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 Other Career Options are Available to a Forensic Psychologist?

Additional avenues for Forensic Psychologists include designing programs for correctional facilities or working as independent consultants. Some may prefer working in forensics labs or medical examiners’ offices. Because the profession is so closely linked to other forensic careers, some Forensic Psychologist Jobs move into forensic social work or similar career paths.

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 $104,000 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 entry-level positions starting at $61,000 per year and 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.

Latest Forensic Psychologist Jobs & Forensic Psychology Career Guide Listings

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Position Company Location Posted
Behavioral Health Clinical Supervisor County of Alameda Oregon US 05/13/2022
Behavioral Health Clinical Supervisor County of Alameda Salary: 4 Supervisor Positions: $117,423-$141,056 DOE/DOQ The County of Alameda has made a focused effort to expand and improve mental health services for the incarcerated and ... More
Behavioral Health Clinical Supervisor County of Alameda California US 05/13/2022
Behavioral Health Clinical Supervisor County of Alameda Salary: 4 Supervisor Positions: $117,423-$141,056 DOE/DOQ The County of Alameda has made a focused effort to expand and improve ... More
Behavioral Health Clinical Manager County of Alameda California US 05/13/2022
Behavioral Health Clinical Manager County of Alameda Salary: 2 Manager Positions: $121,872-$148,088 DOE/DOQ The County of Alameda has made a focused effort to expand and improve mental health services for the incarcerated and reentering community to help develop coping strategies, treatment plans, and pathways to resiliency and is expanding its team to support ... More
Behavioral Health Clinic Manager County of Alameda California US 05/13/2022
Behavioral Health Clinical Manager County of Alameda Salary: 2 Manager Positions: $121,872-$148,088 DOE/DOQ The County of Alameda has made a focused effort to expand and improve mental health services for the incarcerated and reentering community to ... More
Program Director of Forensic Psychiatry University of Missouri School of Medicine Columbia, Missouri US 05/11/2022
University of Missouri School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry Professor of Forensic Psychiatry/Program Director of Forensic Psychiatry The Department of Psychiatry, University of Missouri-Columbia, is seeking a full-time, board-certified, or board-eligible forensic psychiatrist. Responsibilitiesinclude providing forensic psychiatry services on an inpatient unit, in an outpatient clinic, or in an ... More
Fee for Service Pavilion Staff Psychiatrist (MD) McLean Hospital Belmont, Massachusetts US 05/11/2022
Fee for Service Pavilion StaffPsychiatrist (MD) The Fee for Service Staff Psychiatrist (MD) performs the functions of evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment formulation of individual treatment plans for psychiatric patients (with a variety of psychiatric diagnoses), to conduct routine non-clinical forensic evaluations (e.g., commitment, guardianship), and to direct the ongoing care of patients. Provides clinical services ... More
Assistant Coordinator Forensicare Clifton Hill, Victoria AUS 05/10/2022
Assistant Coordinator | VIC Part-time (.5FTE), ongoing position 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 ... More
Mitigation Specialist Center for Community Alternatives Syracuse, New York US 05/09/2022
TheMitigationSpecialistworks closely with people charged with criminal offenses and their defense attorneys to tell the clients story via amitigationreport, which their attorney will use to advocate for release, a favorable plea, and/or sentence, often including a client-specific release plan ensuring access to vital social services and supports. TheMitigationSpecialistconducts psychosocial history investigations, family interviews, records requests, and sociological academic research, ... More
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