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
Assistant Professor of Psychology California State University Los Angeles Los Angeles, California 09/23/2022
Position: Department of Psychology Assistant Professor of Psychology Starting Date: August, 2023 Minimum Qualifications: ... More
Bilingual Staff Psychologist Northwestern University Chicago, Illinois 09/23/2022
Department: MED-Psych & Behavioral ScienceSalary/Grade: EXS/10Job Summary:This position is a Staff Psychologist at the Cook County Juvenile Court Clinic (CCJCC). The CCJCC is operated by Northwestern University through a contract with the Cook County Office of the Chief Judge and is the primary provider of forensic mental health evaluations to the Juvenile Justice and Child Protection departments of the Cook County Circuit Court. The Psychologists primary ... More
RSVP Counselor Advocate University of Georgia Athens, Georgia 09/23/2022
External Retirement Plan: TRS Employment Type Employee Benefits Eligibility Benefits Eligible Full/Part time Full Time Work Schedule Additional Schedule Information Monday through Friday 8 am until 5 pm Advertised Salary $47,000 to $50,000 Posting Date: 09/21/2022 Open until filled: Yes Closing Date: Proposed Starting Date 10/17/2022 Special Instructions to Applicants Location of Vacancy: ... More
Assistant Professor 9 Mo Arkansas State University Jonesboro, Arkansas 09/22/2022
Assistant Professor 9 Mo Working Title Assistant Professor of Psychology Position # F00444 Department Psychology & Counseling Apply Now Employment Status:Full time (29-40 Hrs)Type of Employment:Faculty# of openings:1Location:ASU-JonesboroProposed ... More
Assistant Director of Psychology MN Dept of Human Services St. Peter, Minnesota US 09/21/2022
Assistant Director of Psychology St. Peter, MN Forensic Services, a division of the Minnesota Department of Human Services located at the St. Peter Regional Treatment Facility, has a rare leadership opportunity within its Clinical Psychology department as the Assistant Director of Psychology. WHO WE ARE Forensic Services consists of statewide programs that provide evaluation and treatment to individualscommitted ... More
Assistant Deputy Director, Statewide Psychiatry Services California Correctional Health Care Services California US 09/21/2022
Assistant Deputy Director, Statewide Psychiatry Services $375,564 - $400,776 annual California Correctional Health Care Services (CCHCS) is seeking a dynamic CA-licensed psychiatrist with strong leadership and diplomatic skills to provide oversight and implementation of all psychiatric services within headquarters, Regional offices, and across all institutions within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Within ... More
Medical Assistant (Administrative Focus) Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 09/21/2022
The purpose of the Medical Assistant position in the SRMR is to provide support to the Supervisor with the increase of students in the past few years, the new electronic medical records and E value system (EMR) and scheduling for students, Interns and Residents as they need services or updates on PCOM/Rotation requirements; this has increased the clerical and clinical responsible in the department. The support with PPDS and masks fitting session with, D.O., Psychology and Bio-Med and Forensic ... More
Clinical Psychologist - Senior Clinical Psychologist MN Dept of Human Services St. Peter, Minnesota US 09/20/2022
Clinical Psychologist Senior Clinical Psychologist St. Peter, MN Forensic Services, a division of the Minnesota Department of Human Services located at the St. Peter Regional Treatment Facility, is seeking candidates for a compelling career within its Clinical Psychology department as a Clinical Psychologist or Senior Clinical Psychologist, based on credentials and experience. Applicants may be eligible for relocation reimbursement, ... More
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