Costs and Benefits of The Online Forensic Psychology Master’s
In a highly competitive job market that increasingly demands advanced education and experience, is a forensic psychology master’s worth the investment? Of course, that depends on variables in the grad student’s program, their work history, depth of training and work ethic. The rapid growth of online forensic psychology master’s degrees indicates that the profession is expanding beyond its initial requirement for doctoral holders to assume roles in the field. An examination of program costs and subsequent earnings reveals a beneficial return on education investment in the forensic psychology master’s degree.
There can be substantial savings in earning a forensic psychology master’s degree online. Students don’t pay for relocation, student housing, commuting and parking fees. They don’t need to hit the campus bookstore for a school sweatshirt to parade around campus. Tuition and fees comprise the major cost of earning an online graduate degree. Examine prospective schools to determine costs and when payments are due. For example, some colleges charge by the semester or quarter; others charge by the total number of credits per course. Public schools, universities and colleges tend to charge lower tuition than do private institutions. Vetting prospective schools involves creating a budget that embraces the total years that make up the program. Some schools – Southern New Hampshire University, for example – have online net price calculators that help with budgeting. There are programs that offer the option of paying by the cost for a course or by the number of credits. In budgeting, students need to include calculations of cost of living, books and materials and pertinent lab fees, if any. There may be also costs involved in commuting to internships or attending on-campus student orientations. Don’t forget to calculate costs offset by loans, grants, scholarships or employer tuition reimbursement.
Understanding Potential Payoffs
For those working in entry or mid-level positions in law enforcement or counseling, earning an online master’s in forensic psychology doesn’t automatically guarantee higher earnings, but a review of salaries suggests it’s more than likely. For example, the median annual pay for a police officer is $56,980. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a median annual wage for a forensic psychologist of $90,020. It’s more important to look at the earning potential for forensic psychologists where top-tier earners take home more than $110,000 annually. Salaries also vary by type of employer and specialty. For example, federal government forensic psychologists earn median wages from $78,000 to $86,000 a year. Large American cities typically have the highest salaries in the forensic psychology professions, but they also come with higher costs of living.
Here’s the salary range for forensic psychologists in 2013:
Top 10 %
The Houston Chronicle reports that annual earnings for psychologists with bachelor’s degrees range from minimum wage up to $50,000. Adding a master’s degree will boost median earnings to $90,020. Can completing an online master’s in forensic psychology deliver a solid ROI? Do the math.
“Forensic psychology is one of the few areas in mental health where demand often outstrips supply,”
Dr. Eric Mart, forensic psychologist.