Friday, March 9, 2012

Becoming a Forensic Psychologist

Forensic psychology has become a popular career pursuit over the years because it combines traditional psychology practices with criminal justice. This creates an interesting field to work in, and it opens the doors for many different career opportunities in the future. Becoming a forensic psychologist is no easy task, and some people say that they pay they get in this field is not worth the time it takes to train in it. Before you jump to that conclusion though, you may want to review the process yourself. Then you can determine if you have enough passion for it to go through 10+ years in college to obtain your forensic psychology degree. Here is an overview of what it takes to become a forensic psychologist.

Getting an Education

In order to become a forensic psychologist, you actually need the same education as a clinical psychologist. You will take courses related to criminal justice as well, but those will mainly be supplements to your psychological training. At the core of your job, you will need to tap into the human mind. Thus that is what the core of your education will revolve around. Common courses in a forensic psychology degree may include:
  • Cognitive and Affective Aspects of Behavior
  • Court Processes
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Ethical and Legal Issues in Psychology
  • Forensic Interviewing and Evaluation
  • Forensic Populations
  • Human Sexuality
  • Intellectual and Cognitive Functioning
  • Introduction to Forensic Psychology
  • Psychology and Law
  • Social Psychology
  • Statistical Application in Forensic Psychology
  • Therapeutic Interventions in Clinical Psychology
Most of these will occur at the graduate level of study, since you will have a full four to seven years there, on top of the time you spend getting a bachelor's degree. This degree is time consuming, which is why some people do not think it is worth the effort. If you have a true passion for this field though, you should have no problem justifying your reasons for going through the process. Getting Paid Once you have your degree out of the way, you may have to get certified in forensic psychology. This will depend on the laws in your state. After the certification process though, you can begin working with courts, crime labs, psychology firms, and any other venues you may use for employment. Most forensic psychologists are self-employed, and they work on an on-call basis with the criminal justice system. The rest of the time they spend working with clients just as any other psychologist would. The salary of an average forensic psychologist could be any of the following: By Experience
  • <1 year: $36,000 - $70,000 per year
  • 1-4 years: $31,123 - $88,569 per year
  • 5-9 years: $33,840 - $102,824 per year
  • 10-19 years: $29,900 - $242,395 per year
  • 20+ years: $50,335 - $248,323 per year
By State
  • California: $30,639 - $144,414 per year
  • Florida: $33,971 - $115,888 per year
  • Georgia: $36,000 - $80,108 per year
  • Illinois: $45,781 - $90,000 per year
  • New York: $29,590 - $100,189 per year
  • Ohio: $40,545 - $101,703 per year
  • Texas: $20,134 - $99,329 per year

If you like psychology and criminal justice, you may enjoy working as a forensic psychologist. Only you can determine if the pay is worth the educational effort, but this could turn into a rewarding career if you give it a chance. Think about your options and figure out if this is in fact the path you want to go down. Then you can make an effort to find a school that is right for you.


  1. . In most states, licenses to practice psychology are generic in nature; only a few states have specialty certification for forensic practitioners. forensic psychology degree online

  2. yes forensic psychology is very popular subject and one can take master degree through online when they do a job. as a forensic psychologist one needs to deal with criminal and court house which is a challenging.