What Can You Do With a Forensic Psychology Degree?

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What can you do with a forensic psychology degree? Join Pete as he discusses several career options for students pursuing a degree in forensic psychology in this new installment of, “What can I do with THAT degree?”

What is forensic psychology?  Technically, it’s the application of the science of psychology to questions and issues relating to law and the legal system; it’s the intersection between psychology and the justice system. If you want to work in the law system AND psychology, then you’re definitely in the right place!

So what can you do after earning your degree? Well, I’m here to tell you!

As with most psychology degrees, a bachelor degree isn’t enough. Most aspiring psychologists go to graduate school and earn their doctoral degree, usually in clinical psychology or counseling psychology. Once you have your Ph.D., you’ll be ready to go!

If you decide to take some time before earning your degree or have a job while earning your degree, you can be a psychologist’s assistant. An assistant often helps a psychologist assess and treat patients. This includes administering psychological assessments to patients and assisting in patients’ therapy. They can also help with designing and performing psychology experiments. Not too bad, huh?

Photo Credit: nogre.com

Photo Credit: nogre.com

What about after receiving your Ph.D.? Well, one thing you could do is choose to become a criminal psychologist. A criminal psychologist studies the behaviors and thoughts of criminals. Is it just like what you see on T.V.? Probably not. You often don’t predict a murderer’s next move. A large part is studying why people commit crimes in the first place. Criminal psychologists are sometimes asked to evaluate the criminal in order to make educated guesses about what actions the individual may have taken during the crime. Criminal psychologists are often asked to make an expert testimony in court, as well.

Another important job that criminal psychologists do is criminal profiling. These people profile a suspect to provide information for law enforcement so that they can interview and question the suspect appropriately, with the right techniques. Be wary, being a criminal psychologists doesn’t mean chasing the suspect down and solving cases may take weeks, months or years. It isn’t exactly what Criminal Minds portrays it to be, though it is an equally exciting profession.

If that doesn’t seem like your thing, you could become a forensic psychologist that works in family courts. These psychologists are often involved in custody disputes and lawsuits. They may offer psychotherapy services, perform child evaluations, investigate reports of child abuse and conduct visitation risk assessments, according to Psychology.About.com.

Photo Credit: Columbian.GWU.edu

You can also work in civil courts, where you can assess competency, provide second opinions and provide psychotherapy to crime victims. If you work in criminal courts, you can conduct evaluations of mental competency, work with child witnesses and provide assessments of juvenile and adult offenders. Pretty cool, huh?

Forensic psychologists can work in prisons, jails, rehabilitation centers, police departments, law firms, schools, government agencies or have their own private practice. There are plenty of things a forensic psychologist can do for a living; even though it’s a highly competitive field when trying to earn the necessary degrees, it’s rewarding once you get there.

Happy job searching and studying!

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Pete the Panther

Chief Motivating Officer

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About Author

Rebekah Duntz ’16 is a communication major and Melbourne local who has practically grown up on campus. As an aspiring journalist, Rebekah has a passion for writing and reading, and she’s the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper on campus, the Crimson.

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