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Careers in Criminal Justice: Forensic Psychologists


What is Forensic Psychology? Forensic psychology applies the science of psychology to criminal investigations to understand the criminal mind and what motivates antisocial and criminal behavior. Forensic psychologists assist in investigations by interviewing offenders and examining reports from victims, crime scenes, police, medical examiners and compare the data with similar crimes.  

They work as independent consultants for law enforcement agencies and psychiatric hospitals and offer clinical evaluations of individuals who have been charged with a crime to assess criminal responsibility or competence to stand trial. They submit reports with their findings and may be required to testify in court as expert witnesses.

Kaplan, Howard. “The Forensic Psychology Report.” American Bar Association, 27 Nov. 2018, Accessed 17 Dec. 2021.



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Quick Facts: Psychologists
2020 Median Pay $82,180 per year
$39.51 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education See How to Become One
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Internship/residency
Number of Jobs, 2020 178,900
Job Outlook, 2020-30 8% (As fast as average)
Employment Change, 2020-30 13,500

What Psychologists Do

Psychologists study cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behavior by observing, interpreting, and recording how individuals relate to one another and to their environments.

Work Environment

Some psychologists work independently, conducting research, consulting with clients, or working with patients. Others work as part of a healthcare team, collaborating with physicians and social workers, or in school settings, working with students, teachers, parents, and other educators. Those in private practice often work evenings and weekends to accommodate clients.

How to Become a Psychologist

Although psychologists typically need a doctoral degree in psychology, a master’s degree is sufficient for some positions. Most psychologists also need a license.


The median annual wage for psychologists was $82,180 in May 2020.

Job Outlook

Overall employment of psychologists is projected to grow 8 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

About 13,400 openings for psychologists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for psychologists.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of psychologists with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about psychologists by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Psychologists, Accessed 16 Dec. 2021.

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, October 20, 2021

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