Television shows such as Criminal Minds, CSI and Law & Order have boosted interest in the relatively unknown psychology field of forensic psychology. We watch these shows and are fascinated by the accuracy of criminal profiles and the eventual capture of the criminal by using these assessments.
But, the role of a forensic psychologist is far more broad.
A simple definition of this growing field may be found from the American Psychological Association which defines forensic psychology as being “…the application of clinical (psychology) specialties to the legal arena.” Of course, it’s more detailed than that. Forensic psychologists use psychological clinical assessment tools, interviewing, communication skills, research and case presentations.
What Topics Would I Study?
Colleges and universities, naturally, will require different courses for their specific forensic psychology degree. A typical line of study might include a general psychology understanding of skills and theories, coursework in forensic psychology fundamentals, psychology and legal concerns, studies in criminal behaviors, forensic assessment tools and techniques and forensic psychology techniques.
- What Do Forensic Psychologists Do?
Forensic psychologists can fill numerous roles. Some may work with jurors to decide child custody cases or determine the individual psychological impact or damages in compensation cases. Others may testify as expert witnesses in court cases or work with victims of crimes. Still others may work with the prison system with the prisoner population. Some forensic psychologists participate in research, interviewing and evidence investigation.
Where Do Forensic Psychologists Work?
Forensic psychology is one part psychology and one part law. These professionals may find employment in the legal and criminal justice systems as expert witnesses in courts; and, specialize in criminal, civil or family case work. These professionals may find employment in local, state or federal government agencies; and, some may have private practices. Still, other forensic psychologists may work in criminal investigation, sometimes developing psychological profiles, but typically, analyzing evidence and crime scenes. These psychologists may work in the field, laboratories or courtroom.
What Are The Job Prospects For Forensic Psychologists?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t specifically address the career outlook for forensic psychology. However, the government agency does estimate the overall job outlook for psychologists is at 19% between 2014-2024, which much faster than other national job sectors.
How Much Can I Earn As A Forensic Psychologist?
Salary expectations will vary depending on your degree, experience and area of the country in which you live. PayScale, a human resource site which queries employers, estimates salaries for forensic psychologists to average between $38,433 and $106,020. The median salary is seen at $62,325 annually. These figures do not include bonuses nor employee benefits.
Best Medical Degrees has researched 25 Most Affordable Online Masters of Psychology Degree Programs which ranks college and university online degree programs by base tuition cost, length of program, program accreditation and national recognition by rating sites such as U.S. News and World Report.