What Does a Forensic Psychologist Do?
Forensic Psychologists can work as independent consultants or work at federal investigation offices, police stations, law firms and other organizations associated with the criminal justice system. They often specialize in a particular area such as family court or particular types of crimes. Forensic Psychologists conduct interviews to assess whether someone is mentally competent to stand trial or to gain insights into someone’s behavior as part of a criminal or civil case. They study research or conduct their own case studies on how a crime impacted the mental state of the perpetrator and the victim.
Forensic Psychologist Skills and Qualifications
Forensic Psychologists have lots of skills, such as communication, empathy, patience and listening skills, that overlap with other fields of psychology. However, since Forensic Psychologist regularly work with criminal investigators and people in the legal profession, they need an understanding of how that field works. Other important skills and qualifications for Forensic Psychologists include:
- Research skills
- The ability work in an environment where physical or verbal assault is possible
- Problem-solving skills
- Decision-making skills
Forensic Psychologist education and Training Requirements
Forensic Psychologists have steep education and training requirements. Candidates will have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, but you’ll likely come across candidate’s with master’s degrees or even PhDs. Qualified candidates will also have completed internships and residencies.
Many psychologists also have certifications. As you start interviewing candidates, you may come across candidates with qualifications in areas like:
- Clinical health psychology
- Cognitive and behavioral psychology
- Counseling psychology
- Clinical neuropsychology
Forensic Psychologist Experience Requirements
The amount of experience needed to start a career as a Forensic Psychologist depends on the candidate’s education level. For example, a company may ask that a candidate have a master’s degree or higher, or they may substitute years of experience and settle for a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field. Indeed, it’s common for psychologists to move into forensic psychology since they already have relevant experience.
A Forensic Psychologist’s experience comes from real-world practice. Even in college, though, psychologists will have practice conducting interviews, collecting data and publishing their results. Keep in mind that Forensic Psychologists also work within the legal system, so you may want to look for experience in that field, as well.
Job Description Samples for Similar Positions
Forensic psychology is a niche profession that overlaps with other psychology and psychiatry roles. If you’re not finding exactly what you need for your job posting here, check out some other descriptions for similar roles. You might find more inspiration for what you need or get a better understanding of what the perfect forensic psychologist would do for your company.