What are the Careers in Forensic Psychology?
Below is an example of the wide variety of career types available within the field of forensic psychology. However, as there are more possibilities than even this, it is important to understand that the following list is not an exhaustive one.
Furthermore, there may be positions available within forensic psychology that combine the duties and job functions from two or more of the specific careers below.
Crime analysts work closely with law enforcement in order to control, predict, and prevent crime. By analyzing criminal data, criminal analysts search for common themes and trends to identify the factors that may cause a surge and/or reduction in crime rates.
From demographic, locational, and economic factors, such predictors may vary depending upon the type of crime and its severity. For example, crime analysts typically employ three different categories of data. The first uses tactical means for severe and violent crimes such as rape, murder, and kidnapping.
Strategical analyses are used to determine the most effective utilization of law enforcement according to each particular type of crime teams such as SWAT and first responders.
And finally, crime analysts use administrative research methods to provide agencies within the criminal justice system with sets of data they might require to develop and implement effective policies.
A correctional officer is a law enforcement professional who is typically employed by local and county jails, and state and federal prisons. Their overall job description is to control inmates, prevent and stop attempts of escape, and ensure that themselves, fellow correctional staff members, and the entire population of inmates remain as safe as possible at all times.
Performing checks on prison cells to identify and confiscate illegal weapons, drugs, and other forms of contraband, correctional officers must remain alert at all times in order to decrease violence, internal gang activity, and fighting amongst inmates.
A court liaison is an administrative and non-sworn police department employee who supports court officials, such as district attorneys, through a variety of different means. Their most typical duties may include reviewing the court filings and other documents prior to a trial and/or hearing, and ensuring the efficient and quick exchange of information between law enforcement and the district attorney.
Court liaisons also aid police officers in their preparation for testimony, and the gathering and organizing of evidence for trial presentation.
An expert witness is someone who possesses a substantial amount of knowledge regarding a particular area or subject qualifying his or her opinion reliable enough to be used as evidence in a criminal trial.
As the opposing attorney will undoubtedly call into question an expert witness’ credentials, whomever enlisted the witness for testimony must be sure to thoroughly research and confirm their experience and industry authority beforehand.
From doctors to geologists and educators to authorities on construction and demolition, expert witnesses from all sorts of professional backgrounds are regularly used to provide evidence that will either convict or acquit a suspect of charges.
Forensic Case Manager
A forensic case manager is a human services professional who manages a variety of care and intervention resources to help offenders navigate the complications of post-sentence. The ultimate objective of a forensic case manager is to prevent offenders from repeating their crimes in the future.
Most forensic case managers concentrate within a specific area of needs such as strictly providing services to children, the disabled, clients with mental illness, or families that have fallen victim to one or more forms of abuse; e.g., domestic, sexual, financial, and/or substance abuse.
Forensic Social Worker
A forensic social worker is a criminal justice and social work professional who assists in navigating the consequences of crime for either victims or perpetrators.
Often conflated with traditional social workers because they also help those affected by domestic and neighborhood violence, divorce, juvenile delinquency, homelessness, and poverty, a forensic social worker is characterized by the fact that they essentially serve as a liaison between these individuals, law enforcement, and the court system.
The responsibilities of a forensic social worker may include but are not limited to: identifying signs of criminal activity within their clients, testifying as an expert witness, evaluating clients’ mental states, and recommending appropriate community and therapy resources to criminal defendants.
Known as an investigative journalist or crime reporter, these professionals play a crucial yet overlooked role within forensics and the criminal justice system. As law enforcement officials and detectives are often overwhelmed with growing numbers of unsolved cases, journalists provide much needed assistance for the detection and investigation of crimes.
Their duties may include attending press releases held by police and other authorities, photographing crime scenes, conducting interviews with the families, friends, and coworkers of both victims and suspects, following up on crime-stopper tips, and investigating the information they receive from a wide variety of informants.
A jury consultant is an expert in human behavior who works within the courtroom helping attorneys to pick objective jurors and gain insight into their opinions and conduct. A jury consultant’s duties begin prior to the first day of a trial. I
n order to develop detailed profiles of jury candidates, jury consultants research the candidates’ backgrounds, compose questions and conduct interviews, examine data regarding the composite of their demographics, examine those statistical significances, and even simulate mock trials for a first-hand understanding of how each juror may conduct themselves.
Once a jury is selected and the trial begins, jury consultants observe the mannerisms, facial expressions, and body language of jurors during the trial to help attorneys formulate strategies and arguments most conducive for achieving their litigation objectives.
Juvenile Correctional Treatment Specialist
Forensic psychologists who enjoy working with children and adolescents may choose to pursue a career as a Juvenile Correctional Therapist or Treatment Specialist.
Professionals in this area focus on evaluating young offenders, diagnosing disorders, and developing treatment plans to address behavior and mental health issues. They may work directly with youth who are on probation or parole or they may work within correctional institutions.
Juvenile Treatment Specialists also provide services to the families of young offenders. These services typically include individual and group counseling, substance abuse treatment, family counseling, social skills training, anger management, conflict resolution, parenting skills, and other types of life skills training. These services are offered in the home, in community settings, at school, within residential homes, or inside correctional institutions
Law Enforcement Officer
A law enforcement officer is the criminal justice system’s first responder and first line of defense. Depending upon the governmental branch with which an officer is employed—and the city, county, and/or state he or she lives—the duties of a law enforcement officer may vary.
However, most officers provide authorized legal protection for communities and the properties of those people who inhabit them. The various responsibilities of a law enforcement officer might include patrolling neighborhoods, responding to 911 calls, arresting criminal suspects, writing traffic and other types of citations, and testifying against defendants in court.
Court systems and private lawyers hire forensic psychologists for a wide variety of legal activities. Legal Consultants are sometimes asked to assist with jury selection in an attempt to assemble a jury that will have an open mind and view each case fairly. Professionals assisting with jury selection may conduct mock trials, conduct telephone surveys, or run focus groups as a part of the legal team.
Prosecutors and defense lawyers alike may call on a Legal Consultant to testify as an Expert Witness during a trial. Forensic psychologists in this capacity often testify regarding the mental status of a defendant and whether he/she is competent to stand trial. The Legal Consultant might also testify in custody cases to provide a professional opinion regarding parenting ability and the welfare of the children involved.
In general, forensic psychologists who work in this role explain the psychological dynamics of a criminal or civil case to judges, lawyers, and others involved in the case.
Law Enforcement Liaison
Forensic psychologists are often hired by police departments to assist with various tasks. They often work with other law enforcement agents to help develop suicide prevention protocols and other training programs. Professionals in this field might also provide post trauma counseling for victims as well as for family members of police officers.
Stress management is another area in which police departments utilize the skills of Law Enforcement Liaisons. Forensic psychologists who select this career may be asked to teach stress reduction techniques to officers and other employees of local, state, and federal police departments.
A probation officer is a professional who works within the criminal justice system as the principal supervisor of offenders who have either been penalized with probation instead of imprisonment or released from incarceration into probation.
Probation officers are charged with the responsibility of ensuring that these individuals adhere to and see through the terms of their probation until a judge determines their sentence is complete.
Probation officers may perform duties such as randomly visiting the homes of offenders for wellness checks, administering drug screenings, aiding probationers in the difficult process of locating and obtaining a job, and even relocating them to healthier and safer environments to reduce their likelihood of reoffending.
Program Directors/Managers & Clinical Directors
A program director and/or clinical director works with a range of criminal justice and legal agencies to organize and establish programs for the mental and psychological wellness of criminal offenders.
Implementing clinical and psychology concepts, program directors screen offenders for problematic beliefs and behaviors, evaluate their mental health, and develop strategies to manage each case effectively and safely.
As many offenders suffer from addiction, program directors may often facilitate collaborations between governmental agencies and community centers for the treatment of substance abuse. A program director’s ultimate objectives are to support offender rehabilitation, assist in their reintroduction into the public sphere, and reduce the criminal justice system’s need for future involvement.
A psychological assistant provides crucial support to licensed clinical psychologists in a number of different ways. Psychological assistants may arrange intakes, perform preliminary mental health evaluations, and help with research efforts.
While psychological assistants are not qualified to diagnose patients or determine appropriate courses for treatment, they may provide their supervisors with additional information to help them arrive at accurate diagnoses.
Employed by private practices, governmental agencies, and centers for mental health, psychological assistants might also help to ensure patients follow through with treatment and are responding positively to therapy.
A psychology teacher is an educational professional who gives lectures and teaches courses in psychology at the high school, post-secondary, and/or graduate level. Their primary duty is to plan psychology courses by selecting text books, creating a syllabus, assigning homework, and grading tests and quizzes.
In colleges and at universities, psychology teachers may be responsible for conducting research and publishing their work in academic journals. They may also help to guide students towards a career in psychology by advising them how to accomplish each step along the way. Psychology teachers also frequently provide government agencies and other educators with expert advice and direction when needed.
A researcher who works within forensic psychology studies different aspects of criminology. These professionals may conduct their research in a variety of different ways such as questioning suspects, victims, and the familial members and friends of both, studying the history of related crimes along with any conditions and demographic factors believed to be related to their cause, inspecting and studying crime scenes, and examining any remaining evidence and/or evidence considered to be missing.
Employing their knowledge of abnormal and criminal psychology, forensic researchers may also be responsible for compiling and categorizing the very information that forensic and criminal experts use to profile and locate unidentified subjects.
Trial consultants work as part of a legal team for either the prosecution or defense in a trial. The purpose of having a trial consultant on the team is to utilize their knowledge and experience in a given field to help further the cause of the case or client.
Generally, trial consultants have a background in psychology, though this is not a given as attorneys on both sides often employ experts from many fields to help improve their chances of winning at trial.
For example, a trial consultant with a background in psychology might assist a defense attorney in developing questions for potential jurors in order to identify jurors that might or might not be sympathetic to the defendant.
Many forensic psychologists pursue careers as Victim Advocates. In this role, psychologists provide individuals who have experienced victimization with counseling, support, and legal advocacy.
Victim Advocates help crime survivors and their families obtain safe shelter following a crisis. They also offer education and prevention strategies for survivors as well as ongoing support before, during, and immediately following court procedures. Victim Advocates also make referrals for follow-up care for survivors and their families when needed.
- 31 Popular Psychology Careers
- How to Become a Forensic Social Worker
- Career Options With a Degree in Psychology
- Requirements to Become a Criminal Psychologist
- 8 Pros and Cons of Being a Forensic Psychologist
A degree in forensic psychology can open doors to many positions in fields related to the criminal justice system. Careers that graduates with a forensic psychology degree can explore include: Correctional officer.What is the fastest growing branch of forensic psychology? ›
Answer and Explanation: The fastest-growing branch of forensic psychology is considered correctional psychology.What is the most common job of a forensic psychologist? ›
Forensic Psychologist Job Description
Duties often mentioned in a forensic psychologist's job description include assessing individuals involved in the legal system, writing reports about their mental status, testifying in court, and providing treatment.
Major metropolitan areas usually provide more job opportunities for forensic psychologists than rural areas. Top-paying cities include Denver, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., and top-paying states include Oregon, California, New York, and Louisiana, according to PayScale.Can forensic psychologist be rich? ›
According to PayScale, the average salary for a forensic psychologist is $72,057 per year. The pay range extends from the high $30,000s up to about $100,000 per year. How much you make depends on many factors, not the least of which is your level of education.What type of psychology gets paid the most? ›
Psychiatrists prescribe medications for patients with mental illnesses. Psychiatrist positions are by far the highest-paying jobs for psychology majors. The average salary is $217,798, according to PayScale. A psychiatrist should be licensed as a board-certified psychiatrist.What will be the demand for forensic psychology in the next 5 years? ›
It reports a 14% increase in jobs through 2028, which is faster than average. There also will be 15% job growth for professionals working as clinical and counseling psychologists.Should I study forensic psychology? ›
Is a Master's in Forensic Psychology Worth It? Yes, a master's degree in forensic psychology is worth it for many students. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, life, physical, and social science jobs are set to grow at 5% over the next 10 years, faster than the average for all occupations.What is the easiest field of psychology? ›
At the graduate level, the master's degree in industrial-organizational psychology is probably the easiest to attain. As doctorates go, the Doctor of Psychology (Psy. D.) degree may be easier than the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.Which specialty is one of the five major areas in forensic psychology? ›
For our purposes, forensic psychology will be divided into five subspecialties: (1) police psychology, (2) psychology of crime and delinquency, (3) victimology and victim services, (4) legal psychology, and (5) correctional psychology.
Forensic Psychologist Responsibilities:
Assessing recidivism risks. Compiling quantitative and qualitative reviews. Evaluating case presentations and assessments. Providing expert testimony in court.
This job can be challenging as you will be working with a range of people from violent or sexual offenders, children, and people with severe mental health issues. This requires you to work in often stressful and demanding situations.Is being a forensic psychologist fun? ›
Each day you work in this field is an opportunity to learn something new, have different experiences, and take advantage of opportunities to make a positive impact on someone's life. As such, many forensic psychologists find that this is a very exciting and very satisfying line of work.
Forensic psychology includes five major sub-disciplines—police psychology, investigative psychology, criminal psychology, correctional psychology, and legal psychology—all of which are covered in the course work comprising the 15-unit Certificate in Forensic Psychology.How many years does it take to be a forensic psychologist? ›
How many years does it take to become a forensic psychologist? It takes 10-15 years of education and training. You must earn a bachelor's degree, then typically a master's degree, followed by a doctorate. You must also work under the supervision of a licensed psychologist before earning your license.Do forensic psychologists work alone? ›
Forensic Psychologists are adaptive problem solvers who work independently and as part of a team to study, understand, and solve often-complicated legal matters.Is forensic psychology better than criminal? ›
Criminal psychologists are more focused, looking only at the perpetrator and aspects of the crime itself. Forensic psychologists do not profile criminal suspects or create behavioral profiles of perpetrators. Those tasks fall to criminal psychologists.What does a forensic psychologist not do? ›
Forensic psychologists are not likely to attend crime scenes in their role. Professionals who investigate crime scenes most often include police officers, detectives and crime scene examiners.Why are people interested in forensic psychology? ›
Many people are drawn to the field of forensic psychology because of an interest in watching, listening to, or reading crime-related material.Do forensic psychologists go to crime scenes? ›
Crime Scene & Laboratory Setting: Some forensic psychologists play an important role in criminal investigations, and spend their time analyzing crime scenes and evidence to conclude a criminal's actions, and/or how they committed a crime.
Clinical psychologists make up the single largest specialty area in psychology. 1 Clinicians are psychologists who assess, diagnose and treat mental illnesses. They frequently work in mental health centers, private or group practices or hospitals.
According to students studying psychology, there is quite a lot of reading that you need to do. Psychology is one of the more difficult degrees and many of your assignments will require you to cite your sources and will require you to back up a lot of the arguments that you have.Is a BS or a BA better in forensic psychology? ›
A BA opens up opportunities in fields like criminal justice and social work while a BS prepares learners for more research-based, clinical professions. Many psychology bachelor's degrees prepare students for specialized careers in subsets of the field, including organizational psychology and forensic psychology.Is forensic science good for girls? ›
Also the present situation in forensics science for girls is very good. It is safe and reliable for women.Is it hard to get a job in forensics? ›
Forensic science is a very competitive field, so finding a job can be difficult. Arming yourself with higher education and certifications can help tremendously.What are the advantages of being a forensic psychologist? ›
The pros of a forensic psychology occupation include: The diversity offered by a cutting edge field where law enforcement and science meet. The choice of working in either private practice or in the public sector.What is the newest field of psychology? ›
Most people would agree there is a connection between physical and emotional health. New research and new forms of therapy are emerging in response. For example, according to the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology, a new subspecialty in psychology called energy psychology has been created.What is the fastest growing career in psychology? ›
Popular psychology careers include clinical psychology, psychiatry, neuropsychiatry, private counseling, or organizational psychology. BLS data also projects a 14% increase in demand for psychologists in general through 2026, so students in the field can anticipate generous job availability upon graduation.Which psychology is in demand? ›
Clinical Psychology is a demanding field and has the most number of jobs on offer as well. It is one of the most sought careers in psychology in India.Who is the father of forensic psychology? ›
Hugo Munsterberg has been referred to as the “father of forensic psychology” due to the publication of his book, On the Witness Stand: Essays on Psychology and Crime (1908), but his work followed Cattell's by at least 12 years (Huss, 2009).
Forensic psychology is a fascinating world and career. If you are interested in the psychology behind crime such as forensic science, forensic evidence, and various other forensic disciplines that are used in the criminal justice system, you may enjoy a career in forensic psychology.Is a forensic psychologist a hard job? ›
A career as a forensic psychologist is a challenging one, but it offers many intrinsic benefits. In this profession, individuals exercise compassion toward all parties while remaining objective. Achieving this balance can be difficult and requires extensive training, but the outcome is rewarding.Why am I interested in forensic psychology? ›
As a forensic psychologist, you will have numerous opportunities to help others and on both sides of the issue when a crime occurs. Many forensic psychologists actually enjoy working with the criminals themselves as they see that as an opportunity to make a real difference and help with rehabilitation of criminals.Why should I study forensic psychology? ›
This degree will help you build a career as a forensic psychologist or in a complementary sector, such as the police force, community rehabilitation settings, and/or legal services.What job is closest to criminal minds? ›
“Of all the TV crime shows, Criminal Minds comes closest to depicting real forensic psychologists—if you take away the private jet,” said Dr. Beyer.Do forensic psychologists talk to criminals? ›
A day in the life of a forensic psychologist varies their work setting, job title, and specialization. Forensic psychologists often specialize in civil, family, or criminal casework. They interact with attorneys, judges, victims of crime, and criminal offenders.Do forensic psychologists speak in court? ›
By offering their expert opinion on psychological risk, capacity, and illness in a manner that is clear, unbiased, and objective, in accordance with proper legal and court procedure, forensic psychologist expert witnesses provide an important service to both the clients they represent and the legal system in general.What do I need to study forensic psychology? ›
Forensic psychologists will usually have completed an accredited undergraduate degree in psychology. From there, they need to complete a Master's degree in forensic psychology approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).