Forensic psychology is a sub-field of psychology and a growing field in the United States that involves a blend of research in psychology, psychological theory, and practice in clinical settings within the legal justice system. A forensic psychologist is educated in one or more fields of psychology including, clinical, organizational and social, among others.
Careers in forensic psychology can be a very exciting path to choose as there are many ways this type of work is done within the realm of the law. Forensic psychology is sometimes confused with forensic science, however there are vast differences within their similarities.
Psychology that is used within the law system is what a career in forensic psychology is all about. Forensic psychologists not only help with jury selection but they also are the ones who talk with criminals for those that are using the insanity defense. They also talk with the attorneys, treat the criminals who are found to be mentally ill, and also work within the civil law parameters.
In order for someone to become a forensic psychologist they have to have courses in criminal justice and psychology as the root of their education. There are not very many schools that actually offer a degree specifically for a forensic psychologist however.
In the career field of a forensic psychologist there are several options in which way to take your career. You can choose to be a researcher in helping with the building of prisons and correctional facilities, review eyewitness testimonies and help interrogation methods to become more efficient, or the traditional path of training, law enforcement and corrections.
There are also sub fields within the forensic pathology career and these include clinical forensic psychology, developmental psychology, social psychology, cognitive psychology and criminal investigative psychology.
A forensic psychologists day at work can go a couple different ways depending on the work they are having to conduct. Most forensic psychologists tend to do a lot of research during their days however they can also help attorneys to select and narrow down a jury pool. By helping to select the jury they can interview the potential jurors and then give their opinions as to whether or not their views will be a bias towards the case they would be presented with.
There are very rewarding views of being a forensic psychologist that include helping others, opportunities, changing an environment such as a prison, recognition and personal fulfillment. However, just like any other jobs there are some negative and frustrating aspects of the job too. These include continuing education, risk of injury, teamwork, pay and a risk of burning out.
To specialize in the field of forensic psychology it is highly recommended to get a masters or doctorate degree as it is difficult to do so with only a bachelors degree. If you obtain a doctorate degree the pay can start at $35,000 or more per year.
This field of employment is expected to grow over the next two years as it has over the past two decades, particularly in working with attorneys, courts, and lawmakers. An aspect of this career field that is gaining popularity is dealing with juveniles. Usually when deciding how to handle a juvenile in the justice system a forensic psychologist is looked too for expertise in the area.
Being a forensic psychologist can be a thrilling career to have but you absolutely have to be passionate about what you are doing. It can be extremely difficult to get through your days with the stress that comes along with this type of work. Knowing that you can make a difference in the lives of other people and make society a little bit better one day and one decision at a time should be a greater reward then the pay is.