Forensic Psychology involves the application of psychology to the law and criminal investigation and behaviour. Over recent years, the popularity of Forensic Psychology has grown immensely, due in part, to the many different movies and TV series about people involved in the role. These programmes, though entertaining, are not always realistic. The Forensic Psychologist will use the science of psychology to operate within the justice system. Although they may work as profilers, they are not the TV heroes able to deduce the killer’s next move!
If you’re not sure if this is the career for you, consider whether you enjoy working with others, as part of a team. Are you willing to work closely with people who have been convicted of crimes? The problems can be long term and sometimes, there can be no “cure” to the problem. Some people will continue to offend. The Forensic Psychologist will need to be able to cope with this. They should also be interested in the law AND psychology. Do you cope well with stress? Do you have strategies in place to avoid burn out?
Forensic psychologists can be involved in insurance claims, lawsuits, family work, working with child witnesses, child custody evaluations, investigating child abuse, working with the courts, assessing competency, giving psychotherapy or counseling to victims of crime and so on. They may involved in assessing criminals for mental competency or carrying out assessments of offenders.
A typical salary will be around $35,000 to $45,000 per year, but this will depend on whether they work for the private or public sector.
The qualification required for Forensic Psychologists varies from country to country, but most would be expected to hold a doctorate qualification. This is a very competitive field.
BUT it is a very rewarding and challenging career with many different career paths to follow, such as education, court work, counseling and so on.
So what courses might be useful as a way to start gaining more experience and training in psychology. ACS DE offers a range of psychology courses, such as Adolescent Psychology, Abnormal Psychology and others, that can be found at www.acs.edu.au.