Forensic Psychology Career Overview
Forensic psychology applies psychology to the criminal justice system. Forensic psychologists provide clinical- and forensic-related services. They give their opinion in jury selection, case strategy, and briefs. They also offer expert opinion and testimony on the psychology of defendants. A forensic psychologist can assist in civil matters, such as lawsuits that involve emotional suffering or determining a person's competency to make decisions.
Forensic Psychology Education
Forensic psychologists need a doctoral degree in psychology, often in clinical or counseling psychology. It's possible to enter the field with a master's degree, but job opportunities will be limited. Graduate study can take five to seven years, and admission into doctorate programs is highly competitive. After gaining considerable experience and continuing education, some forensic psychologists apply for board certification in the forensic psychology specialty. The most well-known certification board is the American Board of Forensic Psychology, which offers professionals the opportunity to be certified as a diplomat of forensic psychology.
Forensic Psychologist Employment
The demand for forensic psychologists has grown considerably. Job prospects are best for forensic psychologists with a doctoral degree, as those with a master's degree will find greater competition for jobs and will be limited in the types of forensic psychology careers they can pursue.
Forensic Psychologist Job Description
The field of forensic psychology has shown steady growth in the past two decades and is expected to grow faster than average--around 15 percent through 2016. It is one of the fastest growing fields in psychology. Areas likely to experience the highest demand include working with the courts, lawyers, and lawmakers. Jobs are also expected to grow in universities, where the majority of research is conducted.
Forensic Psychologist Salary Range
*The income range for forensic psychologists is $45,000 to $75,000. Salaries can vary depending on the sector of employment, with those in private practice earning higher salaries.
*Bureau of Labor Statistics