Forensic Psychologist Salary

Forensic psychology is one of the most interesting and complex forms of psychology. Forensic psychologists deal with the application of psychological theory and practice as it relates to the law and the legal system, which is incredibly complex and tightly regulated, with very serious consequences and outcomes relating to the competency and skill of a particular forensic psychologist.

The role of a forensic psychologist has been depicted many times over in fiction, film, and TV, and has gone some way to popularizing notions of swaggering detectives and FBI agents unpicking the intricacies of a criminal’s mind in order to better catch them and bring them to justice. Many such shows and movies exist, the most famous and popular being the Hannibal movies, and shows such as Criminal Minds or Mindhunter. While these shows and movies are no doubt very enjoyable and there are elements of truth in them used to make the stories somewhat credible, forensic psychology is much more expansive and deals with many areas of legal psychology. It’s best to base such a serious choice of career path on solid facts, rather than fiction.

In this quick guide, we’re going to look specifically at the sort of pay a forensic psychologist can expect for their sometimes dangerous and extremely challenging job, to give you a better idea of the pay you can expect as well as factors that may affect this.

Salary Expectations

The salary of a forensic psychologist in the US, on average, comes in at around $60,000 a year, often coming with several benefits such as stock ownership, insurance, professional development assistance, a 401(k), and other smaller benefits.

There are some factors that can make your salary below or above this, such as location, experience level, and who you’re actually working for, and we’re going to touch on these now.

Factors Affecting Salary

  • Location – Location plays a huge part in how much you’re paid as a forensic psychologist, and different states offer very different rates. For example, in Texas salaries for forensic psychologists are some 39% HIGHER than the national average. Compare this with somewhere like Indiana, which pays some 28% below the national average, and you can see that choosing where you practice is a big decision.
  • Organization – Where you work also plays a big role in how much you’re paid. Working for the FBI or a large federal agency will likely offer better benefits and payment than a local police department or some form of program.
  • Experience level – Another big factor is your experience, and like all careers, your pay expectations are likely to increase as you gain more experience and authority in your field.