At the present stage of development of psychological knowledge, psychology has become a science of many industries. Many of them have already obtained an independent status. They are general psychology, pedagogical, age, political, military, legal, and many others.
Legal psychology is an industry that studies the patterns and mechanisms of the mental activity of people in the field of law-regulated relationship. This scientific and practical discipline studies the psychological specificity of relationships within the legal system, develops recommendations aimed at improving general effectiveness of this system.
What is a forensic psychologist?
Which kind of psychologist would be consulted in jury selection and witness preparation?
Forensic psychologists are professionals who practice psychology within the criminal justice system and civil courts.
As site learnhowtobecome.org demonstrates, they pay particular attention to the approach of psychological theories, exercise to the criminal, court, and corrections systems. Forensic psychologists deal with the justice system and members of the court to assist in its functioning.
Their interest lies in understanding why certain behaviors occur, and also in helping to minimize and prevent such actions. They sue for the knowledge of psychological principles and use it to reduce a list of suspects or supply a purpose for a crime. There are some cases where the testimony of a forensic psychologist might play the final role when trying to convict a criminal.
Forensic psychologists might help with different types of legal matters such as:
- establishing the ability to understand the content of legal regulations and their interpretation;
- identification of a capable subject of non-pathological mental anomalies that impede the adequate reflection of reality;
- establishment of psychological compatibility of children with parents, with adoptive parents, with guardians;
- establishment of psychological compatibility of spouses;
- establishment the ability of witnesses to perceive and analyze events correctly in terms the legal case;
- teaching to give correct evidence about legal cases.
What are the requirements to become a forensic psychologist?
To become a forensic psychologist, a student must first obtain a bachelor’s degree in psychology or another behavioral science, followed by a master’s or doctoral degree. Most students choose a doctorate in forensic psychology, as that often opens a large variety of potential employment possibilities.
Here are the essential steps that might help you to follow all the requirements for becoming a forensic psychologist in the future.
Five steps for becoming a professional forensic psychologist
1. Complete required degrees.
1.1 Graduate high school. A high school diploma is needed to get a forensic psychology degree. An essential part of standard education is to pass available psychology courses and excellent knowledge in sciences such as biology and chemistry.
1.2 Complete a bachelor’s degree. Even though it is not necessarily required, most forensic psychologists will complete an undergraduate degree in psychology. Many students use this time to take additional classes such as abnormal psychology and criminal psychology as well as to pursue any available internship in their chosen field.
1.3 Pursue an advanced degree. After completing a bachelor’s degree, students have to apply to a graduate program as only then will they be able to specialize in forensic psychology. Students are looking for doctoral programs that have been accredited by the APA to ensure themselves the best chance at becoming licensed. Each state has different licensing requirements; mostly, it is required that practicing psychologists have to earn a doctor of psychology (PsyD) or Ph.D. in psychology to be licensed.
1.4 Take EPPP – the examination for professional practice in psychology – that is required to become licensed. Usually, students take this exam as soon as they have completed the necessary educational work for their doctoral program.
2. Practice your knowledge and skills. To become licensed, the average number of internships required is 4000 hours of practice. For such training, students address the help of professional forensic psychologists supervisors to build up their expertise in the area.
The websites careersinpsychology.org, psychology.org, forensicpsychologyedu.org present more information about necessary steps to become good and licensed forensic psychologist. They explain who a forensic psychologist is; describe how to become a professional in forensic psychology that might help you.
Where can I find a job?
As the profession of a forensic psychologist is quite popular nowadays, there are quite a lot of sites that offer many vacancies in this area, and which can significantly facilitate the job search.
Many of forensic psychology jobs are available here: indeed.com, prospects.ac.uk, simplyhired.com, jobs.trovit.co.uk. USA citizen can find a job here psychologyjobs.com, linkedin.com.
When you apply, do not be ashamed to mention all your excellence and be ready to explain to the employee why you have to be chosen among other candidates, why you will do this job better than others.
What is an average salary of forensic psychologist?
Of course, an essential factor that determines salary is a level of experience. The forensic psychology salary may support you with different income. For example, in the USA, beginners can expect to earn around $38,000 per year. Those who have more than 20 years of experience can get an annual salary of over $100,000. However, the salary varies in a different state as well. Site ziprecruiter.com shows that the smallest hourly wage can be $38 and with the annual salary of about $80,000, while the largest one is $55 per hour and almost $115,000 per year.
Speaking about the UK, the average salary starts from £34,900. The highest salaries are even more than £82,000, and according to the information from uk.jobted.com, salaries for forensic psychologist are growing and now higher than the UK’s national average salary in general.
Choosing the profession of a forensic psychologist, it is essential to remember that this profession, like any other, requires specific knowledge, skills, and abilities. You can become a professional in the field of forensic psychology only if you are interested in this and are ready to do the utmost to achieve this goal.
Forensic psychology books
To become a good specialist in any sphere it is necessary to get acquainted with a variety of literature on the subject of interest. Forensic psychology is surely not an exception. Here we list several books that would be useful for you as a future forensic psychology professional.
Forensic Psychology For Dummies by David Canter
Forensic psychology is all about crime. This book will help you understand how crimes and psychology are connected, what needs to be done first while investigating the case and you will see real examples from the world of forensic psychology. If you are still thinking about this career, this book is the first one to read.
The Psychology of Criminal Conduct: Theory, Research and Practice by Ronald Blackburn
This is a sort of an ‘introductory’ book that will allow you to see what criminal and forensic psychologies actually are. The book does not go too deep into explaining methodology and should be viewed as a review of main points. The best way to get an idea of what is expecting you there.
Introduction to Forensic Psychology: Research and Application by Curtis R. Bartol and Anne M. Bartol
Handbook of Forensic Psychology by William O'Donohue and Eric R. Levensky
This book is a continuation of the idea of the previous book. It means if you are interested in the subject and want to go deeper, this book is a must for you to read. It will allow you to see the details of the forensic research process, its specificity and how it should be conducted. A lot of theory, the book is not easy to read if you do not have a psychological background but it is definitely worth it.
The Forensic Psychology of Criminal Minds by Katherine Ramsland
We believe this book should end the list because it provides a case-review of the situations that happened in real life and that were presented in the movies and shows. The book is very easy to read so it not only leads you into the world of criminals, but also lets you simply enjoy the reading itself. This is a bestselling author and the book is totally worth it.
We have limited our list to 5 books only and that has been done on purpose. If you are only getting in touch with the area of forensic psychology, you need to understand what it is all about. Our overview and these books should give you almost a complete idea of what forensic psychologist does and what forensic psychology actually is.