What They Do:
A forensic psychologist applies psychological principles to the criminal justice system. It is a relatively new field and the ways in which these professionals are utilized continues to expand. Forensic psychologists perform many different duties, including evaluating the mental fitness of a criminal, testifying as an expert witness, assessing the state of a victim in a child abuse case, developing criminal profiles, and much more.
Having a solid foundation in both criminal justice and in psychology is a necessity for a professional in this field. Many forensic psychologists earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and then earned a doctorate in psychology. In any event, the specific set of skills possessed by forensic psychologists make them irreplaceable assets in communities across the nation.
- Bachelor’s Degree (4 years)
- Master’s Degree (2 years)
- PhD or PsyD (2-4 years)
What They Make:
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), does not specifically list salary information for a forensic psychologist. However, the median annual wage in the category Psychologists, all other as of May 2017 was $97,740. In addition, an APA article shared the opinion of a private practitioner in Fort Worth, Texas by the name of Mary Connell, EdD. She estimated that a forensic psychologist’s salary is typically $200,000 to $400,000 annually.
Where They Work:
- Law Firms
- Police Departments
- Government Agencies, like the FBI
- Mental Institutions
As was the case for salary information, the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s does not separate forensic psychology from other psychology fields. However, the BLS expects the employment of psychologists to increase by 14% from 2019 to 2029. This is a higher rate of increase than the average for all occupations.
Updated February 2021