Forensic Psychology Careers and Degrees
Forensic psychology is an exciting career that requires both an analytical mind and the ability to understand the thoughts and anticipate actions of criminals. A forensic psychologist creates criminal profiles and provides advice to legal professionals about a defendant's state of mind. Forensic psychologists may also be involved in noncriminal cases such as custody disputes, insurance claims and lawsuits.
Forensic psychologists provide the following services to family and criminal courts:
- Inquiries into accounts of child abuse
- Visitation risk assessments
A master degree in forensic psychology combines the principles of psychology with knowledge of the judicial system. Sometimes known as profilers, forensic psychologists are experts at predicting a criminal's next move. However, your forensic psychology master degree training will teach you to do much more than just assess and profile criminal offenders. You will also be able to provide valuable advice to attorneys in all kinds of court cases.
As a forensic psychologist, your training will prepare you to perform the following functions:
- Question and treat offenders
- Create public policies
- Work in juvenile courts
- Aid in jury selection
Careers in Forensic Psychology
If you're interested in pursuing a career in forensic psychology, you should choose psychology and criminal justice as your primary academic courses. A degree in forensic psychology will include courses in law, psychopathology and even biological sciences. A forensic psychology graduate program also includes a study of the following disciplines:
- Clinical psychology
- Social psychology
- Cognitive psychology
Outlook for Employment
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the field of forensic psychology has seen sustained growth in the last decade, as the need for consultation, research work, and clinical practice in psychology and the law has grown. The BLS projects that the demand for forensic psychologists will continue to grow as they become a more integral part of legal teams nationwide.
Job opportunities with legal authorities, advocates and the courts will be among the most plentiful for forensic psychologists. Interest and experience in developing laws and formulating new ways to work with juvenile offenders will also increase the job prospects for forensic psychologists.
The BLS estimates an average annual salary of $64,000 for forensic psychologists. However, this number will vary depending on your sector of employment and experience.
Take the First Step
If you're ready to pursue a fascinating career in forensic psychology, getting your master degree is a great first step. Explore schools offering graduate degrees in forensic psychology, and choose one that's right for you.