Among the fields a graduate in psychology can aim for, forensic psychology may seem like an obscure one. However, in practice, this area of the field gets right into the most extreme cases of abnormal psychology, both in terms of diagnosis as well as treatment. Forensic psychology plays a critical role in administration of justice, health, and the legal world. Without this field, many would only be able to rely on the physical actions of people and not what drives them mentally. Here are five areas where a degree in forensic psychology has a solid path and clear demand career-wise:
Juvenile teens who get into trouble are often driven in that direction by issues that started in their early childhood years. These issues can be a combination of environment, exposure, and genetics. The forensic psychologist can help piece together where a juvenile has gone wrong and where the fundamental drivers. These recommendations become critical when the court makes a decision on how treat both the juvenile and his or her family situation, if possible.
While a qualified expert needs to have been in the field for a good number of years first, a practiced forensic psychologist may often find work as a legal expert witness. This is a person who either side in a case can hire to provide a professional opinion about the facts of the case or the parties involved. While the majority of such cases involve criminal issues, a number of civil liability issues as well as medical malpractice could provide opportunities for forensic psychologists as well.
If a person isn’t quite interesting in being on the stand as an expert witness, jury consulting can still provide a good amount of opportunity as well. The jury consultant helps attorneys determine whether to keep a prospective juror in the selected group or not. Both sides in a case have a certain number of juror candidates they can reject, so the advice can be extremely powerful in shaping a jury for a case.
Forensic psychologists play a direct role in helping identify probable serious criminals. One of the most prominent roles involves those who help police departments identify unknown serial murderers. However, these psychologists can also help with suicide attempts, critical incident stress debriefing, and post-trauma support. All of these issues are serious needs for both victims of crime as well as the emergency responders who work to stop or contain such problems.
Reporters aren’t just writers; they are often unofficial investigators from all types of backgrounds. The field already requires heavy skills in research, fast assimilation of data, and technical writing. And those with a background in forensic psychology can easily fit into the crime beat reporting section right of the bat. However, they also make great journalists in personality profiles, detailing how people mentally transform into becoming the sources of big news stories and information. Once they have their writing style honed, forensic psychology graduates often pick up on mental health nuances missed by other observers, which adds greater substance to stories they write.
There is no question that the psychology path is a long one, especially if one wants to reach a full psychologist or psychiatrist role. However, along the way there are a number of career paths that help build one’s education in practical terms as well as provide the means to make a good living doing what one loves. The above options are just handful of the many areas that rely on forensic psychology, so a career path in this field will be extremely rewarding.