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.

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Position Company Location Posted
Forensic Psychologist Wellpath Florida City, Florida  US 02/24/2022
Why Wellpath Here at Wellpath, everything that we do is about taking care of people our patients, our staff and our partners. We are committed to making a difference by providing hope and healing to vulnerable patients in challenging clinical environments. Our talented, compassionate team thrives in an autonomous environment, is empowered ... More
Program Director - Forensic Mental Health Leadership (FMHL) Adler University Illinois US 02/16/2022
Description The Forensic Mental Health Leadership (FMHL) Program Director oversees the FMHL program in addition to dual degree options with Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) and Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling (MACR). The program is housed within the Counseling and Integrated Programs (CIP) Department. The Program Director provides thought-leadership ... More
Assistant Professor, Clinical Psychology Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine Philadelphia, Pennsylvania US 02/24/2022
Position DescriptionThe School of Professional and Applied Psychology at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) is seeking a Pennsylvania-licensed or license-eligible doctoral level clinical psychologist with a cognitive-behavioral orientation for a full-time (12 month) tenure track position, entering at the Assistant Professor level. This position is already funded. Essential Duties and Responsibilities:Duties and responsibilities include ... More
Open Rank Faculty - Psychology Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine Philadelphia, Pennsylvania US 01/19/2022
Position DescriptionThe School of Professional and Applied Psychology at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) is seeking a Pennsylvania-licensed or license-eligible doctoral level clinical psychologist with a cognitive-behavioral orientation for a full-time (12 month) tenure track position. Faculty rank is open and will be commensurate with experience.Essential Duties and Responsibilities:Duties and responsibilities include (but are not limited ... More
Visiting Assistant Professor Duquesne University Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania US 02/03/2022
Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology Duquesne University: McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts: Psychology Department Location ... More
Assistant Professor/Lecturer in Communication Wenzhou-Kean University CHN 01/10/2022
2022 Assistant Professor/Lecturer in Communication Wenzhou-Kean University About Wenzhou-Kean University Wenzhou-Kean University (WKU), located in Wenzhou, China, one of three Sino-American universities along with NYU Shanghai and Duke Kunshan University, is approved by the Ministry of Education of China. Launched in 2012, WKU offers a unique model of higher education in partnership with Kean University, a comprehensive, ... More
Clinical Director - Regional Forensic Mental Health Service Canterbury District Health Board Christchurch, New Zealand - South Island 02/01/2022
Our purpose The Canterbury District Health Board systematically plan, fund and deliver care to almost 600,000 people that live in the Canterbury region. The Canterbury Health System is a world leader in the delivery of integrated health care. Our main focus is placing people (staff and patients alike) at the centre of everything we do. The team The Canterbury Regional Forensic Mental Health Service provides forensic mental health services ... More
Psychiatrist/Forensic Psychiatrist Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services Las Vegas, Nevada US 12/05/2021
State of NevadaDepartment of Health and Human ServicesNevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health (DPBH)Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services(SNAMHS) is actively recruiting for ... More
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