What Is a Forensic Psychology Degree? (Plus 8 Jobs You Can Pursue)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published September 29, 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Students interested in both law and psychology may pursue a forensic psychology degree that combines the studies of each of these fields. This degree often attracts individuals with a variety of motivations for helping others overcome challenges they may experience. Learning what you can learn and what jobs you can pursue with a degree in forensic psychology may help you decide whether this is a good career path for you.
In this article, we discuss topics you may study in a forensic psychology degree program, reasons to pursue this degree and a list of jobs you can pursue with a degree in forensic psychology.
What is a forensic psychology degree?
A forensic psychology degree is a program that teaches students about psychology and law topics. This is an optimal area of study for scientific-minded individuals who also have strong interpersonal skills. When earning a forensic psychology degree, you may study topics such as:
Criminal justice system
Crime scene investigation
People who earn a degree in forensic psychology may choose to pursue roles in the criminal justice system, or they may seek clinical psychology positions, making this degree versatile.
Reasons to pursue a forensic psychology degree
Here are common reasons why someone may decide to study forensic psychology:
Wide variety of job options
If you earn a degree in forensic psychology, there are a wide variety of careers you can pursue. For example, professionals with this degree may work in courtrooms, with law enforcement personnel or directly with patients to help them overcome challenges. The ability to qualify for numerous jobs with one degree is appealing and beneficial to professionals, especially if they eventually want to change careers.
Several jobs in forensic psychology focus on enforcing laws and ensuring justice in an effort to protect people from becoming victims of crimes. Other roles, such as a victim advocate, work directly with clients who may have been victims of crimes. This can be rewarding work and may result in high levels of job satisfaction. If you're interested in helping people directly, earning a forensic psychology degree might be a beneficial first step in your career path.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects employment rates in many fields that require a forensic science degree to grow in the coming years. FOr example, according to the BLS, employment for psychologists may increase by 8% from 2020 to 2030. This means that jobs in psychology and victim advocacy are in demand, and the opportunity to gain employment is higher. The BLS attributes this increase to growing normalization of mental health discussions and treatment.
Professionals who earn a forensic psychology degree and seek relevant roles after doing so frequently work on new cases or with new clients, ensuring that each workday differs. You might also travel frequently to complete tasks in courtrooms, meet clients and collaborate with other professionals in various settings. This variation in tasks may be beneficial for those who aim to avoid monotony in their careers.
8 jobs you can pursue with a forensic psychology degree
Here are eight careers you can pursue after earning a degree in forensic psychology degree:
National average salary: $41,972 per year
Primary duties: Victim advocates aim to help victims of crimes receive justice. They may accomplish this by providing counsel to victims and assisting them in completing applications and crime report filings. Job duties can change depending on the clients with whom these professionals work. If you help handles cases of financial crime, your duties may include collaborating with creditors and law enforcement and providing continual updates on the case to your client. Victim advocates can also help clients prepare for court and attend court hearings with them.
National average salary: $43,639 per year
Primary duties: A probation officer is a law enforcement officer who supervises criminal defendants while they wait for sentencing or complete a sentence outside of prison. They monitor their clients' behavior and report any behavioral changes to courtroom personnel. Probation officers may also help those on parole find rehabilitation resources.
Read more: Learn About Being a Probation Officer
National average salary: $48,861 per year
Primary duties: A correctional industries supervisor works in the criminal justice system and provides instruction to inmates working in manufacturing departments. They teach inmates proper safety techniques for handling tools or using equipment. In correctional facilities, they also monitor inmates while they work and delegate work assignments.
National average salary: $54,313 per year
Primary duties: A crime analyst works in law enforcement to analyze data from police reports, evidence logs and arrest records. By analyzing crime data, they can find patterns that help high-level personnel make important decisions regarding staffing solutions and creating schedules for law enforcement officers. A crime analyst also uses forensic psychology to help prosecute defendants, develop crime prevention strategies and properly evaluate police efforts.
National average salary: $56,266 per year
Primary duties: A clinical counselor is a mental health professional who assesses clients and helps them develop habits that allow patients to effectively manage mental health concerns. A clinical counselor often assists patients struggling with anxiety, depression or addiction. They typically work in rehabilitation and mental health facilities but may also aid in crime prevention by hosting meetings with young audiences to discuss addiction and treatment.
National average salary: $56,806 per year
Primary duties: A jury consultant helps lawyers and court jurors during trials by researching the backgrounds of potential jurors and conducting focus groups. This then helps lawyers and judges choose jurors for a particular jury. They also may assess witnesses for the court and help them prepare their statements.
National average salary: $84,103 per year
Primary duties: A detective is a law enforcement officer who aims to solve crimes, such as theft, assault or homicide. Detectives use forensic psychology techniques to discover motives, create a list of suspects and analyze crime scenes. They may also file paperwork to report on their cases, interrogate witnesses and suspects and conduct arrests.
Read more: Learn About Being a Detective
National average salary: $97,988 per year
Primary duties: A clinical psychologist works with patients who suffer from severe illnesses and require visits a psychologist regularly. They employ counseling methodology and different forms of therapy to help their patients manage problems that arise due to mental illness. These professionals may teach patients exercises to regulate emotions and help them develop other healthy habits, such as routines.
Read more: Learn About Being a Clinical Psychologist
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