What Can I Do With a Degree in Forensic Psychology?

Psychology prevails as a popular field of study for college students, with over 170,000 psychology degrees awarded in the year 2017. Over two million people, almost three million people in the workforce have psychology degrees. In 2018, for instance, there were two-point-sixty-four million employed psychology graduates. The number of psychology degree-holders in the workforce grows at a rate of nearly four percent.

Common occupations for psychology degree-holders include primary school teachers, middle school teachers, college admissions counselors, marketing managers, human resource managers, social workers, and parole officers. People who major in psychology also work as school psychologists, counseling psychologists, clinical psychologists, and other specialized positions in the field.

The broadness of the psychology field could be what makes it appealing to students, as it allows students to choose diverse career opportunities in specialized sectors. Students can decide to pursue a career in general psychology or specialize in behavioral psychology, clinical psychology, counseling psychology, social psychology, health psychology, forensic psychology, and various other psychological divisions.

Psychology students should be aware that becoming a psychologist, counselor, psychotherapist, psychiatrist, or other specialized position, generally requires further academic study and training beyond a four-year undergraduate degree.

At most universities, psychology degree-earners generally have the choice to pursue a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), a degree more focused on liberal arts, or a Bachelor of Science (B.S. or B.Sc.), a degree comprising more statistics, lab, and science courses. Students can choose which degree path to take, as well as decide to specialize at the bachelor level. For instance, students can receive an online forensic psychology degree that teaches them about fundamental psychology skills and knowledge, interrogation techniques, criminal behavior, criminal justice, and more.

What is Forensic Psychology?

The criminal process typically consists of charging someone with a crime, obtaining a judge-issued warrant for their arrest, and arresting them. Following the arrest, the police take a mugshot and fingerprint the accused. Mugshots taken by federal law enforcement agencies are publicly available. State agencies make the rules and determine if the mugshots they take are public domain. In general, mugshots and criminal and arrest records are public information, available at municipal, city, county, and state levels. Internet users can find mugshots and access arrest data online, just as they can view people’s contact and address information, marriage and divorce records, and more.

Forensic science, crucial to the criminal justice system, refers to the scientific processes used to solve a crime. DNA coding, serology, toxicology, and ballistics are examples of experimental methods used in forensics.

As defined by the American Psychological Association, forensic psychology is a subfield in psychology that combines psychological applications, whether clinical, social, or cognitive, with the law and forensics. When practicing forensic psychology, professionals must apply psychological assessment to people involved in legal matters. In addition to clinical evaluation, a forensic psychologist must have excellent verbal communication, interviewing, and report writing skills.

Forensic psychology professionals conduct research, investigations, assessments, consultation, and more. They perform tasks including child custody evaluations, threat assessments for schools, counseling services for crime victims, death notification procedures, law enforcement applicant screening, delivering and evaluating interventions and treatment for juvenile and adult offenders, and more.

Forensic psychologists must demonstrate knowledge of mental health, mental illness, and the American legal system. Courts assign these professionals to determine if the defendant is competent to stand trial. To perform this task, a forensic psychologist must administer psychological testing and questioning to the accused, to evaluate and prove if they are sane or mentally ill. Forensic psychology professionals may also serve as expert witnesses in legal cases. In this role, they testify to the court about a person’s mental well-being to help determine risks, a sentence, and necessary treatment.

In addition to be a forensic psychologist, forensic psychology degree-holders can serve as criminal behaviour analysts, criminal assessment and rehabilitation providers, forensic psychology researchers, and more.