Forensic Psychologist Jobs & Forensic Psychology Career Guide

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Forensic Psychology CareersWhat is a Forensic Psychologist?

Forensic Psychologists are licensed psychologists interested in psychology as it pertains to the law. These mental-health professionals utilize their knowledge of psychology to help solve legal concerns in a variety of settings. Along with general psychology training, Forensic Psychologists have extensive knowledge of the legal system, as well as ethics and professionalism. These psychologists are committed to lifelong learning, especially when it comes to the connection between psychology and law. Forensic Psychologists are adaptive problem solvers who work independently and as part of a team to study, understand, and solve often-complicated legal matters.

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What is a Forensic Psychologist Responsible For?

The field of Forensic Psychology is broad and psychologists specializing in forensics have an equally diverse range of responsibilities. They may conduct mental-health screenings and psychological assessments, facilitate individual and group therapy sessions, and collaborate with colleagues, lawyers, and the court system as needed.

Forensic Psychologists often testify in court and assess the credibility and reliability of multiple sources to gather helpful information. Their scope of work might include evaluations for competency and crisis management, mediation, and jury selection.

Those Forensic Psychologists who choose to work in corrections or law enforcement may provide counseling services to officers and staff. Because their role is often not clearly defined, their job duties are ever-changing.

Due to popular television programs and movies with a focus on crime, Forensic Psychology has gained more popularity in recent years. Very few Forensic Psychologists facilitate criminal profiling. This investigative tool is often assigned to highly-trained professionals in the law enforcement field.  

Where Does a Forensic Psychologist Work?

Forensic Psychologists work in a variety of settings. Many work in corrections facilities, police departments, outpatient care centers, or hospitals. Some dedicate their working hours to forensic psychology research or teaching others about the field in colleges and universities. Government agencies also employ Forensic Psychologists.

What Career Options are Available to a Forensic Psychologist?

  • Correctional Psychologist – designing programs for correctional facilities
  • Forensic Scientist – working in forensics labs or medical examiners’ offices
  • FBI Special Agent – supporting the FBI’s mission of public safety by analyzing motives and providing professional insights
  • Jury consultant – assisting law firms with a wide variety of tasks including scientific jury selection, opening statement writing and preparing witnesses for deposition

What Degree is Required to Become a Forensic Psychologist? What Do They Study?

Individuals interested in becoming Forensic Psychologists must complete a doctoral degree in psychology. Some employers may consider individuals with a master’s level education, but earning a PhD or PsyD in psychology or Forensic Psychology is recommended. While some graduate schools are beginning to offer a Forensic Psychology specialization, students who graduate with a doctorate degree must complete post-doctorate education in forensics. Many undergraduates decide to major in psychology. Others, however, choose another area of study.

Those interested in Forensic Psychology should take classes dedicated to psychology, sociology, law, ethics, and professionalism. After completing a graduate program and the required on-the-job training, graduates take exams to obtain state licensure. Some individuals go on to earn a law degree.

How Much Money Does a Forensic Psychologist Earn?

Forensic Psychologists earn an average annual salary of $60,000 but that figure can vary based on specialization, location, and years of service. Forensic Psychologists in the 75th percentile can earn $124,500 annually. Experience pays, with those with 20 years-experience making an annual salary of $92,000. Forensic Psychologists working for the FBI can earn a salary range of $99,000 and $129,000 per year. Supervisory Criminal Profilers can earn $140,000 per year. 

What Skills and Traits Are Important in the Forensic Psychology Field?

Forensic Psychologists must possess strong communication, listening, and critical thinking skills. Strong leadership skills and the capacity to express oneself verbally and through writing are key strengths of a Forensic Psychologist. It is important for them to fully understand social and cultural issues. As trained professionals, these psychologists may need to interact with offenders and witnesses.

Knowledge in mental-health, law, and courtroom practices is also important. These professionals must be quick on their feet, ready and willing to present to a group of people with very little time to prepare. It is necessary for them to have strong stress-management and coping skills. They must be self-starters and have an excellent work ethic, always motivated, and committed to their field.

Legal knowledge and the understanding of law as it pertains to psychology is a necessity. A desire to keep up-to-date on advances in the field and willingness to learn and teach new information and skills is very important in the field of Forensic Psychology.

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Position Company Location Posted
Clinical Education Director-Psychiatry Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine - Washington State University Spokane, Washington 10/05/2022
The Clinical Education Director (CED) for Psychiatry reports to the Chair of the Department of Medical Education & Clinical Sciences (DMECS). The incumbent is responsible for serving as the thought leader for the college as it pertains to the development, design, coordination, and implementation of the curriculum in their respective specialty. The incumbent is expected to foster a positive and inclusive academic environment for learners and faculty ... More
Associate/Assistant Professor - Chief Medical Officer at the Whiting Forensic Hospital Yale University Middletown, Connecticut 10/05/2022
The Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine, is seeking an experienced and dynamic psychiatrist for an appointment at the Associate/Assistant Professor level, for a position as the Chief Medical Officer at the Whiting Forensic Hospital in Middletown, CT. This nationally recognized forensic leadership role is offered in association with the Law & Psychiatry Division of the Dept. of Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, and a successful MD ... More
PSYCHIATRISTS The State of New Jersey's Division of Behavioral Health Services Trenton, New Jersey 10/05/2022
PSYCHIATRISTSfor clinical staff and leadership positionsThe State of New Jerseys Division of Behavioral Health Services is seeking motivated Psychiatrists for full-time inpatient work in our Joint Commission accredited State psychiatric hospitals and forensic center. Psychiatrists with management experience are also needed to serve as Chiefs of Psychiatry.Post Certified - $271,182 (3+ years post certification)Board ... More
Lecturer (Continuing) University of North Texas Frisco, Texas 10/05/2022
Position DetailsPosition InformationUNT System Overview Welcome to the University of North Texas System . UNT System includes the University of North Texas in Denton , the University of North Texas at Dallas and the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth. We are the only university system based exclusively in the robust Dallas-Fort Worth region and we are committed to transforming lives and creating economic opportunity through education. ... More
Forensic Interviewer Therapist Family & Children's Place Louisville, Kentucky 10/04/2022
Family & Children's Place of Louisville, KY, is looking to hire a full-time Forensic Interviewer/Therapist to provide forensic interviews with children and adolescents. This human services position earns an hourly pay of $21.83 and a $300 sign-on bonus. ... More
Intern - Spring 2023 IACP Alexandria, Virginia 10/04/2022
Closing Date: Friday November 18, 2022 Cover Letter Required: Yes ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Are you looking to make a difference? When you work for the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), you dont just make a living, you make a difference by shaping the future of the policing profession. Is it easy? No. Is it ... More
Assistant Professor (Tenure Track) - Master of Social Work (23-24) Department of Social Work at DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois 10/04/2022
The Department of Social Work at DePaul University, in Chicago, Illinois, invites applications for a tenure track assistant professor position with an appointment beginning Fall 2023. The Department of Social Work is recruiting one faculty member with expertise in social work practice in one or more of the Departments two specialization areas: community practice and/or forensic social work. Additionally, the Department plans to develop a specialization in school social ... More
Assistant Coordinator - Forensic Clinical Specialist Program Forensicare Clifton Hill, Victoria 10/03/2022
Part time, fixed term opportunity (untilmid August 2023).Assistant Coordinator FCSP 0.7 EFT position. Flexibility between 0.5 -0.7will be considered for suitable candidates Suitably qualified senior mental health clinician interested in a leadership/ coordination role (HS7 level, salary $112,808 p/a pro rata) Based at Forensicare's Community Forensic Mental Health Service (CFMHS), Clifton Hill with potential to work from home (hybrid working arrangement) ... More
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