7 careers you can pursue with a degree in forensic psychology
A forensic psychology degree can open the door to a wide variety of careers. Thanks to a forensic psychology program’s integration of psychology with processes and procedures of the legal system, the career options can be found in a variety of fields—from consulting on public policy to working within the criminal justice system.
Forensic psychology careers expand well beyond the courtroom and police stations. While these are options that many may pursue, they’re not your only choice.
Here are some additional career options for you to consider if you are interested in pursuing a degree in forensic psychology.
1. Correctional Counselor
Correctional counselors provide mental health counseling and support to prison inmates. Counselors often conduct both individual and group sessions with inmates. Their work entails counseling sessions, conducting psychological evaluations, and collaborating with caseworkers, lawyers, and other employees at the correctional facility.
Correctional counselors can provide deeper insights into the state and well-being of inmates and give recommendations into parole hearings.
2. Jail Supervisor
Jail supervisors, also known as corrections supervisors, work in correctional facilities like juvenile jails, state penitentiaries, and detention centers. Their work centers around keeping inmates and staff members safe. Responsibilities can include overseeing daily activities, alleviating conflict, and ensuring the prison is clear of contraband.
A successful jail supervisor has strong communication and conflict resolution skills. Since their job is to keep the peace, it’s important to understand each situation and deal with it patiently. That’s why a forensic psychology background can be so beneficial.
3. Victims Advocate
A victims advocate works directly with victims of crimes and survivors of traumatic events like sexual assault or domestic violence. Advocate responsibilities often include helping the victim understand his or her case and legal rights, providing support through the legal process, and even attending hearings with the victim.
It’s important to keep in mind that advocates are there to provide information, resources, and support to victims—but they do not tell victims what to do. Victim advocates can work for government organizations like police stations or courts and for private organizations like nonprofits or crisis centers.
4. Jury Consultant
Jury consultants work with lawyers to provide insights on what jurors to select for cases. As consultants, they do a lot of research into potential jurors and are heavily involved in the voir dire process. Voir dire is when prospective jurors are questioned by both the prosecuting and defense attorneys.
Additionally, jury consultants take notes during the trial itself on juror body language and behavior. This information helps lawyers prep their strategies and coach witnesses.
Because forensic psychology combines psychological insights with the court system, a forensic psychology degree is a smart stepping stone to this career path. Forensic psychology courses often include information on jury selection and courtroom dynamics.
5. Federal Government Employee
Individuals with forensic psychology degree backgrounds can be well-equipped and attractive job candidates for federal government organizations. This can include working at the FBI, DEA, CIA, VA hospitals, or other state and local government institutions.
Forensic psychology prepares people to think critically, combine interdisciplinary perspectives, and apply psychological perspectives to real-world situations. This type of education can set individuals up for success in jobs like being an FBI special agent or a VA hospital worker.
These positions do not require licensure, but it often helps to receive a higher graduate-level degree to further your career in these organizations.
6. Police Consultant
Being a jury consultant isn’t the only kind of consulting forensic psychology graduates can do. Many people with backgrounds in forensic psychology go on to work as police consultants.
Police consultants help educate police officers on how to best approach their communities in order to promote community policing strategies, and how to best address interpersonal struggles or challenges within the department. Responsibilities can include providing suicide prevention training, anger management courses, Critical Incident Stress Debriefing training, and educating police officers on how to better handle situations involving the disabled and mentally ill.
7. Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor
In addition to correctional counselor careers mentioned above, forensic psychology graduates often work as counselors in a wide variety of industries.
From addiction treatment facilities to domestic violence shelters to private practices, forensic psychology is a versatile field that can translate into many different types of counseling careers.
Of course, many counseling careers do require licensure. If you’re interested in becoming a licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC, LPC, LCPC, etc), be sure to look for forensic psychology programs with a licensure track. This ensures that you’ll be well-equipped to take the necessary exams and apply for licensure.
Interested in jumpstarting your forensic psychology education?
Whether you’re looking to become a victim advocate or a jury consultant, a forensic psychology degree is a great place to start.
First, do your research. Check out this post for five things to look for when researching forensic psychology degree programs. If you would like more information about forensic psychology degree programs at The Chicago School, visit the program page or fill out the form below to request more information.
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