Career Goals and Educational Goals Essay Example | 1916 Words

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Career Goals and Educational Goals Essay Example

Upon entering a graduate degree program, students often have an undergraduate degree that they would like to further or specialize in and gain in-depth knowledge of their chosen career field. A master’s degree or doctorate in the chosen field allows greater earning potential and the ability to enter at a higher level than a beginner.

The field of psychology is vast and consists of several paths depending on what you would like to specialize in. However, each person must start at the same beginning, with a master’s in whatever specialty they choose to partake in. When I decided to go back to school to further my BA in forensic psychology, I did a lot of research on which schools could offer the concentration courses that I was looking for.

After reading and researching what Purdue Global had to offer to assist me in beginning my chosen career, I decided to attend. Forensic psychology is like the infant of psychology because it is relatively new in psychology. Forensic psychology, as defined by the American Psychological Association, is the application of clinical specialties to the legal arena (Ward, 2013).

Christopher Cronin, who has written a well-known textbook on forensic psychology, defines it as “The application of clinical specialties to legal institutions and people who come into contact with the law” (p. 5), again emphasizing the application of clinical skills such as assessment, treatment, evaluation to forensic settings. Forensic psychology requires participating in a practicum or an internship for a required number of hours, totaling 800 experience hours.

With a psychology area such as this that requires a vast knowledge of so many different places to equal all that is entailed in just one, I plan on seeking out opportunities where I can shadow and gain experience through supervised training. At the end of a master’s program, students have the choice to either write a thesis which is an extensive paper on something that they have researched in psychology, or take a comprehensive exam which is an intensive examination testing a student’s proficiency in some particular field of knowledge (“comprehensive examination,” n.d.).

I chose to take the comprehensive exam as I am more proficient in test-taking than writing a thesis, which usually requires extensive research to create a book-length paper.


  • Course Number
  • Course Name
  • PS501:  Foundations of Professional Psychology
  • PS502: Ethics and Standards of Professional Psychology
  • MM570: Applied Statistics for PsychologyPS504: Advanced Research Methods
  • PS506: Life Span DevelopmentPS505: Testing, Measurement, and Assessment
  • PS550: Principles of Forensic Psychology
  • PS551: Forensic Psychology and the Law
  • PS552: Theories of Criminal Behavior
  • PS553: Advanced Principles of Forensic Psychology
  • PS600: Comprehensive Exam

As with many other professions, when working in a state, legal, or government capacity, specific qualifications must be obtained to participate and become employed in the chosen discipline. To become a crime scene investigator, there are numerous and different qualifications and licenses needed depending on whether you want to work for the FBI or local law enforcement. Of course, FBI requirements are more significant.

Since I am new and taking the first step toward a sizeable required qualification, I have not decided which section I would like to become employed with, but both options are open. As part of the qualifying and licensing process, the student needs to review the licensing process to become a private investigator, which can be done quickly by visiting

As a general qualification for a certified crime scene investigator, the person must become certified through the Crime Scene Certification Board with 48 hours of approved training in crime scene-related courses, which can be found at (“Crime Scene Certification Requirements” n.d.).

The person must also take a written test and pass a minimum of 75%. The tests are taken from publications selected by the Crime Scene Certification Board (“Crime Scene Certification Requirements” n.d.).Before becoming an official crime scene investigator and going through certification & licensure, a person, must have general qualifications to start the process, such as:1.

Graduated from high school and attended an undergraduate program to achieve a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. However, a master’s degree in forensic psychology is most beneficial. 2. You must pay for several in-depth background checks, application fees, and fingerprinting fees. 3. You also must shadow a crime scene investigation team hands-on & apply for a private investigator’s license, which carries the following requirements (Kissiah, 2019):4.

Applicant must be at least 21 years of age 5. Applicant must be a citizen of the United States or lawfully entitled to remain and work in the United States. 6. Applicant must be of good moral character and temperate habits 7. Applicant must have no conviction of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude or the illegal use or possession of a dangerous weapon. 8.

Must undergo a criminal history background check through the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Nevada Department of Public Safety (DPS), and the California Department of Justice (CDOJ) if you have lived in or ever visited the State of California, must have five years (2,000 hours each year, totaling 10,000 hours) of investigative experience. 9. An associate’s degree in Police Science or Criminal Justice is the equivalent of 8 months or 1,333 hours. A Bachelor’s Degree in Police Science or Criminal Justice is the equivalent of 18 months or 3000 hours of experience.

Experience must be certified by your employer on the forms provided in the application. Depending on what section of criminal investigating they want to do, such as a detective, some applicants might also require a concealed weapon certification. The most challenging aspect of utilizing my forensic psychology degree is deciding if I would like to go through the process of working in an FBI crime unit or with the local investigations department.

As shown above, there is a degree plan that is made for every person who is seeking out a master’s degree in some psychology area, as well as other sites, that will assist them in being able to enter the workforce doing something that they have had extensive training in. My degree plan centers around a general psychology master’s degree with a concentration in forensic psychology.

However, much more knowledge and training are needed to be a crime scene investigator, such as crime scene analysis, evidence collection, etc. These skills are learned hands-on while employed with a police unit or as a detective. It does not give you a general idea of the specifics of the position that would assist from the start, after reviewing the extensive qualifications, certifications, licenses, internship, and graduating with my master’s degree.

I will attempt to become employed with the RPD, or reno police department, to use as my stepping stone for learning procedures and technicalities involved with becoming an investigator, so at some time shortly after, I can move up to either the FBI or a more extensive police department in the crime scene investigation unit. I will be optimistic and look at the grand finale. What is my ultimate goal/position that I will fulfill long-term? I believe that a lead investigator /detective is where I will stay long-term to complete my career goal.

If I decided that working for the FBI was what I ultimately wanted to do, I would also need to attend the police training academy for a crucial period and maintain optimum physical fitness. Those who go on to obtain a doctorate become lead investigators or someone who interviews high-profile offenders in the prison system. Most employers are looking for hands-on experience from a total of 6 months and up.

The more certifications you have, the higher you climb up the ladder towards possible management or a lead/supervisor position. To assist me in identifying what location and organization, local or FBI, I would like to start my career in. There are various resources to find more information on the qualifications and detail involved in each organization. The internet can be a great asset to/for the job search.

Some sites include,, CareerBuilder, Linked In, and even On sites such as these, I can see what employers are hiring and the possible salary range. You also have the ability to narrow your search down using specific words related to the career or employer you are attempting to get hired with.

I will look for employers related to local police departments, governments, & states to search out the available positions in my field of study. Job boards in your local college can be an excellent resource for field-based employment. USA Jobs & are an extremely beneficial resource in seeking out criminal justice positions because many listings are for government employment.

Career-seeking support and each of the jobs mentioned above search resources aren’t the only support you can utilize while beginning and going through your job search.

Purdue University Global has several resources for students to find support while completing their degrees and getting ready to enter their chosen field. There are student groups that I can join to discuss possibilities and seek out any situation I am going through that is degree and field-specific. This group contains students seeking the same degree and career positions I am.

Having peer support can sometimes be more beneficial than seeking out assistance from student support or a professor who is not specialized in your chosen field. New ideas, opinions, and advice are shared in the student groups.

The academic advisor is also an excellent source of support throughout my college program. He assists me in creating and customizing my degree plan to meet the qualifications necessary for my field. Aside from university resources and internet job search engines, I have discussed the possibilities for my chosen career with the local police department to inquire about what is necessary to become a crime scene investigator employed with their organization. I have found that most positions such as this require a civil service exam and being placed on an eligible list.

I also inquired about completing my internship with the same organization and am awaiting information about interning and shadowing. I have also utilized a site, NVAPPS, to find civil servant jobs related to my desired position or something I can start with, leading to the place I am seeking. Many of the employers are willing to answer my questions and give me advice on where to start or what route to take to achieve my desired position.

After researching and reviewing all resources available to assist me in completing my degree through Purdue and the community and taking the steps necessary to achieve my desired profession, a crime scene investigator, it appears that I am on the right track to becoming successful in doing so. There are many opportunities to utilize all resources available to me to become employed in criminal justice/psychology.

However, it does seem that most employers, no matter what the field is, all require the same 1st qualification, if it is a professional position, a master’s degree. In doing so, this will provide me with the opportunity for employers to consider my qualifications before someone who might not have the same or equal education and experience, making it more likely that I will be afforded the position and be able to start gaining the extenuating knowledge required to move up or possibly become an FBI agent which is where the grander salary scale is for earnings.

I know that no matter which route I choose to become employed in, I will research the most beneficial in utilizing the graduate degree I am working hard to achieve for a more excellent salary earning and upper position.


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