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
CONSULTANT PSYCHIATRIST - YOUTH FORENSIC, NORTHLAND NEW ZEALAND Te Whatu Ora Te Tai Tokerau Whangarei, International 02/01/2023
Permanent part-time position (0.5 FTE, 20 Hrs p/w) Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand, Te Tai Tokerau Whangrei, Northland NZ The Mental Health and Addiction Servicesin Northland New Zealandare seeking a Consultant Psychiatrist to join the Youth Forensic service. This is a permanent, part-time position based inWhangrei ... More
Clinical Assessor, LCSW, LCPC/Clinical Psychologist, LMFT (38841) Northern Illinois University Illinois 02/01/2023
Position InformationPosting Detail InformationWorking Position Title Clinical Assessor, LCSW, LCPC/Clinical Psychologist, LMFT (38841)Classification Title SpecialistPosition Number 00038841Open Date 01/26/2023Close DatePriority Review Date 02/15/2023Business Unit Description SPSFull-Time/Part Time Full-TimeFTE 1.00Position ... More
Clinical Screener, Integrated Assessment Program (38430) Northern Illinois University Illinois 02/01/2023
Position InformationPosting Detail InformationWorking Position Title Clinical Screener, Integrated Assessment Program (38430)Classification Title SpecialistPosition Number 00038430Open Date 10/31/2022Close DatePriority Review Date 12/15/2022Business Unit Description SPSFull-Time/Part Time Full-TimeFTE 1.00Position ... More
Part-Time Faculty: Psychology in College of Arts and Sciences Fall 2023 Quinnipiac University Hamden, Connecticut 02/01/2023
Overview: The Department of Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences of Quinnipiac University invites applications for part-time faculty to teach a range of on-ground courses in Psychology. We are particularly interested in individuals with experience teaching Cognitive, Social, School or Physiological Psychology. Openings are in day and evening sections teaching some of the following courses: Introduction to Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Child Development, Cognitive ... More
Contract Physician County of Monterey Health Department- Clinic Services Bureau Salinas, California 01/30/2023
The Monterey County Health Department is recruiting for Contract Physicians in its Clinic Services and Behavioral Health Bureaus. The Monterey County Health Department's mission is to enhance, protect and improve the health and well-being of individuals in Monterey County. The Department provides a wide variety of health services to the health safety net population in the County to ensure that every resident has access to quality, evidence-based health services ... More
Psychiatrist International Health and Medical Services Western Australia 01/30/2023
Casual contract till December 2023 (Flexible days and rotation lengths) $2,500 per day + super Location - Perth, Northam, Christmas Island (WA) and Adelaide locations available Flights and accommodation provided if needed Are you a Psychiatrist ready for your next challenge? Look no further! Join a well-established organisation and expand your clinical skills. ... More
Adjunct Faculty, School of Psychology Kean University Union, New Jersey 01/30/2023
External Applicant Instructions Please upload your resume/CV for automatic population of information to your Kean application.Your contact information, work experience and education will be automatically filled in. Please review all fields - you will need to verify that the data is accurate.In the "My Experience" section, you will find a resume/CV upload option where you can submit your cover letter and any other supporting documents you may ... More
Sexual Assault Crisis Counselor (Mental Health Specialist) Indiana University Bloomington, Indiana 01/30/2023
The Division of Student Affairs is focused on building a strong foundation to ensure every student's IU experience is positive, safe, healthy, and meaningful. The Division of Student Affairs staff and 22 departments aim to help students navigate their time at IU, providing the tools they need to be successful in school and after graduation. Students are our priority, and their health, safety, and overall well-being are our core mission. Indiana University's Counseling and Psychological Services ... More
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