The practice of forensic psychology involves investigations, research studies, assessments, consultation, the design and implementation of treatment programs and expert witness courtroom testimony. Arguably one of the most interesting assessments for a forensic psychologist is assessment in “mens rea” (insanity) cases.
How long does it take to be a forensic psychologist? Most forensic psychology positions require a doctoral degree. Most professionals in this field spend four years on their bachelor’s degree, two years on their master’s degree, and four years on their doctorate.
Forensic psychologists are usually licensed psychologists who specialize in applying psychological knowledge to legal matters, both in the criminal and civil arenas. They hold graduate degrees in psychology, most often a Ph. D. or a Psy. D.
While criminal psychology focuses on criminal behavior, forensic psychology includes criminal and civil law, work in prisons, at-risk youth counseling, and academic research. Forensic psychology requires the assessment of a wide array of people, including victims of crime, witnesses, attorneys, and law enforcement.
Being a forensic psychologist is nowhere near as dangerous as being a policeman or fireman, but it does have its risks . Some of the people I evaluate are impulsive and capable of sudden, intense violence.
While the US Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t provide data specifically for forensic psychologists , in the field of general psychology , demand is expected to increase 14% every year from 2018 to 2028, which is much faster than average. Forensic psychologists with a doctorate will have the best job prospects.
A forensic psychologist will also consider physical evidence and the state of a crime scene to better understand the nature of the crime and the psychological state of the individual who committed it. Evidence, or even the lack of evidence, at a crime scene can often be used to develop a criminal profile.
To become a clinical psychologist, you will need an undergraduate degree ( four to five years of college) plus a doctorate degree ( four to seven years of graduate school). For this specialty area, most people will spend between eight to 12 years in higher education.
Courses in algebra and calculus give you the basic math background you need to understand scientific studies, and courses in statistics and data analysis can help you ensure you know how to properly formulate and analyze scientific studies.
What Does a Forensic Psychologist Do ? Forensic psychologists offer their professional expertise to aid the judicial system in both civil and criminal matters. These professionals need strong forensic skills since they focus primarily on psychologically assessing those involved in the legal system.
A Forensic Psychologist , sometimes referred to as a Criminal Profiler, works with law enforcement agencies to develop a brief profile of criminals, based on common psychological traits. In their line of work they study the behavior of criminals and address anything from psychological theories to legal issues.
Work Environment In some cases, criminal psychologists may work closely with police and federal agents to help solve crimes , often by developing profiles of murderers , rapists, and other violent criminals . Some work for local, state, or federal government, while others are self-employed as independent consultants.
Although both criminologists and criminal psychologists study criminals, their focus is very different. Criminology is the study of the causes of crime and ways to prevent and control it; while criminal psychology focuses on studying the thoughts, feelings and behaviors of criminals.