What are the Advantages of Being a Forensic Psychologist?

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There are many different career options out there that you can choose. Each one will bring in its own challenges for you to enjoy and some will be easier to work on than others, based on your own unique set of skills. One career choice that you can choose for your needs is to become a forensic psychologist.

The majority of the practice of being a forensic psychologist concerns with diagnosing and treating criminal behavior. Along with working with criminals and visiting prisons, forensic psychologists also collaborate with other experts in the legal and correctional systems as well as victims of crime.

Even though they will become part of criminal profiling, forensic psychologists’ responsibilities go further than this. In addition to giving testimony in court, advising parole boards and mental health tribunals, and offering research-based evidence, they play a significant part in developing policy and working methods. In addition to having the opportunity to assist and train other staff members, they aid in the rehabilitation of inmates.

This career is going to be a great option to help you find a way to assist others, do something new, and put those research skills to good use. While this is not a career choice for everyone, there are a ton of benefits to choosing to get a degree in forensic psychology and turning that into your career. Some of the benefits of choosing forensic psychology as your career includes:

doctor consulting a patient

Lots of Career Paths

If you choose to become a forensic psychologist, you will find that there are a vast variety of opportunities for you to choose when picking out a career. These opportunities will vary widely so you are able to choose the right work experience for your needs.

For example, you could spend time doing research, conducting some of the different experiments that are needed, testing out hypotheses, and reporting some of the findings. You can even work in law enforcement as a criminal profiler for your career.

Those are just two of the options available for those who want to become a forensic psychologist. This is a specialty within the field of psychology, the ways that you can use your degree are endless. You can choose the options that make the most sense for your needs and then work from there.

You Do Not Need an Undergraduate Degree in Psychology

It is possible to get into the field of forensic psychology without majoring in psychology for the undergraduate degree program. This keeps it open for more people than what it may seem on the surface.

Many of the graduate programs for this industry will allow students from different types of degrees to apply. If you have a degree in pre-law, criminal justice, or social work, you can still apply for the master’s degree in forensic psychology and get started in this type of field.

Entering a forensic psychology program is not required in order to be effective and successful in this field. Although being in a psychology program is preferred. Having a law degree is not also compulsory; however, graduates of forensic psychology programs are concurrently offered a joint law degree such as a Juris Doctor (JD) or Master of Legal Studies (MLS).

Although it is uncommon to earn a degree in forensic psychology, those who are interested in the field should enroll in classes that include subjects like criminal psychology, social behavior, abnormal behavior, cognitive psychology, perception, drugs and psychopharmacology, law, or criminal justice.

A solid grounding in the research and practice of clinical psychology is typically regarded as the most crucial kind of preparation, provided you are able to take courses in related fields or complete an internship in forensic psychology.

Keep in mind here that you will need to do a few psychology prerequisites before you are able to begin on the advanced degree. Depending on the type of classes you took for the undergraduate degree, you may need to take a few classes before starting, but at least you will not need to restart completely.

Lots of Chance for Growth

Once you are done with your studies in forensic psychology, there are a lot of opportunities still available for learning and growing as a professional in this field. There are options available through the American Board of Forensic Psychology that will offer board certification to its members. Completing this is like the gold standard of your professional competence.

There are also many chances for the professional to learn from some of their colleagues in the field, especially when it comes to them specializing in an area that is different than the one you have. This is a big bonus to helping move you to different opportunities and avenues in your field.

desperate young girl

The Work is Exciting

Many professionals who decide to work as forensic psychologists will agree that the work can be exciting. This is true no matter what specialty you choose to do within this field. If you would like a chance to work in an industry with a lot of exciting challenges to keep you busy, then forensic psychology is the right option for you.

Each day that you work in the field is going to be an exciting chance to learn something new. You can make a positive impact in the life of someone, have a different experience, and meet new people all of the time. Because of this, many forensic psychologists will find that this line of work is satisfying and exciting all at once.

Types of Forensic Psychology Jobs

Family court, civil court, or criminal court are the three main criminal justice contexts that call for the aid of a forensic psychologist. In the family court, forensic psychologists will be asked to execute custody evaluations, conduct child abuse investigations, and provide therapeutic support to victims. Civil court forensic psychologists meanwhile will evaluate the credibility of witnesses and suspects, provide second opinions on that credibility, and offer psychotherapy to victims. A criminal court’s staff members will also assess juvenile and adult criminals, interact with kid witnesses, and provide competence exams.

Because forensic psychologists must not only comprehend psychology and how it affects people’s behaviors and actions, they must be able to grasp the law. This makes for an interesting line of work.

Good Income Potential

There is a lot of potential to make a good income when you choose to do forensic psychology. The median salary for professionals in this field is at $82,180. While beginners are often going to start closer to $46,000 each year, professionals are able to earn up to $137,000 a year for their work.

The amount that the forensic psychologist is going to earn will be dependent on their experience, where they choose to live, whether they do an independent practice or public service, and their education. To earn more, the forensic psychologist may need to move up in their field and consider other jobs.

Good Job Outlook

No one wants to go on to study for a certain career and then find out that the jobs are all gone by the time that they are done. The good news is that forensic psychology has a high growth rate, which can make it a good choice for those who would like to get into this kind of field.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics currently predicts that the jobs in psychology will reach 8% by the year 2030 This is a decent rate for this field and will provide you with many job opportunities to keep you busy when you are done with school.

With this growth rate, it is reasonable to assume that it is possible to find the employment that you want pretty quickly. And since there are a variety of avenues that you can choose for your job, and you do not have insurance requirements to worry about and can follow your passion with less paperwork, finding a job in this field keeps getting easier and easier.

Choosing to Become a Forensic Psychologist

While there are different industries and careers that you can choose, becoming a forensic psychologist makes sense to a lot of people. Take a look at some of the different benefits to becoming a forensic psychologist to see if it is the right choice for you.

Forensic psychology can be an exciting and challenging career choice. Skills that you might need if you choose to pursue a career in this field include the abilities to communicate well, research problems, and think critically.

Did you know?

A concrete start in the history of forensic psychology was the setup of the first psychological laboratory by Wilhelm Wundt in Leipzig, Germany in 1879. 

Wundt promoted and improved the experimental approach to psychology which provided a framework for a wide range of practical psychological investigations, including some legal ones. In the 1890s, another psychology expert James McKeen Cattell, studied the nature of testimony who found a surprising degree of inaccuracy in the eyewitness testimony. With even eyewitnesses being unsure of themselves, this raised serious issues about the validity of their usefulness in court, inspiring other psychologists to conduct their own experiments in eyewitness testimony.  

A number of other experts followed suit, studying deeper into this approach to psychology. Today, forensic psychologists are not only interested in understanding why such behaviors occur, but also in helping minimize and prevent such actions.

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