the profession based on specific type of job, location, and experience. For more on your earning potential as a forensic counselor, please visit our salary outlook for counselors page.
Online MS in Forensic Psychology Degree Programs
- Southern New Hampshire University: MS in Psychology – Forensic Psychology
- The Chicago School of Professional Psychology: MA in Forensic Psychology: Non-Licensure Track
- Walden University: PhD in Forensic Psychology
Closely Related Programs
The following degrees are closely related to a master’s degree program in forensic counseling degree, often allowing you to pursue a career in this field or others: