Degrees in Criminal Psychology

January 18, 2018


Basic skills and professional

Criminal psychologists, also known as forensic psychologists, are mental health professionals who work within the justice system. As a criminal psychologist, your duties will include creating suspect profiles for law enforcement agencies, diagnosing offenders who might be criminally insane, overseeing jury selections, testifying in legal cases, and even evaluating children in custody hearings. In this field, you're likely to work full time during normal business hours.

Criminal psychologists may accompany police offers at crime scenes in order to help evaluate evidence. Moreover, with crimes believed to be perpetrated by serial murderers, criminal psychologists may be invited to help assess and discover patterns, decipher clues, and so forth. Due to the potentially dangerous circumstances involved in law enforcement, many criminal psychologists, especially those employed by the FBI, will undergo firearms training.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Master's degree, Ph.D. or Psy.D.
Degree Field Criminal psychology, forensic psychology, clinical psychology
Licensure and Certification A state-issued license is required, voluntary certifications exist and may improve career outlook
Experience 1-2 years of professional experience; can be started during college
Key Skills Strong verbal and written communication skills, analytical skills, observational skills, patience, problem-solving skills, ability to empathize with and console relatives of victims, strong intuition skills, ability to identify and interpret patterns
Salary (2015) $58, 311 (Median salary)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), The Society of Police and Criminal Psychology, Payscale.com


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