Forensic psychologists specialize in applying their expertise to work with those in the criminal justice and legal systems. They enjoy a variety of forensic psychology career options, working in diverse areas, including jury selection, mental health evaluation, lie detection, eyewitness testimony, and criminal profiling.
Given the applicability of their skills to so many areas of criminal justice, forensic psychologists work in courts, prisons, rehabilitation centers, police departments, schools, government agencies, insurance companies, or law firms.
The variety of careers in forensics psychology is one reason students are drawn to the profession. No other area of psychology better prepares professionals to make an impact on the thousands of lives caught up every day in the nation’s vast network of legal systems.
Careers for Those with a Bachelor’s Degree in Forensic Psychology
Forensic psychologists need a graduate-level degree and a license to practice as a psychologist. However, earning a bachelor’s degree qualifies students for a variety of careers in the legal system, even if they do not move on to earn a master’s degree.
Careers for those with a Bachelor’s Degree in Forensic Psychology include the following. All salary figures come from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), PayScale, and The Balance. Keep in mind that forensic psychologist salaries vary widely depending on location and the nature of the work.
Court Liaison. A court liaison acts as a go-between for the various agencies and individuals involved in the court system. These entities include attorneys, clients, judges, and law enforcement officers. A court liaison ensures that all involved with a court case are on the same page. They may also help witnesses prepare for providing testimony. Annual salary: $59,045.
Law Enforcement Officer. A law enforcement officer can include police officers, state troopers, detectives, and other criminal investigators. A degree in psychology can help law enforcement officers with certain aspects of the job, including interviewing witnesses and suspects. Salaries vary by position. Annual salary for detectives: $86,030.
Probation Officer. A probation officer assists with the rehabilitation of a law offender after they leave jail or prison on probation or parole. Annual salary: $59,910.
Victim Advocate. A victim advocate can work in a variety of roles, all associated with supporting and protecting the rights of crime victims. They keep victims informed about the status of their cases, including the arrest or release of crime suspects. They also direct crime victims to organizations that offer support. Annual salary: $48,716.
Careers for Those with a Master’s Degree in Forensic Psychology
To work as a practicing forensic psychologist, students must earn a master’s degree in forensic psychology and pass exams to earn a professional license. Those who do so qualify for many different legal system-related jobs, including the following.
Jury consultant. Those who work as a jury consultant use their expertise in human behavior to assist attorneys in choosing jury members in criminal trials and in some civil litigation (especially if the case is complex). Annual salary: ranges from $50,000 to $80,000 depending on location.
Licensed professional clinical counselor. In this role, counselors work with individuals and groups in the legal system with those who need support for mental health and substance abuse, among other issues. Annual salary: $87,450.
Juvenile offenders’ counselor. A counselor in this specialty, work with minors convicted of a crime, helping them deal with the core issues behind their behavior and become productive members of the community. Annual salary: $49,950.
Research assistant. In psychological research, an assistant handles the scoring of psychological tests, writing reports summarizing results, and oversee the development and distribution of surveys. Annual salary: $51,340
Jail/prison supervisor. The job entails maintaining order, discipline, and security at prisons and jails. Annual salary: $88,422
Crime analyst. A crime analyst collects and analyzes data on crime statistics, looking for patterns in certain areas to help improve crime prevention efforts and law enforcement strategy. Annual salary: $71,000
These forensic psychology careers allow graduates at the bachelor’s and master’s level to pursue interesting, rewarding careers in the criminal justice and legal system. Few careers offer a better chance to make a positive impact on the lives of those who need support in forensic settings.
Note: The TUW Master’s or Bachelor’s degree in Forensic psychology does not lead to any form of licensure or certification.