What Can You Do With a Degree in Psychology with a concentration in Forensic Psychology?
If you are interested in a career in psychology, there are many pathways to consider. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that jobs for psychologists are expected to grow by about 8 percent by 2030.
Forensic psychology is one of the many specialized fields available to pursue in this field. This branch of psychology deals with the application of psychological principles to law and criminal justice. Professionals in all states must hold either a Ph.D. or Psy.D. to obtain licensure and practice as a psychologist. A doctorate in psychology prepares candidates for clinical practice, and for more advanced roles in the field. (Psychology.org)
However, there are many career fields that use the theories and practices learned in forensic psychology. An undergraduate degree in psychology with a concentration in forensic psychology, like the one from LSU, can help you reach your career goals or prepare students for advanced educational study.
What does a forensic psychologist do?
A forensic psychologist specializes in studying crime and criminal behavior. Forensic psychologists can work as expert witnesses or consultants for the police or in other areas of the criminal justice system. They also may work with incarcerated individuals to help them understand their crimes and make changes in their lives.
Typically, the end goal of a forensic psychologist is to use research and scientific methods to understand people better in order to come up with solutions for crime prevention and rehabilitation.
Forensic psychologists have many different responsibilities, depending on the career path they choose. Common skills needed for a career in this field include:
- strong communication
- critical thinking
- unbiased analysis
- attention to detail
- investigation skills
A forensic psychology degree can provide the necessary training and skill base for success in this field. This degree can be used in a variety of careers, but coursework usually focuses on the intersection of psychology and criminal justice.
What Is the Salary for a Forensic Psychologist?
Forensic psychologists’ salaries will depend on their geographic location, what industry they work in, and the level of expertise they hold. A graduate with a master's degree in psychology, for example, could earn higher pay than someone who only has a bachelor's degree in it. Professionals holding a doctoral degree may also make more money. Additionally, certifications can make a difference in how much forensic psychologists earn.
As a general guide, forensic psychologists anywhere from about $51,000 to $140,000 each year. According to Payscale.com, the median salary for people in this career pathway is around $72,017.
Forensic Psychology Career Paths
People seeking forensic psychology jobs can find many strong options requiring only a bachelor’s degree. Of course, a master's or doctoral degree will be necessary for roles that provide professional counseling services or evaluations. For instance, candidates must have a graduate degree and a license to become clinical psychologists or to open a private practice.
However, there are still many career pathways available for students who have earned a bachelor’s degree in forensic psychology.
Law Enforcement Officer
Law enforcement (or police) officers are responsible for enforcing federal, state, and local laws. They also work to maintain order in communities. They investigate crimes, prevent or detect criminal behavior, respond to calls for help from the public or other agencies, testify in court cases, and arrest people who break the law.
Police departments generally set their own requirements for candidates. In some cases, applicants need only an associate degree or high school diploma. However, a bachelor's degree can set candidates apart from the competition and help them advance their careers faster.
As an alternative to becoming police officers, forensic psychologists can choose to become police consultants. Law enforcement officers often need independent consultants with an education in forensic psychology to help them understand and apprehend people who break the law.
Research assistants help carry out administrative tasks for researchers who study human behavior and society. These professionals typically work within the social sciences departments of universities or research facilities.
Detectives and Investigators
After a few years of work experience, police officers can be promoted to detectives or investigators. These professionals investigate crimes, analyze crime scenes, and review evidence to help bring violators to justice. They also collect information and evidence on criminal activity by interviewing criminals and observing unusual activities. A forensic psychology degree is ideal for securing these types of positions.
Probation officers are tasked with monitoring the behaviors of people who have committed crimes and are serving a probation sentence in place of jail time. They must maintain files on each case, inform offenders of their restrictions, connect clients with the resources they need, and ensure that people do not violate the terms of their probation.
A crime analyst’s job focuses on researching and studying trends in criminal behavior. The research helps develop crime prevention programs or identify suspects. Crime analysts can find work throughout all levels of law enforcement, including local police stations, state police, and federal agencies.
Forensic psychology degree-holders will be equipped for a wide range of positions in local or federal government organizations. Graduates may find careers in the following:
- VA Hospital
- Correctional Facilities
- Forensic Facilities
Start Your Career With LSU
Our online Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a Concentration in Forensic Psychology trains students with the knowledge and skills to become successful in the field. The forensic psychology degree program is 100% online, meaning you can learn course material on your own time. We also pride ourselves on offering our students the highest level of service, so we make sure to provide Enrollment and Student Success Coaches throughout your student journey.
Ready to reach your goals?
Take the first step forward by completing the form and our enrollment team will contact you soon to discuss:
- What program meets your academic and career goals
- Financial aid options (employer funding, military benefits)
- Receiving credit for past education (transfer, professional development)
- The admissions process and timeline