Where Can Forensic Psychologists Work?
Forensic psychologists have a multitude of career options available to them at almost any experience level. This means that with an advanced degree in forensic psychology, you are on track to a highly rewarding and potentially varied career that suits your passion for the law, justice system and human psychology. Below, we look at some of these potential career fields, starting with a clearer picture of what these psychologists do.
What does a forensic psychologist do?
A forensic psychologist works at the juncture of the legal system and psychology. One of their most important roles is in studying criminals and their behaviour to help law enforcement solve crimes. Their work can involve profiling criminals, working in the court system and testifying about criminal behaviour for juries. They can also work with underserved populations, including minorities, low-income populations and other marginalized people.
Where Forensic Psychology Graduates Can Work
Graduates with a forensic psychology degree have many workplace options available to them. Some of the most common workplaces for these specialists include:
- Police departments
- Local, state and national government organizations
- Justice system
- Correctional facilities
- Private counselling practices
- High schools, colleges and universities
- Addiction treatment centres
- Domestic violence shelters
- News media
Careers Open to Forensic Psychologists
Below are some careers someone with a forensic psychology degree can pursue:
With a forensic psychology education, you can provide valuable services within the correctional system, such as by offering to counsel inmates and former convicts. People working in this capacity often provide individual counselling and group sessions for incarcerated individuals. They conduct psychological evaluations, work with lawyers and provide recommendations at parole hearings.
A forensic psychologist can also work as a victim advocate, helping crime victims and survivors understand the case and their legal rights. These advocates do not advise the victims on what to do. But they do attend hearings with their clients and help them understand the case as it proceeds.
Individuals with a forensic psychology degree are ideal candidates for government employees to work at criminal investigation and justice organizations. They can also work in government hospitals and other institutions at the provincial, territorial, local or national level.
If you have ever wanted to fight crime, working as a police consultant is an option with a forensic psychology degree. You can help officers understand criminal minds to better pursue and apprehend offenders. These workers also help police understand how to develop and promote community policing and provide a better working environment within the department. They can provide specialized training for officers, such as suicide prevention, anger management and critical incident stress debriefing.
Like other psychologists, those specializing in forensic psychology can work in counselling. Many choose to aid in addiction and trauma recovery, such as in treatment facilities and shelters. Others choose to work in private practices. Of course, this work typically requires specialized licensing according to the province or territory's requirements.
Reporting on criminal activity, particularly at an advanced level, requires specialized knowledge. Having a degree in forensic psychology provides this education and unique insight for success as a reporter. Further, a forensic psychologist can specialize in investigative journalism, combining criminal investigation skills with reporting to research, document and expose criminal activity.
Obviously, these are only a select few of the many career options available to graduates with a degree in forensic psychology.
How to Become a Forensic Psychologist
There are multiple routes to becoming a forensic psychologist. The most direct pathway is through the completion of a master's or doctorate degree in forensic psychology. Some career paths require licensure, while others do not. If you want to work in educational settings, you generally will need a doctoral degree. To decide upon your ideal area of specialization and customize your educational journey, talk to forensic psychologists working in the field. Gain their recommendations for specific coursework and certifications or licensure.